April 2021

GiselleYarn substitutionOn my needlesThe Wool Channel


So let’s talk about Giselle.

We’ve already talked about inspiration, progress, indecision, and completion. Now that Giselle is available on Ravelry, let’s talk about what it’s like knitting Giselle.

As much as possible, when designing the stole I wanted to make the knitting as easy as possible. Does that sound a little crazy, given that Giselle mixes entrelac and three lace stitch patterns? It isn’t, and here’s why:

Entrelac is just a fancy name for units knit on top of each other. For a basic entrelac unit – like those in Giselle – you pick up stitches from the selvedge of an existing unit. And as you knit the new unit, you attach it to another unit with decreases.

That means you’re only ever knitting one unit at a time. And with Giselle, all the units are always 19 stitches wide. To make the knitting even easier, all the wrong-side rows are plain purl.

It gets even better. Entrelac units are worked in layers called “tiers.” With Giselle, all of the units in a given tier are knit in the same stitch pattern. So, over the course of knitting the four units of a tier, you have a chance to get know – and, dare I say? memorize – its stitch pattern, before moving on to the next tier and its stitch pattern.

Bottom line: I did try to make knitting Giselle’s body as enjoyable as possible, both through the design choices I made and the way the pattern is presented. Of course, if you want to read up on and get familiar with entrelac first, I recommend Gwen Bortner’s Entrée to Entrelac.

Get Gwen’s book

Yarn substitution

I knit my Giselle in Sophisticate by The Plucky Knitter.

It was the perfect choice: soft, warm, with a gorgeous halo. And it didn’t hurt that I happened to have two skeins in my stash.

That said, you might have other yarns calling to you from your stash. By all means, feel free to substitute! And don’t feel like you need to match my gauge exactly. If knitting at a slightly different gauge gives you a nice fabric, so be it! Just be aware that your Giselle will be a little larger or smaller than mine. That’s okay – we’re talking about a stole here, not a fitted garment.

What if the yarn you want to use is a significantly different weight from Sophisticate? Say, a fine laceweight yarn, or a DK-weight yarn, rather than a light fingering? Then you may need to adjust the number of units in your Giselle, to get a stole of reasonable size. That, as they say, is an exercise left up to the reader – but quite doable, I would think, if you’re comfortable with entrelac knitting.

Hmm... do I want to knit Giselle again? One skein is already wound!

However you knit your Giselle, post some pictures when you’re done! Post ’em on Instagram and tag me, or post your projects on Ravelry. I’d love to see what Giselle looks like in other yarns and colors!

On my needles

Have you ever finished a substantial project, only to find out afterwards that you kind of miss it? That you miss the certainty of knowing what you’ll be working on when you sit down to knit? That you can’t quite figure out what to knit next?

Yup, that happened to me after Giselle. None of my UFOs held any appeal. (Duh, that’s why they’re UFOs, right?) I tried swatching novel stitch patterns for a bit – which usually gets my knitting mojo going again – but ran out of steam after just a few swatches. I even scanned through my long-term “I wanna knit this someday” list of project ideas, but sadly nothing clicked.

Flagon stitch, Zopfmuster, and Cowrie Shell Insertion

Clearly, I was in the mood for a project that didn’t require a bunch of up-front decision making. I thought maybe I’d knit a simple garter-stitch wrap in some pretty yarn... but then I realized that project would quickly die of boredom.

Finally, it dawned on me: hats. They don’t require much commitment. Pick the right stitch pattern, and they’re not boring. And you can always give them away.

Bonus: I found I had a surprising amount of superwash yarn in my stash. So until something else grabs my attention, I’ll be knitting hats for my local guild’s 2021 charity project.

The Wool Channel

Clara has done it again! After creating The Wool Channel on Instagram in January, the celebrated author of The Knitter’s Book of Wool, Vanishing Fleece, and many other excellent books has created The Wool Channel community.

This community has multiple elements. On the lighter side, you can sign up for a free weekly email updates “to boost your wool IQ.” If you want to get more in depth, you can become a Foundation Flock member and gain access to monthly articles, Flock Talk Q&A parties, and more.

If you’re at all into wool, I strongly encourage you to check out The Wool Channel.

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