A few months in the making, I’m super pleased to share my latest with you today: the Syringa shawl! (Get your sunglasses out, this is a bright one!)
There are so many fun details to my new favorite. First: the name. “Syringa” is the scientific/latin name for most genuses (genii?) of the lilac bush, my fave flower. My particular favorite, the double French lilac, is especially represented by this color combination of deep indigo-purple and very vibrant green.
Second: the yarn. This is my first foray into working with Cephalopod Yarns, but I’m happy to report that it will not be my last. The yarn that you see here is their fingering weight Skinny Bugga! yarn. With all of their colorways named after bugs/insects, you can get some really odd colorway name combinations! What you see above is “Tree Frog” (a very-difficult-to-capture-correctly-but-totally-worth-it chartreuse-y green) and “Purple Soldier Fly” (that one’s pretty obvious). I’m also happy to report that, after a good wet blocking and washing machine spin, the yarn lost none of its smoothness and did not bleed one iota at any time, either in the swatch or the finished shawl. I think that last part is especially important when using two such different shades.
Skinny Bugga! is a true fingering weight yarn, so you would normally knit it on US2-3 needles. But because I used a slip stitch pattern in the body of the shawl to create those column stitches and funky “plaid” fabric effect, I went up a few needle sizes. A US5 is what’s recommended in the pattern to get a nice fabric drape, especially as we know how slip stitch patterns tend to constrict stitch gauge. The composition of the yarn blend also assists with the drape greatly, as it’s a super soft combination of merino (warm and bouncy), cashmere (warm and drapey), and nylon (sheen and bounce). Cephalopod has a huge range of color choices, so the sky’s the limit when it comes to your own two-color combination!
(The steel-trap-minded among you also may remember that I bought this yarn last year at Rhinebeck. Since this year’s Rhinebeck is less than 2 weeks away, you can bet I’ll be sporting this one on my shoulders. If you see me, say hello! )
Third: the construction. With a lot going on visually in this shawl (well, I said it was bright, didn’t I?), I kept the construction clean and simple. A top-down triangle knit all in one piece, including the border that is knit after the body is completed. The shawl pictured is the smaller size from the pattern, but I also included a larger size for extra-cozy wrapping. If you want to make the smaller size, just grab 1 skein of each color, and if you want to knit the larger, grab 2 skeins of each color! Simple!
Fourth, and perhaps my favorite: the stitch definition. This is why I now love Skinny Bugga! so much. Look at that stitch definition. As we all know, I usually like knitting with texture more than with lace, so I went all out in that department with Syringa: stockinette, garter stitch, and slipped stitches to create a cushy, touchable fabric. Just the simple garter stitch rows of alternating colors make me very, very happy.
That being said, I could easily see Syringa as a one-color shawl. Really! Think about how well the texture would really show up if you chose, for example, a lighter color of Skinny Bugga. An elegant statement that would be very versatile in your wardrobe.
Finally, this has nothing to do with the shawl and everything to do with Coco, my general manager and first assistant in all affairs. As you can see, she was fully in control of every aspect of the photoshoots:
So that’s it! A big welcome to Syringa as the newest member of the MWD family and I hope that you love knitting it as much as I did! Once the temperatures drop around here, I’ll be ready to throw this shawl around my shoulders and stay warm whichever way the wind blows!
A very big thank you, as always, to my husband for enduring multiple photoshoots to get the lighting right, the photos right, the background right, and the camera right. And a big thank you to Karen as well for her great tech editing!
Next stop: Rhinebeck! Yippee!