Joan is an instigator, and I mean that in the best possible way. How do trends get going around our shop? What prompts people to try something new? Lots of times, “Joan” is the answer (though she’d never want to take credit).
It was Joan, one of our knitting instructors, who first came across Fame Trend Paljett yarn from Sweden’s Marks & Kattens and suggested that we try it. Sequins? You can bet nothing this blingy had ever graced our shelves before. (And here’s your Swedish word for the day: “paljett” means “sequin”—pronounced “pal” like in “politics” and “jett” like in “not yet.”)
Then Joan knit it up as a Wingspan wrap, Maylin Tan’s design on Ravelry. In no time, half a dozen members of our Monday knitting group were making glittering, fluttering Wingspans of their own.
Tan’s pattern shows off the color gradations and bit of sparkle in the Trend Paljett yarn, which is 55 percent superwash wool, 38 percent acrylic, and 7 percent sequins. For the Monday knitters, Wingspan’s series of garter-stitch triangles created with short rows has been everything from relaxing to revelatory.
“This is my Stanley Cup scarf,” says Donna, holding up her version in orangey-pinky reds. She calls Wingspan “mindless knitting,” but in a good way. “I can watch hockey and knit this.”
Karen’s Paljett yarn flashes glints of purple as she rounds a turn on the first of three Wingspans that she’s knitting for friends. Stitch markers in two different colors punctuate her row. “You have a ‘movable marker’ and ‘permanent markers,’” she says, and they’re the key to keeping this pattern easy to work.
Joyce is several Wingspans down the road already and says, “You learn a lot of things just from staying with the same pattern” and knitting it with different yarns. She’s been paying attention to how her changes in yarn weight and needle size change the drape of her knitted fabric each time.
“I’ve learned about short rows,” too, she says. “I never really knew about those.”
What’s a short row? It’s an incomplete row. You turn and head back in the other direction before you reach the row’s end. The result is that there are more rows of stitches on one end of your knitting than on the other. You can shape a neckline or bustline this way, create gores in a skirt, or in Wingspan, shape the triangles. A two-minute YouTube video posted by Cynthia Spencer takes the mystery out of making neat turns for short rows.
There is an even easier way to put on some sparkle this summer: a super simple shawl that’s an adaptation of the Sundae Summer Shawl pattern, a free download on Ravelry posted by Mango Moon Yarns. The pattern is written for a different yarn, but Fame Trend Paljett complements the design well, and the adaptation is easy to make:
Cast on 35 stitches somewhat loosely, but use a US size 19 needle in place of the pattern’s recommended size 17. Knit the first row. Work 49 more rows of garter stitch and increase 1 stitch at each end of each row. Bind off loosely. That’s it—a very fast knit and one that some of the Monday knitters are eyeing as a next project.
By the way, our Monday knitting group is Joan’s doing, too, an offshoot of a class she taught at the shop years ago. Now anyone is welcome to come for open knitting in our cheery, pine-paneled community room, Mondays 1 to 3 and Fridays 3 to 5.