I was finally able to get some photos of me wearing Color Affection. I want you to know that it was 98 degrees outside while I was standing in the sun wearing this wool shawl for your viewing pleasure. Blech.
I am not totally thrilled with this project, but mostly because of the yarn I used. There is a greenish cast to both yarns that seems to clash with just about everything I own, except for a couple of things that have prints that don’t work well with the stripes. The yarn is just a medium-grade wool, and is slightly on the scratchy side. It also doesn’t have the springiness to it that a nice sock yarn would have. But that’s what I get for stash-busting, I suppose.
One of the biggest controversies in knitting this pattern seems to be whether or not to modify the pattern to do yarnovers at the beginning of each row, in order to make the top edge looser. At first, it seems like a great idea – after all, why would you want a really tight top edge? And if everyone else is doing it, it must be a good idea, right? But then I started looking a bit deeper, and I started seeing some comments on why you want the top edge to be firm. Mostly it’s because the shape is supposed to be a crescent, and the tight top edge is what creates the shape. If you make the top edge looser, the top edge becomes straighter. That creates several problems: The shawl doesn’t curve around your neck and shoulders as well, and it’s harder to block out the hump that forms at the starting point of the shawl. Also, it makes the shawl stretch out more lengthwise, which means less depth. Also, there’s a bit of a hump where you start the shawl with the first color. If the top edge is curved, the hump is easier to block out and becomes less noticeable. If the edge stitches are loose in that area, it lets the hump rise up even more.
I also noted that Veera, the designer, was apparently not recommending the YOs. It seemed to me that if she thought it was a good idea, she would have said so. But instead, all she said was that “some people like it better with them, but others don’t“. She did also say that it is designed to have a crescent shape, not a straight top edge.
Having tried on someone else’s Color Affection, which was made exactly according to the pattern (no yarnovers), I could see how the tighter top edge really did make it fit better, without having a gaping neckline.
With that in mind, I decided not to do the yarnovers. However, I did use KFB increases instead of M1L/M1R, because I like how they look in garter stitch better. They’re slightly looser increases than the other increases would be. Plus, I deliberately left my edge stitches on the loose side. With all that, mine probably ended up being pretty much like what a lot of people who are tight knitters get when they do the YOs, and I still think my top edge is looser than it should be. In the top photo above, I’ve sort of folded and tucked the top edge in. The photo below shows what it looks like if I just sling it around my shoulders without worrying about the neckline, and it shows the sagging I was trying to avoid:
It doesn’t help that the “hump” ends up right at the neck when worn this way – that makes it even floppier. It’s not awful, but I just liked how the other one I tried on fit so much better.
Also, my shawl had nowhere near the depth it should have had, despite the the fact that my gauge should have made the shawl bigger. I had to block it severely to get it to the depth it is, and it’s still several inches shallower than the pattern dimensions indicate. Is that just because of the difference in type of yarn? Is it because my top edge isn’t as tight as it was supposed to be? Who knows.
On the other hand, some people really hated how tight their top edge came out, and I can see in some people’s project photos that the curve of the top edge was pretty extreme, so I can definitely see why some people are better off with the YOs. I guess for people who are trying to decide whether or not they should do them, it all depends on how tightly they knit their edge stitches in the first place.
I have more thoughts, comments, and tips on my project page, for anyone who wants more details.
The modification to use only two colors worked out fine, though. I just followed the pattern, using the darker color as both contrast colors 1 and 2.
If I were to knit this pattern again, I would use a nice, bouncy sock yarn, and would work my edge stitches even tighter – meaning that I would knit them as I would normally, without attempting to make the edge stitches loose.
It’s a clever pattern, though, and I like the asymmetry.