As a designer, I can honestly say that there are many occasions where the yarn speaks to me, and it tells me what it is supposed to become. In like mind, there are times where color combinations do the exact same thing, and I create something based on how the combination of colors compliment each other. However, as makers, we also have the option to express ourselves by changing an original work with a simple shift of the color palette. Not a fan of pink? Pick colors that go with purple instead! Want to bust your yarn stash and don’t have orange and yellow? Allow teal and grey to inspire you for a cooler, more relaxed color combination. The yarn world is your playground!
This is important because of the project I want to talk about today. If you’ve been following me for a while, you’ll know that one of my favorite past-times is to test patterns written by my good friend, Mary, of CraftyTuts.com. Not too long ago, she had a stellar collaboration with LittleBittyDelights and BaadMomYarns of Instagram, who put together an awesome gift set that included a mug, a cute stitch marker, indie-dyed mini skeins of yarn and, most importantly, a free pattern from Mary. Unfortunately, the pre-order date for this gift set was limited, and I missed the cut-off. But I wasn’t entirely unfortunate this time – after all, I test a lot of Mary’s patterns, and with Mary being the pattern writer, I was presented with a wonderful opportunity.
Not long after the preorder date passed, Mary reached out to me with the request to test the new pattern that was designed to go with BaadMomYarns’ mini skeins from the gift set. I was eager for a new knitting project to play with, and since I was also currently stocked with a decent variety of fingering weight yarns, I knew I would be able to start almost immediately without any addition supply runs. Mary sent me a sneak peek photo with her request, and while her colors looked nothing like what I had in my stash, she brought out that the color combination was, as always, optional.
When she sent me the pattern, I relished the minimal amount of materials needed to make the project, which was a shawl. I took my time looking over the color changes, which totalled out to five different colors. Ironically enough, I had five different colorways in fingering weight yarn. I was a bit hesitant to get started, though – I wasn’t positive if all five colors would compliment one another.
This project, which was appropriately named The Christmas Cookie Shawl, was named based on the colorways used for the original creation. When you look at Mary’s finished shawl, you see the beige color of the sugar cookie, and the teal, red, blue, and speckled yarns all represent the different colored icings or sprinkles you would decorate your treats with. It was a cute, inspired shawl, but I did not have those colorways at home. At my disposal was black, teal lake, purple, golden yellow, and a lovely colorway from Lorna’s Laces named Chesapeake, which was named for the Chesapeake Bay, and was adorned with blues, lavenders, and sandy beiges.
Okay, so perhaps I didn’t have the exact same colors, but I did have four solid colors and a speckled colorway. It could still work.
Mary may have been more excited in the beginning about my color combination than I was. She reassured me that my shawl would look great with the array of colors at my disposal, and I eventually agreed that I could always use my creation as a way to show how versatile the project could be, and what it looks like as a stash buster.
It took me a little less than a week to knit up my shawl. My favorite thing about the finished item is how light-weight it is. It makes a great accessory if you don’t want to be weighed down by wearing layers, but you need something to throw over your shoulders, or to wrap around your neck. It’s more stylish than a typical old scarf, and the color changes make for an eye-catching addition to your outfit!
I have a bad habit of automatically filling in the repetitions when I am working on a project that has repeats of any kind, so my shawl is slightly different than Mary’s. For instance, her design had breaks in the gorgeous star stitch pattern that she used for some of the stripes, but with me not owning a printer, and using my cell phone to do everything, from downloading pattern PDFs to counting my rows with a widget, I memorized how the first stripe was worked, and how many rows were in the stripe, and I repeated the process a few times before I realized the pattern had changed. I consulted with Mary about this ‘boo-boo’, and she assured me that I hadn’t ruined anything, and that the shawl would still be just fine. I also became so excited when I came to the end of my shawl that I worked the bottom border in the wrong stitches! But, again, it only made a minor difference, so it was another accidental change that I kept.
See why I mentioned the allowance of creative expression when using a pattern?
A lot of times, we crafters beat ourselves up for making an accidental stitch, or for not following the pattern 100%. However, unless that one stitch makes a drastic change in our project when it comes to a required size or shape, it really doesn’t hurt the end result but so much. As you can see by my shawl, I may have unintentionally deviated from the original pattern, but the end result was still quite stunning.
So, if you were like me and missed the opportunity to get your hands on LittleBittyDesign’s wonderful gift set, fret not – Mary made sure to share her beautiful pattern on Ravelry, as always. You can find a copy for yourself HERE! And, remember – just because it was designed with a specific yarn does not mean you have to use the exact same yarn! Be creative, and make the project your own!