Project Diary: Oscilloscope Shawl

As projects come into the Knitscene office, there’s a whole lot of “oohing” and “aahing” over the samples. There’s a bevy of comments along the lines of “wow that color is perfect!” or “this yarn is sooooo soft!” and more than few “gee, I want one for myself!” And if we’re going to be making things for ourselves, why not let our Knitscene readers know what we did, how we changed a pattern to fit ourselves,or what we think is so great about the pattern?

Enter the Project Diary! Just as Knitting Daily and Inside Knits have done (did you see that Chiral Cardigan? Gorgeous!), we’ll occasionally be featuring a project or two from a new issue with a detailed diary by the knitter. First up, we have our very own Editorial Assistant Kathy Mallo showing off her stunning Oscilloscope Shawl from our Fall 2010 issue. This has been one of the most popular projects from this issue, and Kathy was incredibly excited to dive right into knitting one for herself.


Project: Oscilloscope Shawl by Kate Gagnon Osborn Knitscene Fall 2010
Yarn: The Fibre Company Canopy Worsted, (distributed by Kelbourne Woolens), 4 skeins of Plum.

In the issue’s photo spread, I was drawn to the project because it looks stylish and elegant in its drape. The project appears versatile as a scarf and shawl, depending how I choose to wear it. I like the cozy and practical aspects, as well as the lovely drape of the fabric that makes it classy.

I thoroughly enjoyed making the Oscilloscope shawl. The yarn is a perfect choice and the chart design is so smart. I recall thinking there is something very satisfying about using this combination of yarn and larger needle size to create something: It is not a wisp of a thread that I can barely feel in my hand, nor chunky and dominating the design. This worsted weight yarn is a comfortable place in the middle, feeling so nice and soft in my hands and working up quickly and so beautifully. I truly enjoyed knitting every row. The color is Plum, a really pretty choice that thrills me. I was torn between the gorgeous green in the magazine (one of my favorite colors and a common staple color of my closet) and considering another color. As I worked on the shawl, I wondered what colors other knitters are using.

When knitting from a chart, I can’t allow the luxury of a wandering mind too much because, I admit, mistakes come easily to me. I’ve seen expert knitters knit without even glancing at their hands, which blows me away! I was once on a tour train in the mountains of Colorado. There was a lady from England next to me not missing a moment of the scenery and knitting away at the same time. I asked her how in the world she did that: She said she has been knitting since a child and doesn’t need to look at her hands knitting because she feels it. Of course, it was a straight stockinette sleeve, but still!

Some knitters have trouble understanding charts as the primary pattern instruction. In knitting the Oscilloscope Shawl, I found it extremely helpful to:
• First read all the way through the pattern instructions and the applicable glossary notes. This helps me to get an overall feel of the road ahead and maybe see into the designer’s logic in the layout.
• Use a sticky note to move along the page, line by line on the chart so I don’t get lost.
• Refer to the key. Love the key! For me, the chart symbols for ssk versus k2tog don’t stick in my brain: it’s kind of funny, something so simple, yet easily mixed up. So the key is key.
• Have faith!

At the beginning of this project, I was a little nervous and unsure of myself. When I had knitted the first half of the set-up chart, it did not look right to me. I frogged the work a couple of times because I doubted my ability. Finally, I decided to just do the best I could and trust the chart. As the corner triangle started to take shape and I moved into the body increase chart, I relaxed. I got in the groove of working each odd and even row back and forth, back and forth. There was a definite moment when I began to fall in love with this project. As the center rows of garter stitch and the paths of diagonal lace began to show themselves, I got excited! When I could see the beautiful pattern design and feel drape of the lovely yarn, it was clear that this may be one of my favorite knitting projects so far.


Have you knit an Oscilloscope Shawl, or do you plan to? Let us know about your version in the comments!

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