Study for Meditation Mat

Study for Meditation Mat
Handspun Tapestry Weaving

Saturday, 22 March 2014

Shakti Shakes: A Little Spring Wrap

This little wrap has attracted much attention since I first wore it last week.  I've had several requests for the pattern, so here it is.  The first photograph, taken by our lovely Michele at Open Fibre Night, shows me wearing the cowl as intended.  The second photograph shows the erratic colour shifts in the latest sample that makes Noro my favourite commercial yarn.  

I designed this wrap because I needed something to cover my shoulders while teaching in yoga studios with fluctuating temperatures, something that would ward off a chill while leaving my arms free to move. With the coming of spring, I wanted to knit with bright colours, quickly, before the weather became too warm for wool.  Noro Hitsuji, bulky 100% wool, is the perfect yarn for this piece, whose name was inspired by Noro’s bright, often unpredictable colours.  In Hindu and yoga traditions, Shakti is primordial energy, the personification of divine feminine creative power.  Shakti is associated with bright colours, movement, and fire.  Shakti does the unexpected; her talents burn bright.  

Knit in the round, the wrap is easy enough for experienced beginners—there is a provisional cast on for the neck and optional short rows which move this out of the “Simple” category; however, you could skip the provisional cast on and knit the whole thing from the top down, omitting the short rows.  In that case, the wrap would be suitable for a knitter’s first knit-in-the-round garment.   It’s a one size fits all pattern; however, if you are broad across the chest, you may want to add more increases in the body.  Taller knitters or those who want something below the elbows should add more length.

As usual, I’m providing a template rather than a pattern here.  There is a link to short row instructions; a good knitting guide will take you through any terms you don’t understand.

Shakti's Spring Fling Wrap

Yarn: 3 balls Noro Hitsuji, 100% wool, 100 metres per 100 gram ball.  Buy more if you prefer a wider or longer garment.

Supplies:  1-60 cm circular needle, in a size to give a gauge of 3 stitches per inch.  I used a 6 mm needle; Noro recommends 6.5 to 8 mm needles with this yarn.

1-60 cm circular needle, in a smaller size, for bottom ribbing. 1-40 cm circular needle, for neck ribbing.  I used 5 mm.  I recommend a needle one or two sizes smaller than your body needle.  I use Knitters’ Pride interchangeable knitting needle tips, so I simply switch out the tips to the sizes I need.

Scrap yarn for provisional cast on; markers, blunt tapestry needle, scissors.

With scrap yarn and larger circular needle, cast on 60 stitches.  Cut scrap yarn and change to Noro yarn.  Knit across the provisional stitches, place marker and join in a circle.  Knit 4 rounds.

Increase by *(K2, m1)* around (90 stitches).

Knit 16 rounds or to depth just above the armpits.  Increase by *(K2, m1)* around (135 stitches). If you require more width, you can add increases as you need them.  Just be sure to knit several rounds between each set of increases.  (For example, you could increase after 8 to 16 rounds past the 135 stitches by doing another (K2, m1) which will give you 203 stitches. You can adjust the number of increases as you wish.  Just be sure to end with an even number of stitches before you knit the bottom ribbing.)

Continue knitting around until approximately 5 cm/2 inches before required length.  For my wrap, this was about 30 cm/12 inches.  Optional Short Rows can be added here.  You will work across the back of the wrap, knitting 33 stitches past the marker, wrap and turn for your short row, purl back to the marker and to 33 stitches past the marker, wrap and turn for the end of that short row, then continue to knit in the round. Instructions for short rows can be found here: Interweave Press Free Tutorial on Short Rows  I added one set of short rows to add approximately 1.5 cm/1/2 inch of length in the back.

Change to smaller needle tips or smaller needle, decrease one stitch (134 stitches).  K1, P1 ribbing for approximately 5 cm/2 inches.  Bind off loosely.

Neck:  With shorter, smaller circular needle, pick up the first round of stitches worked into the provisional cast on (60 stitches).  Note: Pick up the stitches in the Noro yarn, not the stitches formed from the scrap yarn.  Knit one round.  On next round, decrease by *(K3, K2tog)* around (48 stitches).  K1, P1 for ribbing to desired depth (5cm/2 inches).  Bind off loosely.

Darn in all ends.  Remove scrap yarn from provisional cast on.  Wash the wrap in a no-rinse woolwash product.  Remove excess moisture by rolling the garment in a lint free towel.  Block to size and dry flat. 

©Deborah Behm  March 2014
(Photograph of me wearing the wrap © knittermichele)

P.S. Here’s a note for the very brave: I leave these wraps to dry flat overnight and then throw them in the dryer for 30 minutes on medium heat to full the fabric.  I know my dryer and my fabrics; I like the look of the finished garment.  If you try this, please do a test run first and please don’t blame me if your wrap felts.  It’s definitely a trick for the bold and not one you want to try first on an expensive yarn like this.


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