Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Escapist - a free pattern

Thank you everybody who participated in the mystery knitalong for Escapist, the shawl inspired by the many period romances I watched last winter.

I can show you what it looks like, now that the knitalong is done:

My idea was to make a shawl that would be warm around your neck and shoulders, while growing fast around the arms so as to be big without insane amounts of knitting.  It had to be super easy so you don't have to count a lot, and it had to have a few runs of stocking stitch to make it easier to run in ends when you start a new ball  of yarn. 

You'd be surprised how hard it is to come up with different stitch patterns that meet all those requirements.  A garter stitch base is good for warmth, so it went first.  Because it holds itself close the shawl got really wide once I switched to lace with a stocking stitch base - and that limited what I could do with the third lace choice, because it had to stretch out either the same or wider.  In the end I decided on a subtle variation on the second lace stitch that smoothed out its garter transitions with thin strips of stocking stitch.

I wanted a special lace pattern for the spine, something compact but interesting.  This one happens to create a natural fold down the middle, which made it a lot easier to block - I just fold the shawl in two and pin it out in a perfectly symmetrical double layer, then press the fold flat again when it's all dry.

For the last part, I increased the stitches at the sides and centre to compensate for the stocking stitch border, which I think are lovely and, in the case of the sides, make a perfect place for a button if you want one to slip through any of the yarn overs.  I might do that myself.

You may notice from these pictures that one version has a scalloped edge, and the other a straight one (or do I mean wrinkled? sorry about that, heh.) Both edges use the same amount of yarn, and you get to choose which one yours will have.

Bonus: the garter stitch lace naturally rolls itself into - well, a shawl collar.  You can straighten it out when you put it on if you prefer, but I like to keep it, myself.

I wanted an old-fashioned humble-looking wool shawl that could be glammed up with luxury yarn or vibrant colour, and I think this one fills the bill.  It's looked great in all the different fiber compositions and colours used in the knitalong... and one of the first to be finished was snapped up for immediate use in historical reenactments to boot.

I hope you enjoy it too!

Download .pdf of Escapist


Binnie said...

This is beautiful!!

TStone said...

Your work is beautiful, and this shawl is one of your best ever! Nice job. Thanks for sharing the pattern.

Anonymous said...

I just love the shawl, I will try to make it

Karen said...

I love the shawl....but I can't seem to find the pattern??

Thanks Karen

Mary Keenan said...

Karen, click on 'view .pdf of Escapist' at the bottom of the blog post - it'll take you to the pattern. If it won't open or download, just e-mail me (link to the right side of the blog) and I'll send it right to you!

Verne said...

Wow. Nice! This is the first variation I've seen
on the "usual spine" you gen
see in shawls. I like!
Thanks for your generosity
in telling us about it and

S. Smith said...

Thanks for this pattern. It's absolutely lovely and not too scary to someone new to lacework.
I have a question, though. As I start part 4 it says "m1" in the directions but I don't see any indication as to how you did your make 1. M1R? M1L? KFB? If there's a standard convention for "m1" I don't know it. What am I supposed to do, please?

Mary Keenan said...

Whoops! Didn't realize I'd missed that :^)

As I understand it, the convention for m1 is slightly different from a m1L or R: with left needle, lift strand between sts from front, then knit through front of loop as though it were a normal knit stitch. With the other two you're shaking up whether you pick the st up from the front or the back, and then you knit through the opposite side to the direction you picked it up.

Thanks for catching the omission - hope this helps!

Anonymous said...

I love (REALLY LOVE) this pattern... it is exciting for me to attempt this 'long' pattern that 'scared off' a few of my friends. ;)

I am having a huge problem, however, understand the binding off section. (I believe it is my brain..)
If you can help me -- THANK YOU! --

I just can't get my brain to understand the term 'wn'... I can't locate the term on the internet -- closeness I get - 'it involves wrapping the yarn around another stitch. Is this what it means?

Thanks, in advance for helping me.

Mary Keenan said...

So glad you like the pattern, Debbie! 'wn' is wrap needle - my own abbreviation, explained at the bottom of the left column on page 1. It's the key part of a sneaky way I came up with to add yardage to the bindoff so the edge of the shawl will lie flat :^)

Anonymous said...

Mary ~ I wanted to write and let you know I finished this wonderful, lovely pattern and finally blocked it.

I still LOVE IT and hope to make more. (If my hands 'hang in there'.) THANK YOU for you help and for sharing this beautiful shawl.

Best wishes! Debbie

Mary Keenan said...

Oh that's great news Debbie, and I'm sending lots of good wishes for non-hurty hands :^)