Monday 9 May 2022

Scout Shawl Adventure

I don't know when I first spied it, but once I'd seen the Scout Shawl I knew that was the knitting challenge I wanted to try.

I might have spent more than 6 months looking for the yarns I wanted. Trying to find five different colours that were "neutral" enough for my tastes all within the one yarn range was a struggle.

The top contender, and probably where I first saw the pattern were the Kokon fingering merino yarns at HandMakeCreate - it's even made easy by there being yarn kits available.

But then I found the Knitting For Olive merino yarns. Every single one is lovely. If you're a  fan of neutral then I dare you to click on that link and not have your credit card wiped clean!

The Knitting for Olive merino is 500m/100g which is considerably finer than the 320m/100g of the Kokon fingering that the pattern was designed for. I don't know what I was doing when I ordered the yarn (from Denmark!). Maybe I thought I was going to hold two strands double? Obviously I hadn't looked at the pattern and realised I'd already have as many as 6 strands of yarn on the go at one time anyway!

Whatever I did, I over ordered. Oops ;)

I did some swatches and even going up two needle sizes I was still coming out smaller than intended. But I was nervous that if the needle was too big the pattern would look loose and imprecise, so I settled on using 4mm needles rather than the 3.5mm the pattern suggested.

In swatching I also got my Knitter's Book of Knowledge by Debbie Bliss out and took the time to learn how to hold the yarns. I really like this book as it shows multiple ways of doing things and explains the pros and cons of each. Other knitting books seem to just give the author's view of the one way to knit.

I'd only really tried colourwork with A's Ravenclaw beanie and hadn't quite known what I was doing, so this seemed a good opportunity to get it "right".

The photo above is dated 1st December 2021 so I guess that was the start.

I've learned to knit in the English style, yarn in right hand, but decided to try Debbie Bliss' suggestion to have a crack at doing fair isle with a yarn in each hand.

Because the shawl is knitted flat working on the right side then the wrong side, that meant I had to be able to knit and purl both english and continental. It took a bit of practice but I got there!

The pattern requires 5 colours: 1 light neutral background colour, and then two pairs with a light and dark shade in each pair.

My background colour (C2) is the creamy white in the top left of the picture above: Marzipan

The first pair (C1 and C5) are the two greys. The lighter grey (C1) is used for the border and is Oatmeal and the dark grey is Dark Moose

The second pair (C3 and C4) are the browns. C3 is on the bottom right in the above picture and is Camel and the central deeper brown is Dark Cognac

I made sure to put a lifeline in at each new pattern section, but there are some mistakes that were only discovered long after I'd gone beyond the point of recovery. There's a decidedly red wine fuelled wobble in that very first patterned section!

It came aw ay with me at Christmas and then again on our annual January mountains holiday. Sometimes it was put away briefly while I did something simpler for a break.
Progress pictures kept me entertained.

Each new pattern chart was a nice change, although the widest middle section did seem to take forever.

Still, the yarn was so nice to work with and had just enough of a woolly smell without being too raw. It was lovely journey knitting and since I don't actually wear shawls (ha!) arriving at the destination was kind of irrelevant.

As I was getting into the decreases and each row was going a little quicker I was almost feeling a bit sad about finishing. Of course I could cheer myself up by planning to buy more yarn and start something else...

And then it was finished (photos dated mid March). I did immediately feel like I could make it again. Even with the same yarns in a different order it would completely different. Substituting even just one yarn would change it even more. It's addictive!

I weighed how much yarn was left and calculated roughly what I'd used. Turns out I could have got away with only one ball of nay colour (I'd bought two of all of them and 4 of the Marzipan). However it had been handy to have two balls to work from and not have to split each colour into smaller balls
C1 Oatmeal 32g
C2 Marzipan 41g
C3 Camel 29g
C4 Dark Cognac 18g
C5 Dark Moose 26g

And the final size, once blocked was only about 2-3cm narrower than the pattern.

I've already started on something with the leftovers! (and it only necessitated buying one more colour!)


  1. Absolutely beautiful Shelley and it looks marvellous against the corrugated iron backdrop. Beautiful colour palette, so worth taking the time.

  2. The fact that you’re pretty new to colorwork gives me hope. Your piece is STUNNING! I’m dying to make one myself!

  3. Really beautiful. Love the colours.


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