The Red Sumac Shawl was one of the most fun projects I’ve ever knit. It starts with one of my favorite cast-on’s, the Invisible Circular Cast-on, and finishes with a Picot Bind-off (those two links let you download the Knitcircus photo tutorials for the techniques). It uses two simple lace patterns, so that it looks pretty but isn’t too taxing to knit. The first leaf pattern, Miniature Leaves, from Barbara Walker’s Treasury, has only three worked lace rows, with yarnovers on each side and a double decrease in the middle to make a tiny, openwork leaf shape; the second pattern is basically just a longer version, with yarnovers defining the edges and the same double decrease in the center.
I was lucky to get to design this shawl for not one, but two wonderful groups of knitters; my class at beloved LYS The Sow’s Ear, which kicked off last night, and the Ravelry Spin-a-Shawl Group, who are actually making their own yarn for the project! Any of you spinners out there, please do join in the fun with the Spin-A-Shawl group.
The shawl is worked in Malabrigo Silky Merino; the Amoroso colorway reminded me of the big stands of sumac at my parents’ home near Spring Green, Wisconsin. Sumac spreads over the whole uphill overlooking the prairie, and in the fall, the many leaves on the small trees turn cardinal red and orange. They’re actually called Flameleaf Sumac, which suits this colorway perfectly.
Any of you who haven’t tried a Half-Pi shawl, you will be so pleased at how easy it is! Unlike triangular shawls, or even the Silk Moon Crescent, it has no border increases; you just knit merrily along until you come to an eyelet increase round, then everything between that and the next increase round is the same number of stitches. Clever, clever Elizabeth Zimmermann. Where would we be without her?