I love a good wrap. A nice wide shawl that I can snuggle into like a great knitted hug is a real comfort, but I don’t necessarily want to look like I’m wearing a blanket. The new Shenandoah Valley Shawl designed by Katharine Malcolm is that perfect shawl! Knit in our Valley Yarns 2/14 Alpaca Silk it is gauzy and ephemeral but amazingly warm and cozy.
The silk give the yarn strength and shine, while the alpaca give it that surprising warmth and a soft fuzzy halo. With a decreasing pattern of cables forming a mountain shaped border at each end and a gentle striping effect of stockinette and yarn overs, reminiscent of the rivers and streams, you get to see the best of the Shenandoah Valley in this shawl, the gorgeous Blue Ridge and Appalachian mountains as well as the James and Potomac rivers. And with the bonus of the incredible yardage of the 2/14 Alpaca Silk being offered on cones you will only have 2 tails to weave in at the ends of this project!
Katharine talked to us about herself and how this design came to be.
When did you learn to knit?
I taught myself how to knit before I was ten years old, a long time ago. The first article I can remember knitting was a woolen turtleneck, shaped, full fashioned sweater with mock cables on the front and the back. I was 12 at the time. In my college years, everyone knit in class. I knit my model train loving fiance a pair of socks with an original train on the side, but never thought of it as designing. The same was true as I knit for my sons and nephews, including whole animal families of hand puppets. It wasn’t until I became a TKGA Master Hand Knitter that I realized that what I had been doing for years was designing. I have been knitting my own designs ever since.
What prompted you to start designing?
I tend to find a design that I want to create in knitting and as I proceed, my ideas grow. That was the case with the Shenandoah Valley Shawl. It started as a project to work on a train trip and as I knit, I did not want it to be the same throughout, so I created the triangles. As I worked the shawl that you see I realized, looking out the window that the color matched the Blue Ridge Mountains. From another window I can see the Appalachian range and the Shawl fit in perfectly. Many of my designs evolve as I knit.
Give us a glimpse into your design process, where/how do you find inspiration?
When I was working towards the Masters Program for The Knitting Guild Association, I decided that since I lived on an alpaca farm, that I would create the yarn for the project. As a result, it was not only an original design for the vest and the long coat, but they were both knit from a one of a kind yarn.
What did you love about the Valley Yarn you worked with?
I loved the feel of the Alpaca/Silk. The silk adds a sheen to the alpaca and I loved working in color. I have been knitting with my hand spun, but none of the alpacas come in Whipple Blue!