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Journey to the Center of the Shawl

This shawl pattern first appeared in the Spring 2023 issue of the Finnish crafts magazine TAITO. When I was asked to design a shawl pattern for the issue, all I was given was the shape (triangular) and a color palette of turquoise, caramel, and gray. Beyond those two guidelines for the design brief I could freely express myself. The three-color striped and ruched Taival is the result.

Taival :: shawl knitting pattern

The theme for the issue was on a journey. I wanted to design something that would make a great traveling companion for both easy knitting on-the-go or, when finished, as a cozy accessory for extra warmth. The magazine theme is what inspired the design name, too: "taival" is archaic Finnish for a trek, journey, or long travel.

Taival is a three-color, shallow triangle shawl made of garter stitch, stripes, and a ruched edging. The shawl is worked in one color of smooth fingering-weight yarn (main color) and two colors of fluffy lace-weight yarn (contrasting colors).

Taival :: shawl knitting pattern

Top-down triangular shawls are often made by increasing stitches on every row at both edges and on every other row around the center spine. This makes them rather deep vertically and short in wingspan which can be an awkward shape to wear. In this shawl, on the other hand, the shallow triangle shape is achieved by increasing around the center stitch on every fourth row. The gentler pace of increases allows for a wider wingspan which makes Taival a comfortable shawl to wear either draped over your shoulders, Sontag style, or scarf-like wrapped once (or even twice) around the neck. I'm also not a fan of the usual yo, K1, yo center spine which is why increases in Taival (and many of my other triangular shawl designs) are made with M1L and M1R increases.

The shawl starts by making a garter-tab cast-on with the main color. The body is worked in straightforward garter stitch that's interspersed with narrow two stripes in the two contrasting colors. Garter stitch adds a substantial, squishy texture to the shawl that traps in a lot of air between the fibers — a feature that makes wool for so warm.

The striped portion of the shawl makes for a fast-paced but relaxing knit because there are absolutely no purl stitches! The narrow two stripes using two different contrasting colors add visual interest and create a fun knit. Not to mention, the alternatingly-colored stripes add a potaty-chip quality to the knitting experience: just one more row, just one more row… whoops, done!

Taival :: shawl knitting pattern

Until you get to the border, that is. In the ruched border, stitches are increased rapidly by (almost) doubling the stitch count for a few rows. The ruched stripes a worked in stockinette in the two contrasting colors and, unfortunately, this means there' also a bit of purling involved in the shawl.

At the end of each stripe the stitch count is restored by working a series of centered quadruple decreases. Sharp needles can come in handy here so that you're catching all the stitches involved in the decreases. Use slightly larger needles (half a mil or a full mil up) for the ruched stripes to enhance the ruffled, see-through effect even further.

To knit the shawl you'll need three colors and two types of yarn. For the main color, use a smooth fingering-weight yarn with, such as wool or wool blend like wool/silk, wool/bamboo, or even wool/nylon sock yarn, approx. 400 m or 440 yd. In my sample shawl I used Tukuwool Fingering (200 m/50 g, 220 yd/1.76 oz), a rustic, non-superwash treated 100% Finnsheep wool in light gray (color 02 Humu).

For the two contrasting colors you'll need fluffy lace-weight yarn, such as pure mohair, silk mohair (my favorite), or — if the mere thought of mohair makes you itch — some other fluffy animal like suri alpaca, brushed alpaca, or angora, approx. 100 m (110 yd) of one and 170 m (190 yd) of the other. One 25-gram skein should enough of either of the colors. For best effect, the contrasting colors should stand out from the main color but contrast between the two is not essential. In my sample shawl the contrasting colors were Filcolana Tilia (70% mohair, 30% silk, 210 m/25 g, 230 yd/0.88 oz) in the colorways 352 Red Squirrel and 289 Blue Coral.

But who's to say you can only use three colors? The narrow stripes would be a great way to use up silk mohair scraps and leftovers from other projects. I'm certainly starting to accrue those at the same rate as sock yarn scraps… You could even make every stripe with a different color! I'd love to see a rainbow-striped version, for instance, or each stripe group knit in a different color family. The possibilities for unique color combinations are quite limitless.

Taival :: shawl knitting pattern

Taival is suitable for knitters of various skill levels, from enthusiastic beginners up to those more accomplished in the craft. The only stitch patterns used in the shawl are garter stitch and stockinette. No charts are needed which makes the pattern easy to follow if you prefer working from written instructions. The pattern comes in one size only but it could be easily sized up (or down) by changing the number of five-stripe groups.

The pattern for Taival previously appeared in print in the TAITO magazine issue 02/2023. The publication rights have now reverted back to me and the pattern is now available as an individual download in all my pattern shops on Payhip, LoveCrafts, and Ravelry (seizure warning). Share your shawl journey on Instagram using the hashtags #taivalshawl and #talviknits. I can't wait to see your color combinations!


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Introducing Taival, a captivating three-color triangular shawl knitting pattern with garter stitch, alternating stripes, and a ruched border. In this blog post I detail the inspiration behind the top-down shawl design, the benefits of the shallow triangle shape and how it's achieved, how the ruched border is made, why sharp needles are a must, what types of yarns to knit the shawl with, and where you can download the pattern. #knitting #knit #shawl #shawlknitting #stripes #ruched

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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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