Grandmother of Invention

Thank you everyone for you kind words about my grandfather and your suggestions for a project for my grandmother. Several of you suggested Clapotis, and I’d considered it myself, but I’ve made 3 of them already, not to mention designing a matching hat. I wanted to do something new. However, I have been toying with ideas involving dropped stitches for a while, and I was home sick on the couch despairing that my Tivo didn’t have enough Law & Order reruns for me to watch, so I let my mind play with dropped stitches for a while.

I thought about how I could turn Clapotis into a triangle shawl, maybe by working the inverse of the pattern halfway through. And I ruminated on that for a bit while amusing myself with Samuel L. Jackson on Jon Stewart…

Eventually, I wandered upstairs and dug out my rough draft yarn. I grabbed some needles and worked out this:

Not bad for a start, but I wanted to make the stockinette sections more interesting, so I drew on a couple of techiques I learned during a dropped stitches class I took at Stitches West and added cables:

I liked that. And I started thinking about yarn. I thought I needed a lighter yarn to keep the cables light. I thought it would look good with some Koigu. Pretty yarn, but not overpowering to the pattern if I got a single-tone colorway. And then I looked at the clock — 5pm! The LYSs close at 6pm! Hurry!

I had my doubts about my closest one, but well, it’s the closest one. They never have a decent sock yarn collection. Or rather, they favor variety over quantity. So I found some Lorna’s Laces I liked, some Artyarns, and even a nice Trekking. But they only had enough of any one to make one pair of socks. And I knew I’d need a lot more than that.

It was now 5:15 and I knew that if I really wanted Koigu, I only had one option. The store that usually has a ton of it. And making it there would be tight. I used my knowledge of rush hour traffic patterns and short cuts and a handy street map in the passenger seat to make it there in record time. I squeezed my small Civic into a ridiculously tight spot between two SUVs and dashed into the store at 5:59pm. Fortunately, they had a few other customers and didn’t seem to be in a rush to close.

Faced with about 2 dozen colorways, I quickly zeroed in on exactly what I wanted. A mix of muted blues with a hint of purple. And I grabbed all that they had just to be safe.

Returning home, I had some dinner and settled back in on the couch to swatch up what I had to see how it would look in the yarn. Further, I had to do a gauge swatch, because my particular plan of attack has me casting on every possible stitch and decreasing down to one. So here was my first in-yarn swatch:

Not bad, but I didn’t like how the 2×2 cables were so small as to be invisible. So I did a little more math and reworked it with 4×4. And got this (to give you a sense of scale, the top of the triangle is about 12 inches long) :

I experimented a bit with handling the cables at the edges and in the center. All details that you can’t really see in these rush photos. And I have a few more changes I’ll make when working it to further improve how the cables come together. And yes, I’ll chart it out while I’m working on it in case anyone else wants to take Clapotis to the next level.

So, after I finish packing without toiletries tonight, I’ll do a little more math and cast on 600 stitches or so. I probably won’t bring my full knitting kit, but I will be working this on my new Options needles, so I’ll make sure to start on my long cable and pack the shorter ones. Don’t know what kind of net access I’ll have while away, because my parents don’t have Internet (still not sure if they’re civilized), but I will bring my camera and document.


  1. Deb:

    It’s simply lovely!

  2. Kathy:

    The shawl will be absolutely lovely.

    Have a safe trip. I look forward to seeing your pictures (I’m a native of Northern Michigan and miss the ‘ole home state.)

  3. cori w:

    sorry to hear about your grandfather. you are so sweet to think of a knitted bit of love for your grandma. i LOVE what you have going on, that’s awesome! i can’t wait to see it full scale and i’ll be one of the ones looking for the chart when it comes out! LOVE IT! have a safe trip and keep us updated!

  4. Bron:

    My sympathies regarding your grandfather.

    Your shawl will be stunning! I know it’ll bring comfort to your grandmother. What a lovely idea.

  5. Trish:

    I’m so sorry to hear your grandfather is not doing well; I’ve recently been through times like that myself, and I know how hard it is. Making a shawl for someone in need is comforting to both the person receiving it, and the person making it.

    I just discovered your blog, and I think your work is lovely. Thank you so much for the wonderful clapotis notes. I love your swatches for the triangular clapotis, and I can’t wait to see the shawl. I know just how you felt, rushing to the yarn store before it closed! Welcome back to Michigan.

  6. Charity:

    Completely wonderful shawl idea! I am so impressed, both with the idea of cables/triangle shawl/dropped stitches, and the amount of preparation you put into this new project.

    I’m so sorry to hear about your grandfather. My sympathies.

  7. wanda:

    You are so talented. Your clapotis notes are a lifesaver as I am a novice knitter and have just begun to restart my clapotis after getting to row 8 section three-crashing and burning yesterday. I’ve no idea what went wrong, but this time,I’m starting over using your notes. Your new take on the Clapotis is very cool. Best wishes to your family.

  8. keri:

    I love the way the cables are interspersed through drop-stitches, how fun!

  9. Chris:

    That’s lovely! Thanks for sharing the design process, too. I actually have a drop stitch cable sweater in my UFO pile - I’m drawing a blank on the name right now.

    I’ll be thinking about you as you head to your parents’ house…

  10. Elspeth:

    That Jon Stewart was hilarious! And I’ve seen all the Law and Orders thanks to A & E. Really. I had a list. Great shawl!

  11. Vicki:

    Such a great idea! The cables are lovely and that color is perfect.

  12. Virginia:

    Those cables with the dropped stitches are a great idea. Reminds me of struts between gossamer wings.

  13. Sonya:

    So sorry to hear about your grandfather. I hope you have a safe trip home.

    I love your design ideas and color swatches for the shawl, and I can’t wait to see a finished project.

    Detroit, MI

  14. Lucy:

    that is lovely! I loved the clapotis, which I am wearing right now but that is super duper pretty! I will be watching this space

  15. Stacey:

    That is so neat - your grandmother will love it! I love the stubstance of the cables against the laciness of the dropped stitches!

  16. Evelyn:

    So sorry about your grandfather. The budding shawl looks absolutely lovely. I love seeig your process with the photos. I can’t wait to see what you come up with.

  17. knitnana:

    Wow, that’s lovely! Can’t wait to see more…

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