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Express yourself: change a knitting pattern and make it your own!

by Fiona Stevenson

So far this week, together we have gone wild using unconventional thick and thin yarn, done a daredevil dive into knitting a Faroese Style Shawl without a swatch and thrown caution to the wind by knitting this shawl by dumping designer’s choice of yarn for Bamboo Bloom. Today, I’ll share with you how I rebelled against the pattern and made it my own.

Changes in yarn, sizing, and pattern make this Faroese Shawl a unique expression of me.

I rarely ever knit a pattern as written from beginning to end. Often I have to change it to make the pattern fit my unique body shape. Sometimes I do it purely for aesthetic reasons, or because it tickles my fancy. I want a different border, collar, hem, cuff, edging, cast on, or bind off. I’ll play with color and yarn choices. For me, a pattern is more like a suggestion – a point of inspiration – than an absolute. You don’t have to be radical about how you modify a knitting pattern. Small touches can make all the difference.

Let me share the changes I made in the Faroese Style Shawl pattern which were easy, and none too dramatic. The first thing I did rename the Faroese Style Scarf to Shawl. It seems more shawlish, doesn’t it?

I also decided I wanted this shawl to be big enough to wrap me up. To do so, I needed to add extra repeats before starting the lace border section. If you want to add or decrease the size of this pattern, you will need to increase or decrease the total number of stitches by 16. The lace pattern is a 16 stitch repeat. To make the size you see in my photos I continued repeating the body of the shawl until I had 32 extra stitches on my needles.

Changing up the yarn to Bamboo Bloom enhanced the ripple effect of this shawl.

The other change I made was to introduce a contrast color for the lace border. I also decided to add accent stripes of the main color, Bamboo Bloom Handpaint Sensei. The rich darkness of the Lights Out colorway adds a special touch to the bottom edge, but black can be an intense color. Adding the lighter stripes of Sensei breaks the black, and lightens up the border.

I added two rows of garter stitch in the main color (Sensei) before starting the lace section, and between each lace repeat. I also added a couple rows of garter stitch in this color at the end, and used it to bind off.

Adding contrasting stripes of garter stitch adds a special detail to the lace border.

I’m very happy with the changes I made to this shawl! I encourage you to be a little rebellious, and add your own creativity to the designs you knit.

Tomorrow, for my final post, I’ll help you literally ‘go into the wild’. I’ll help you prepare to take your knitting on a yarnie adventure road trip.

With the extra repeats, my shawl now wraps me up beautifully!

This is part 4 of 5 in this series.
Go back to part 3: How to successfully substitute yarn for a knitted pattern

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