What does one do when one’s best friend is an avid Outlander fan, and her first overseas trip EVER to Scotland was postponed due to COVID-19? Knit her an Outlander-inspired shawl and mitten set that Claire Fraser would be proud to wear.
Now, this was meant to be a quick and easy project. I’m under no illusion that non-knitters appreciate the finesse that would go into the hundreds of hours (and $$) involved in an heirloom, lace weight wool shawl that you can’t even machine wash. (Heck, I don’t think even I appreciate the effort involved in lace/fingering weight yarn.) So off to Spotlight it was for their finest acrylic bulky yarn.
This turned out to be something called “Moda Vera Monkey”, and all I can say is, I’ll never shop for yarn at Spotlight again. At my store at least, they’ve pushed out solid mid-range brands like Cleckheaton and Patons in favour of their home brands (Moda Vera being one), which are either such poor quality they squeak as soon as you look at them, and/or outrageously overpriced. Let’s just say I could have gotten a better deal (that is, a better yarn for a better price) at KnitPicks, Bendigo Woollen Mills or literally any other online shop. Moving on.
The pattern I chose was a relatively simple, free pattern called “Outlander Carolina Shawl”. It’s a bulky weight, triangular, garter stitch shawl shaped by yarnovers at the centre and sides. Too easy! Except that I didn’t buy nearly enough yarn. So back to Spotty it was, and they’d run out of navy so my dominant colour changed colour as I went and the stripes sit in the middle of the shawl rather than at the edges.
It was an enjoyable knit, though it had been a long time since I’d worked with such big needles (9mm) and it seemed a bit unwieldy compared to my preferred 4mms!
The shawl eventually got so big that I cast off with a bit of yarn leftover, which I decided to turn into matching mittens. The same blogger who wrote the shawl pattern has a matching glove pattern in a different weight yarn. I used this pattern as inspiration for my own bulky weight mittens, knitted as below.
I cast on using German twisted cast on (my preferred stretchy cast on) until I had a comfortable circumference around my hand – this was about 7″. Knit 2×1 rib in round for 2.25″, flat for 3″, join in round again and knit til yarn runs out (total length 11.5″).
I knit these two-at-a-time, magic loop so I could keep an eye on yarn usage and ensure they were the same length. Plus who wants to knit a second mitt?
I had fun working with a fiction-inspired knit and such bulky yarn, and hope my friend likes the shawl and mittens as much as I do. The shawl is basically a blanket so she won’t be cold this winter!
Oh, and Ravelry. After many, many years of membership, I won’t be going back – because I can’t. They have launched a website redesign which is so visually offensive it has been directly responsible for at least 10 seizures (documented – who knows what the real number is), countless migraines and other visual disturbances. I’m relatively “lucky” in that it just gives me a whopping headache and some weird, unpleasant out-of-body sensations plus post-exertional malaise. But I still can’t stay on it for any period of time without terrible symptomatic triggering.
The Ravelry team has been worse than unresponsive, they’ve shut down forums and any kind of complaints regarding the effects of their new website. They claim to be “listening” but their comments regarding the impact they have on disabled/neurodivergent Ravellers are dismissive and incline towards victim-blaming.
I’m not sure what happens next, but I’ll keep blogging my knitted creations here and sharing them on Instagram. Some are working on other platforms and I’ll investigate them as they arise.
Pattern: “Outlander Carolina Shawl” by Handy Little Me. Self-drafted mittens.
Pattern details: “The shawl knits up quickly and the design makes for a relaxing and enjoyable knit.”
Yarn: Moda Vera Monkey, super bulky, 100g/80m per skein, 100% acrylic.
5 skeins (500g, 400m) 80314921 Navy – used 486g / 388.8m total for shawl
6 skeins (600g, 480m) 80457871 Charcoal – used 565g / 452m for shawl and mittens
Needles: 9mm Hiya Hiyas.
– I altered this pattern slightly by slipping the first stitch (not in the first row after casting on). For some reason, the left-hand end st (looking at work from a yo row) would always end up twisted so I had to ktbl the following row. Repeat therefore become: sl1, yo, K to marker, yo, slm, k1, slm, yo, K to last st, yo, k1tbl
– Also made first yo after slipped st back to front then back to make longer (like 1.5 sts), otherwise it was just front to back and was very short with a small yo hole (like 0.5 sts).
– Used cable cast on
– Started colour change after 149 sts (3 skeins) due to lack of yarn
– Changing colours when slipping the first stitch of every row: knit the last stitch of the previous row in the new colour. Next row slip that 1st stitch as usual.
– Made stripes 6 rows long
– Spotlight ran out of navy yarn so switched to grey after stripes
– Knitted to about size L length (41” long down middle)
– Cast off on right side
Cast on using German twisted cast on or preferred until you have a comfortable circumference around hand – this was about 7″. Knit 2×1 rib in round for 2.25″, flat for 3″, continue in round for desired length (total length 11.5″).