Playground Shawl - a free pattern
Updated: Apr 9
I've been eyeing Catherine's yarn for a while now and every time she posted pictures of it on her Instagram, I sighed and thought "One day, it will find its way to my stash!" And it finally did.
Catherine specializes in self-striping yarns and she dyes them in two versions: classic striping, which is perfect for socks, and shawl striping, which is good for... well, shawls :-) The latter patterning was something I eagerly wanted to try. I saw many versions of simple triangular shawls made with her yarns, but honestly, what I have dreamed of doing is to see how the yarn would work up in a slightly different shape, namely, a biased shawl.
One day I cast on for the shawl shortly after breakfast to be ready to knit it during the many hours I find myself with kids at the playground. It was meant to be simple and fun, with a maximum of two sections that could be easily memorized - a perfect playground shawl.
I used a smaller skein of Caterpillargreen Yarns MCN in colorway Concrete and Tulips, but it should work out fine in any shawl-striped yarn in Cat's store. Since the section sizes may vary among knitters and skeins (!), I have not included any stitch counts (just how many sts are added in some rows). Thus, you are the one who will decide which chart to use and when to switch to a new section. Do not fear! Once you get friendly with the yarn, it will easily guide you through the shawl. So let's go!
Pattern Information Size: adjustable; sample size: approx. 145cm/58” wide along top edge and 55cm/22” high. Yarn:1 skein of Caterpillargreen Yarns MCN Fingering - Shawl (70% merino, 20% cashmere, 10% nylon; 370m/405y per 115g). Sample show in colorway: Concrete and Tulips. Needles: 4.5mm/US #7 circular needle (60cm/24" long). Other: tapestry needle for weaving, blocking pins. Gauge: 16 sts and 38 rows = 10cm/4" in Garter st worked flat. The gauge isn’t crucial on this project, but differences will affect the finished size as well as the required yardage.
Abbreviations: BO - bind off; CO - cast on; k - knit; kfb - knit one stitch through the front and back loop to make two stitches; rep - repeat; ssk - slip 2 stitches individually as if to knit, then knit them together through the back loops; st, sts - stitch, stitches; WS - wrong side; yo – yarn over; ** - repeat as noted between asterisks.
Instructions: The shawl consists of two sections: gray Garter stripes and colorful Lace stripes. Each section may have a different length depending on the color changes, thus there are no stitch counts. When working gray sections all RS rows will begin with an increase, and all WS rows will begin with a decrease and finish with an increase. Lace sections will have 1 increase every row: at beginning of RS rows and end of WS rows. The combination of these two sections worked alternately will create a long, skewed triangle.
SET-UP With needle, 4.5mm/US#7, CO 4 sts. Row 1 (RS): k2, kfb, k1. 5 sts Row 2 (WS): ssk, kfb, k2.
GARTER STRIPES Row 1 (RS): k2, kfb, k to end. (+1 st) Row 2 (WS): ssk, k to last 3 sts, kfb, k2. Rep the last 2 rows until you run out of gray color, ending with a WS row. If you see that a new color will be introduced in the middle of a Row 2, work the final row as follows: (WS): ssk, p to last 3 sts, kfb, k2. (See notes below.)
LACE STRIPES Odd-Numbered Section (odd # of sts on needle before working 1st RS row) Row 1 (RS): k2, kfb, *yo, ssk*, rep to end. (+ 1 st) Row 2 (WS): k1, *yo, ssk*, rep to last 3 sts, kfb, k2. (+1 st)
Even-Numbered Section (even # of sts before working 1st RS row) Row 1 (RS): k2, kfb, k1, *yo, ssk*, rep to end. (+1 st) Row 2 (WS): k1, *yo, ssk*, rep to last 4 sts, k1, kfb, k2. (+1 st)
Rep these 2 rows until you run out of the contrasting color, ending with a WS row.
To work the shawl, simply alternate gray Garter stripes and contrasting Lace stripes until you run out of yarn. When you reach the last color, which is gray, work the final Garter stripe then BO all sts in pattern fairly loosely (or with a bigger sized needle).
Finishing: Weave in ends and block the shawl giving it a triangular shape. Enjoy!
Tips: When working in Caterpillargreen Yarns you will notice that sometimes the color changes occur in the middle of a row. There are two options for dealing with this situation:
Ignore. Yes, just ignore! However, this may result in two-color Garter ridges or gray lace. All depends on you! If it doesn't bother you, just embrace the beauty of the yarn and leave it as is.
Switch the stitch patterns. This is what I tried to do. When you work in Garter st and you see a new color approaching too soon to make it to the end of the final row, just purl the last WS row in that section (making sure to keep all increases and decreases as per pattern!). If the gray sneaks up faster than expected in the last WS row of a lace section, just work the color lace as per pattern and immediately when the yarn turns to gray, start purling.Sometimes the color change may take place near the beginning of a RS row. In such a case, if the change is from gray to contrasting color, just begin Lace section using gray. However, if the change is from contrasting color to gray, it’s okay to change pattern stitch mid-row – work the color sts in lace and knit all the gray sts. Count this as Row 1 of the next Garter stripe. All these tricks result in really awesome and clean patterning.
Finally, I've been asked by many people if this shawl can only be knit in Cat's yarn. Although I strongly recommend enjoying "the Caterpillargreen experience", of course not! You can grab any yarn you wish - any color, any weight - and just play with the instructions to create your own beautiful Playground Shawl. Your imagination is the only limit here!
You can download PDF version of the pattern here.
Copyright 2015 (c) Lete’s Knits / Justyna Knits 2021. Pattern is for personal use only. Please respect designer’s copyright.