This is the groove shawl by Westknits, and I made it for Dave for his Christmas. I was speed knitting towards the end and didn’t finish it it til Boxing Day, oops. It’s taken ages to get pictures for various reasons. We were going to take some outside on our errants, but then the weather turned horrible so that wasn’t an option. So I made Dave pose by the window instead. The photo taking was then almost immediately highjacked by first Bertie, then Milo, with some interesting results.
Anyway, this pattern is a free one out of knitty, and it’s one of Stephen West’s earlier designs. I really like his older stuff, it’s interesting without being weird, and I like that he made shawls for men a thing.
I’m less of a fan of the more recent stuff, which is all neon colours and a bit style over substance with elaborate photoshoots involving lots of hair and make up and basically doesn’t give you any idea of what the designs would look like in an everyday setting. And some stuff that no one would ever wear, like knitted leggings and hotpants. I’ve heard him described as the Lady Gaga of knitting designers and that seems about right.
I’ve also heard that the quality of instructions isn’t the best, like jumpers come in one size and it just tells you to go up or down needle and yarn sizes for bigger/smaller sizes. I’m no expert, but I think fit is a bit more complicated than that. There’s also a jumper with a panda on the front where the pattern for the panda bits is just a picture of a panda and the instruction to improvise stitches. So basically just a plain jumper then, which given that the pattern is called Pandamonium is pretty cheeky.
Anyway, I have no experience with the newer stuff and no problems at all with this one! The instructions are detailed and clear and it’s a great pattern for me, with a good mix between brainless and interesting. The main body of it is garter stitch, which I love (so squishy!), with cables at regular intervals. The shaping to make the moon shape is pretty clever too. The buttons look good, but are not strictly necessary as Dave never wears it with the buttons done up. I’m not quite sure how it’s worn buttoned up in the pictures that go with the pattern, cos ours isn’t long enough to wrap it around all the way and then do it up. It’s sort of like a little cape if you wear it that way round and don’t wrap it, which I’m not sure anyone would really. Definitely not for a man.
My one real criticism of the pattern is that like the Colette Albion, it wildly overestimates the amount of yarn required. I have half of what I bought of the dark colour and almost half of the light colour left, so 100% over again. It’s pretty annoying, cos it was expensive yarn too, Debbie Bliss Blue Faced Leicester bought at full price (Dave picked the yarn himself and he does know how to zone in on the most expensive item in any shop or on any menu. It’s a special talent) and it’s not the colours I would wear myself and not soft enough for baby knitting. I guess I’ll find a purpose for it eventually!