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Jen Lucas Mystery Shawl KALAs the holidays approach, I’m cranking out small projects like mittens, hats, and cowls for gifts.  BUT that doesn’t mean I can’t find time for something a little more interesting — like a MYSTERY KNITALONG!  Jen Lucas of Knitting Like Crazy is hosting a mystery shawl KAL for the month of November, and the beauty is that the pattern is released in four stages.  Once a week, a new clue comes out — giving me plenty of time to work on holiday gifts in between clues.

This is only the second mystery KAL we’ve participated in as a shop over at Trumpet Hill, but people have been having a great time with it — it’s a great way to stay involved for those customers who can’t commit to a class this time of year, and it’s also an excellent way to learn new techniques!  Jen’s mystery shawl pattern is already a treasure trove — she offers written directions to support the lace charts throughout the pattern, perfect for a newer knitter still learning to read charts comfortably.  She also uses a tab start for this particular shawl, a technique that you’re guaranteed to run into again and again if the shawl bug bites you!  Here’s how to work it:

20131106-073458.jpgCast on the given number of stitches for your pattern, then knit the number of rows advised (usually in garter stitch). At the end of the last row, don’t turn your work — notice that my working yarn is attached to the leftmost stitch!  Instead of turning, we’ll be rotating the work 90 degrees to pick up stitches along the top and opposite side.

20131106-073509.jpgWe’ll pick up along the top first: insert the same knitting needle that currently holds the live stitches into the top bump of the first garter ridge, yarn over, and draw through a new stitch.  Repeat for each garter ridge.

Keep the same side facing (DON’T turn your work!), and rotate your work 90 degrees again.  Pick up one stitch for each stitch you cast on.  DONE!

20131106-073527.jpgHere’s a shot of what the wrong side will look like — note the purl bumps!  Your first row of knitting will be worked on the wrong side.

Want to participate in the Mystery KAL?  Here are all the details:
Pattern: Jen Lucas Mystery Shawl 2013
Yarn: Fingering weight, 400-800 yards (small-large shawl; small size will be about 60” wide and 23” deep. Large size will be about 72” by 30”)  Check out the newest offerings at Sage by stopping in — gorgeous skeins from Toil & Trouble and HPKY aren’t up on the website yet!
Needles: Size 5 24″ or longer circulars
Gauge: 20 sts and 32 rows = 4” in stockinette stitch
Shawl Shape: All we know for sure is that it’s not a triangle!

My project details:
Yarn: Cascade Heritage Paints in Ice Caves
Needles: Size 5 24″ metal circulars
Size: small shawl