All About the Traverse Shawl Pattern

I recently released the Traverse Shawl pattern. Beginning with alternating sections of garter stitch and textured rib stitch, before ending with a contrasting zigzag panel; this shawl is a relaxing project consisting mainly of knit and purl stitches.

This design has been floating around in my mind for quite a long time - I actually purchased the yarn for this idea way back in October 2021! I didn't know exactly which stitch patterns I wanted to use, but I've had a blurry image of this shawl in my head for well over a year. I knew I wanted a contrast colour section towards the edge of the shawl, as well as garter stitch sections alongside other textured sections. A couple of months ago I decided to finally prioritise working on this shawl.

The project began with lots of swatching. I first needed to figure out which needle size I wanted to use, so I knitted lots of little garter stitch swatches until I had a fabric I was happy with. I then had to decide on a shawl shape. I knew I wanted it to be a triangle knitted from the top down, but after knitting some mini shawl swatches I decided I wanted it to have extra increases on the wrong side rows. This makes the shawl wider and shallower resulting in a fairly large wingspan, without it being really deep or using lots of yarn. I knitted another mini shawl to experiment with different increases for the centre spine. It was quite tricky to choose which to use as they all result in quite different looks, but in the end I opted to use M1L and M1R as these create a nice defined column.

Traverse Shawl
Traverse Shawl

The next step was probably the most time-consuming part of the project, as I had to decide which stitch patterns to use. I knitted some long rectangular swatches, where I tried various stitch patterns alongside garter stitch in order to narrow this down. A lot of this time was spent on the contrast colour zigzag section. I'd had the idea to include a zigzag in this area, but it took a lot of attempts to get it right. I experimented with the thickness of the line used for the zigzag, as well as the width of it. I found that when it was too small, or if the line was too thick, it wouldn't really stand out enough in the fabric.

Once I'd chosen some stitch patterns to use I then knitted a mini shawl to test everything I'd decided on so far together. This was very useful for choosing the final stitch patterns after narrowing it down to a few favourites, as well as to see how elements like the zigzag would look on the selected shawl shape. I used what I'd learnt knitting this swatch to knit a mini version of the final shawl design and write my first draft of the pattern.

I wasn't certain about how large I wanted each section to be before knitting the final shawl, so I wrote a lot of the pattern as I worked on it. I would write the instructions for a row before knitting it to test it out. Getting the contrast colour section right was quite a challenge. I'd originally designed it to have some eyelet rows at the start and end of the section, but once I'd knitted these I really wasn't happy with them. Sometimes when you see a stitch pattern on the final project - which is much larger than your swatches - it might not work as well as you'd expected and changes may need to be made. I ended up needing to unravel this section quite a few times to experiment with it and decide on the final design.

Traverse Shawl

The yarn I'd chosen for this project was from Beehive Yarns. When I'd originally had the idea for this shawl I wanted to use quite neutral colours, so opted to use 'Sandy Shore' as the main colour and 'Damask' as the contrast colour. I really like these two colourways together, as they contrast well to make the zigzag section really stand out, whilst fitting in with my original vision of a neutral toned shawl. I chose to use DK weight yarn as I thought this would create a very cosy shawl and work well for the textured stitch patterns, additionally it makes the shawl surprisingly quick to knit.

I really loved knitting this shawl - it was probably one of the most enjoyable projects I've ever knitted! I've already been thinking about knitting myself a second one and what other colour combinations I'd like to try. I also find that the size of this shawl really works well for me. I'm not very tall (about 5'3" / 160 cm) and find that a lot of wider shawls can be a bit too deep for my frame, but this design works perfectly for me as it has plenty of wingspan to wrap around my neck without feeling like a giant blanket.

Click the link below to check out the full details of the pattern.

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