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Guest post: The evolution of Evolution by Rachel Henry

Our next The Fiber Factor KAL (beginning November 2nd) is the Evolution Shawl by designer and contestant Rachel Henry. She shares her thoughts on the design and yarn selection process in today’s guest post. Be sure to check out all the gorgeous Evolution Shawls that are already posted on Ravelry, pick up your yarn and get ready to cast on! You’ll have a gorgeous FO in time for holiday gifting (or wearing)!

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It’s been more than a year since I received the details of the very first challenge of The Fiber Factor. I was so excited to open the box and get started! The challenge itself was wide open: “Knit Your Life!”  declared the judges. The unassuming cardboard box contained a wealth of gorgeous yarn, and each ball cried out for swatching.

yarn choices

I had already decided that the best representation of my life (or, at the very least, my knitterly life) was a big lacy/textured shawl with lots of complexity and flow. Stitch dictionaries spread around me, I swatched with my first choice yarn: Leinen Los (left). I had a serious crush on that yarn!  Alas, it proved too fantastic in and of itself and the lace pattern could barely be seen. I moved on to my second choice yarn, Unisono right), and found happiness there.

PicMonkey Collage

The stitch patterns I chose for Evolution begin simply and flow into each other with increasing complexity. The shawl shape is my personal favorite: six increases on every right-side row form the body into a graceful curve that is easy to wear and has an appealing flourish.

I made charts and a spreadsheet to track my progress – knitting on a short deadline requires organizational skills and commitment! Each day I knit my scheduled allotment of stitches, and I finished with time to spare.

finished Evolution

I had hoped for a more enthusaistic reception from the judges … if I recall correctly, one of the criticisms was that the color changes of self-striping Unisono obscured the stitch patterns.  With time I’ve come to accept that this is true, not least because I’ve recently re-knit Evolution in a solid color myself. It is much more serene than the vibrant original, and the stitch patterns shine.  I’ll never give up my love of colorful self-striping yarn, I promise, but I have learned that sometimes a little restraint goes a long way.

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