Planting a Garden of stitches

By now, many of you have seen the Nonna’s Garden Shawl. But in case you were wondering, here’s a little insight into how it came to be!

Last winter, we put the final touches on City Tweed and decided that we wanted to make a kit that would feature every color of the DK weight. 14 colors is an awful lot to manage, and it’s unlikely that a garment with that many colors of such heavy yarn would really be wearable! So the decision was made for a shawl. But still – fourteen colors? How exactly do you make 14 colors ‘work?’

It just so happened I was planning next year’s garden at the time (which is now happily growing and green!), and I realized that the colors had a very floral overtone when grouped together. And then – it started snowing. So, stuck at home for almost two weeks in knee-deep snow, here I was looking at pictures of spring flowers and bright colors! It at least kept my mind off of having to shovel the driveway. I got out my pattern inspiration books and got to work.

The overall design of the shawl went through several iterations; some flowers were added or removed depending on how well they ‘fit’. The overall size was determined, then the floral illustrations were laid out over a grid, and I went about the glorious task of coloring all 46,400 stitches in the chart one by one to match the illustration.

One of the biggest challenges was trying to determine in advance exactly how much of each color would be used – especially without having the yarn at hand. As much as you try, it’s never an exact science. At the last minute, I had to move around and re-color about 700 stitches’ worth of Romance, Habanero and Lemon Curd, just to be sure the shawl could be knit with one ball of each! I’ll tell you, it ended up being very close. But, somehow it all worked out, and the shawl was done and on its way.

The hardest part about this, though, was not being able to talk about City Tweed for half a year! Hopefully this yarn inspires you as much as it did all of us. <