I've recently been blogging about all of our new yarns and one which has really caught my eye is Katia's Ombre. I just love the different colours in the packs and have fallen particularly hard for the red through to yellow colourway. It can be hard for customers to visualise what yarns will look and feel like when made up so I'm knitting up the free pattern which comes with the pack.
Katia Ombre pack of six colours
First of all, when the yarn is out of the pack it is beautifully soft and squishy. It is 100% extrafine merino and is wonderfully smooth with no short fibres to spring out and itch my neck when I wear the shawl. This also means that the yarn has amazing stitch definition so can be unforgiving if you split the yarn or let your tension slip a bit. Taking the time to knit this carefully though will make the result well worth the extra effort.
The pattern is laid out by language so I'm following the bit with the American flag above it (denoting English) which begins at the top of the centre column. As with most non-British patterns instructions are quite pared down. I've chosen colourway 9 for which the pattern suggests beginning with the lightest colour and ending with the darkest in the stripe sequence.
Surprisingly for a 4-ply yarn, the pattern suggests 5.5 mm needles so it will have quite a loose lofty feel to it. This does mean however that I can use my Hiya Hiya large set of needles which is just as well as I already have all the cables for my small set in use. I'm using interchangeable circulars because I like them, not because you have to use circulars for the pattern, although by the end of the increasing there will be a lot of stitches so straight needles might be a bit short to use comfortably.
As the shawl is in garter stitch, it is a good idea to slip the first stitch of each row to give a neater edge. It's also helpful to pin a marker onto the right side of the work as it's easy to get mixed up -- not a problem if knitting a square but a nuisance for shaped items. Once the shaping is established there is no need for the marker but I am moving it up as I go along as a reminder.
There are no instructions on which shaping method to use so I am doing lifted increases. I've pictured the technique below. I'm knitting into the back of the increase stitch to give a left leaning increase which looks neater.
When I need to change colour yarns, I'll always add the new yarn on at the beginning of a right side row as this will be neater and will give a better finish.
So far, I'm really pleased with this shawl. It is soft, smooth and easy to knit which is a relief after some of the intricate fairisles and lace that I've been knitting lately. I'll blog more pictures as I go along and the finished project will be featured in a window display soon with more of our Autumn yarns.