It’s My Life Shawl: Complete

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Cast On: October 31, 2014
Cast Off: April, 14, 2015
Pattern: Exploration Station by Stephen West
Yarn A: MadelineTosh Merino Light (Fiber Content: 100% Superwash Merino Wool, Yarn Color: Vintage Sari; Yarn Weight: 1, Fingering)
Yarn B: MadelineTosh Merino Light (Fiber Content: 100% Superwash Merino Wool, Yarn Color: Jade; Yarn Weight: 1, Fingering)
Yarn C: MadelineTosh Merino Light (Fiber Content: 100% Superwash Merino Wool, Yarn Color: Leaf; Yarn Weight: 1, Fingering)
Yarn D: MadelineTosh Merino Light (Fiber Content: 100% Superwash Merino Wool, Yarn Color: Filigree; Yarn Weight: 1, Fingering)
Needle: US 6
Dimensions: 70 W x 35 H inches (approximate, after blocking)

Five months! A friend of mine asked me to participate in Stephen West 2014 Mystery Knit-A-Long. Being a fan of some of West’s designs and having access to some yarn, I decided to participate.

I was so excited when I discovered the beginning of this shawl was similar to Merging Ripples by Kyoko Nakayoshi, which I had been planning to knit up in lime green and cobalt blue. And then it turned into brioche. I had never done brioche and it looked simple enough to learn, so I started immediately without practicing. I got about six rows in and discovered a mistake I could not fix. I frogged back to the end of section one – fortunately having the correct number of stitches – ran a life line and started My Funny Valentine Cowl to practice.

After I finished the cowl, I resumed It’s My life and felt like a professional and seasoned knitter. From that point forward, I encountered no problems and enjoyed the knitting of this shawl. Knitting of this shawl taught me new knitting stitches/techniques, and for that, I am grateful. The i-cord border is really interesting and I may use that again in the future. I also really liked the stripes before the chevrons and will definitely incorporate that into the shawl I will make with the leftovers.

This shawl derived it’s name – It’s My Life by Talk, Talk – because at the time I cast on, I had just been fired from my job at the yarn store and I was feeling defiant. There are a couple of mistakes that will stand out to a professional and smaller errors that could be considered imperceptible, but overall I am very proud of this project.

Price: USD $344.80

By Mojee’s, I think I have it!

Basic Two-Color Brioche Knit
©A Hooker’s World

It all started with the Stephen West Exploration Station (AHW Project Name: It’s My Life Shawl) Mystery Knit-A-Long. I am supposed to be doing this with a friend of mine from One Skein Short Group (Every Thursday Evening; 6:00 pm – 8:00 pm @ The Vineyard Christian Fellowship‘s Coffee Connection, in the Gallery Room – dim lighting, at least, to my taste. EXCEPTION: Second Thursday of every month we meet at same edifice, but different room: The Park Room). I had never done brioche, but his tutorial seemed easy enough to follow, so I proceeded with confidence. About six rows in, I had dropped a stitch and had a complete traffic jam.

Not looking to frogging, I procrastinated. I’ll admit I sighed with relief when Ania injured herself New Year 2015 and was not able to attend the group; embarrassed by my inability to catch on to the brioche so quickly. I finally frogged about a week ago and was quite relieved that I had maintained the correct amount of stitches. The first thing I did was run a life line.

The next thing I did was grab two skeins of Red Heart Super Saver (Fiber Content: 100% Acrylic; Yarn Color A: Cherry Red, Yarn Color B: Pretty ‘n’ Pink; Yarn Weight: 4, worsted) and start practicing. After about three attempts, each ending with mistakes most attributable to lack of attention, I finally diverted my attention briefly by making two extra large yarn cakes from the skeins.

My third attempt – after about three tries – has resulted in the following; the most important thing learned: Attention Required! My knitting teacher, Ana, used to say “admire your work often.” This is a good practice when learning basic two-color brioche, or any new stitching method. The final benefit of much practice: you learn to read your stitches much better and can learn to un-knit, if necessary.

The picture above represents my best attempt at learning this technique. I hope I am not jinxing myself with this post. I am going to continue practicing until the skeins run out, hoping to become qualified enough to teach this technique, as I am teaching a workshop at the Sand and Sea Knitting Guild (meets second Saturday of each month; St. Andrew’s Lutheran Church) in about two weeks time.

Even as I become more knowledgeable about this technique, my mind is running with the thought of how this cowl would look with a mobius cast on, changing bias of the brioche knit.