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It Started with a Sketch: Milky Oolong

Often in the It Started with a Sketch series I've shown you the similarity between original sketches and the resulting designs. But what about when designs don't go to plan? Yeah, sometimes those happen, too. This is Milky Oolong.

Milky Oolong :: shawl knitting pattern

One of the biggest trends in knitting over the past year has been to combine a smooth yarn with fluffy mohair in one project. My local yarn store has been carrying more and more of these fluffy yarns so even I couldn't escape this trend! Milky Oolong was born of the idea of varying textures in a shawl by working some sections double stranded, some with only one of the yarns.

Lace border on the Milky Oolong shawl

Milky Oolong is a top-down crescent-shaped shawl worked in two lace-weight yarns: one smooth, one fluffy. The shawl highlights the textural differences between garter stitch and lace. All garter stitch is worked with both yarns held together; all lace sections with only the mohair yarn for really ethereal, see-through lace. After Shawlands and Lime Chamraj this is now the third pattern in a series of shawl designs inspired by my favorite teas.

Working on the Milky Oolong shawl

In the original plan, the shawl has these same lace strips but ends with another, more complex lace border featuring bobbles — another recent trend. Working on the shawl, however, I came to realize this was too much: the elegant simplicity of the delicate lace combined with the extreme squishiness of double-stranded garter stitch is all that's needed.

Original sketch for the Milky Oolong shawl pattern

And I realized the shawl could easily be sized up or down. The pattern comes in three sizes along with instructions to modify the shawl size based on your liking... or depending on how much yarn you have available! The difference between the small and medium sizes is in the amount of garter stitch. The largest size has three lace sections on the border while the two smaller ones have only two. Both written and charted instructions are of course provided for the lace pattern.

Lace detail on the Milky Oolong shawl

My sample shawl was knit using Isager Strik Spinni Tweed (100% wool, 300 m/50 g) and Sandnes Garn Tynn Silk Mohair (57% mohair, 28% silk, 15% wool, 212 m/25 g) in an extremely subtle, almost grayed-out, beige-ish pink. (I don't know what came over me.) If the mere thought of mohair makes you itch, angora or brushed alpaca make for excellent, kitten-soft substitutes.

My yarn choices for the Milky Oolong shawl

While I used colors that were as close to each other as I could find, you don't have to! For visual interest and to highlight the differences between the two textures, use contrasting-colored yarns. You can even use variegated or semi-solid yarns — the bouncy garter stitch sections will mellow them out.

You can pick up a copy of the Milky Oolong pattern on Ravelry. Share photos of your shawl on Instagram with the hashtags #milkyoolongshawl and #talviknits.


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It Started with a Sketch: Milky Oolong

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Susanna Winter is a knitwear designer, creating timeless and elegant pieces with clean lines. She has been knitting for over 20 years, knit blogging since 2007, and designing knitting patterns professionally since 2016.

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