Summer of Mystery Shawls

August 16, 2012By

Knitters tend to fall into two camps: process knitters vs. product knitters.

Product knitters are more concerned with the finished project, the actual knitting is merely a means to an end. The joy is in the completion. Knitting a full-sized sweater with thin yarn on small needles? Repeating the same simple stitch pattern over and over for hours at a time? No problem, as long as the finished product turns out just the way they want it.

Process knitters are more concerned with the actual knitting process rather than the final product. These knitters find joy in the creation, and sometimes you’ll find finished projects stacked in a closet or drawer, never used or worn. For them, it’s all about the new technique, the new stitch pattern, or a particularly cleverly constructed design rather than the final end product.

Considering how many knitted projects I have taking up space in my hall closet, I definitely fall on the “process” end of the spectrum. I love learning new techniques, and challenging myself to try more difficult projects just to see if I can make them, even if the result isn’t something I’d wear.

This might explain why I’ve been obsessed with Mystery Shawl knit-a-longs this summer. A mystery (project)  knit-a-long is a fun concept. A designer creates a pattern, but instead of publishing it with photos, instead knitters purchase the pattern sight unseen, and the instructions are given out over a few weeks, and not all at once. You don’t know what you’re knitting when you cast on, and some weeks might have you go in different directions than you’d expect.

As a process knitter, I love this. Since the joy is in the knitting not the final product, I don’t really worry too much if the final project will be practical or wearable. It’s all about the surprise.

I’ve already completed two (very different) mystery shawls this summer. They were SO MUCH FUN that I’ve already signed up for a third one.

Mystery Shawl #1: Through the Loops Mystery Shawl “Portico”

Portico (Small Size)

Pattern: Portico Shawl by Kirsten Kapur (Ravelry project link)

Yarn: Madelinetosh Tosh Merino Light; Color: Fragrant; Just under 1 skein

A note about this yarn: It is AMAZING. So soft, but it didn’t feel so delicate that I worried about it tearing as I was using it. I definitely want to use this again.

Mods:  None!

Portico (Small Size)

Oh, I love this shawl. It’s a little small, because I didn’t check my gauge, but I don’t care. This will be great to wear this fall.

Mystery Shawl #2:

Rockefeller

Pattern: Rockefeller by Stephen West (Ravelry project link)

Yarn: Malabrigo Sock in Archangel (orange) and Velvet Grapes (purple); under 1 skein of each

Mods: The striped wings are supposed to be much longer, but I was tired of knitting garter stitch stripes (says the process knitter!)

Oh, this one was fun. I had no idea what Stephen West was going to do from one clue to the next. First it was short rows, then intarsia, then slipped stitch motifs. SO many techniques, SO many direction changes, SO much fun!

Zelda certainly seemed to like it:

Helping

And I’m still not done! Another Mystery Shawl starts this Friday: Laura Nelkin’s Trapeze Mystery Shawl. This one uses a LOT of yarn, and a  new item for me: beads!

This should be fun. I can’t wait to see the first clue!

Are you more of a product or process knitter? Have you ever done a mystery knit along?

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