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Rick Mondragon,
It’s summer 2016, and the world is beginning to focus on the Olympics in Rio! Many of us will be watching the contests, cheering individual athletes, and celebrating national wins from the comforts of home. Fortunately, we can transform miles of yarn into fabric as we watch.

Shape Up with Shawls

Shawls are popular knits. Whether they are simple and straightforward or complicated, they can be as captivating as any spectator sport, but without the stress of ever-changing scores and leads.

With each of our shawls you start with a few stitches and build to many, and you can easily stop short for a smaller version or continue for added size. The rows may be mindless knits in garter and stockinette or rhythmic repeats of knits, purls, and yarn-overs, where you can chant a mantra to keep pace. Whatever the case, we offer five options for your pleasure.

Caribbean blocks begins with 16 stitches and one simple block, then grows into a checkerboard of squares combining garter with stockinette, forming a half-square shawl. It is finished with a border that wraps the two longer sides; the gradient of color falls in bias stripes across your body.  

The more conventional triangular shawl silhouette builds outward with center and selvedge increases on right-side rows. This provides two ever-growing triangular panels on either side of the center, just waiting to be filled with stitch patterns—intricate or otherwise. Morning mist uses a gradient yarn and begins with stockinette that transforms into a lace section and ends in a simple garter border. Golden patinas is a series of bands of faggoting, interrupted by garter and completed with a saw-tooth border.

Cresent & arch is a deceptive pattern—it, too, is of triangular construction. Begin with a few stitches, then increase generously at the edges only. The multiple increases on right-side rows and single increases on wrong-side rows fill in the body of the shawl, while the selvedges restrict the edges—hence the resulting crescent silhouette, formed without any interior shaping. The faggot lace is easy—always pair the yarn-over with the stitch to its right for the pattern to work. It takes a little vigilance to keep on track, but should you forget a yarn-over one row back, you can “feel and see the difference,” easily pick up the strand between the two adjacent k2togs in the row below, place it on the left needle to recreate the yarn-over, and then proceed!

Knit, knot, net offers an afghan, also with faggot lace. This time the lace is interrupted by cables set within a seed-stitch frame.

Coordinated couples

Twin sets in knitting were once the rage; now we pair them differently than just as cardigan and shell. Our Lady in red starts with a car-wash skirt, comprised of garter strips joined to a stockinette yoke, and ends with an upside-down raglan top.

Three different yarns worked in alternating thick and thin stripes can create an interesting fabric, but the addition of strategically placed increases and decreases Torque & Twist them. The mix of those yarns, with their slightly different fiber contents, offers variants of sheer and opaque, as well as some slight gauge differences within the fabric—adding deeper interest to the look. Add the matching one-piece panel skirt to either top for a complete ensemble.

Top scores

Whether for work or play, a lovely hand-knit top will beat a T-shirt any day. The simplicity of Salted caramel will have you dressed in no time. Knit in the round to the armholes, then split and increased for the sleeves and slash front, this silhouette is a classic. Worked with a tweed yarn and a simple lace pattern, you may get a little bias, but so slight no one will notice. Go ahead—take a bite!

The fabric in the Diamond-T shines, thanks to the content of the yarn, but the trim silhouette and the picot hems and collar make this a class act, ready for a day of serious business. Slightly more romantic, Buds & wings keeps its modernity with a square neckline, hi-low split hemline, and cap sleeves.

Turn a corner

Miter lovers unite! A maze 'n miters is amazing! Stair-step joins place solid stripes next to L-shaped miters, creating an asymmetrical flow of color across the body. The front and back are identical, so no matter how you wear it, it looks the same. If you have never tried miters, you might be thinking of shying away from this, but our step-by-step presentation makes it pretty simple and accessible. Add a Twist of lime to a striped pullover and savor the results. The mitered front yoke defines the look, with a supporting cast of texture at each color change.

Don’t underestimate the power of layers when the generous proportions of Mint cooler enter the field. The unshaped front panels of the tunic-length vest leave the leaf motifs uninterrupted. Or maybe go for a more body-hugging option with Bells & pulls. The linen cardigan merges the Asian influence of the kimono with the western influence of the cardigan, adding a double button closure.

You don’t need to be an Olympic-quality knitter to create the pieces from this issue—you just need the courage to get started and proceed. Nothing beats the feeling of success! We all win, and who really wears those gold medals, anyway?