Color Affection

On our last knitters' tour I noticed in the Show & Share that several people were knitting or had knit Color Affection by Veera Välimäki. For those of you who haven't yet had the pleasure of feasting your eyes on this knitting phenomenon (and if you haven't and you're a knitter, seems you're in the minority with yours truly), it's a truly beautiful thing to behold. The shawl is knit in garter stitch and uses short rows to produce an asymmetric shape.  I immediately made a mental note to look it up on Ravelry and what should I find there, but that it's a knitting prodigy with a dazzling 7,500+ projects on the go!!

Maybe I've led a sheltered life, but the most projects any of my designs on Ravelry have ever managed to rack up is about fifty and that was for Stomp, a fairisle and cable dress in Vogue Knitting a couple of years ago. Even with Ravelry's very reasonable pattern prices, Veera's staggering 7500 sales must have  netted virtually a year's salary for her! Got me to thinking it's a lot easier and more profitable than conceiving, designing, pattern writing and proofing 30+ projects, as I've just done for my next book. So where am I going wrong?
Stomp from VK Fall 2010

I thought it would be interesting to see for myself what it is that's captured the imaginations of so many knitters.  As a general rule I don't do much knitting of other people's designs, as I'm usually too busy creating ones of my own, or at least swatching for them. But a couple of weeks ago I found myself with some time and I decided I'd make a start.

I plumped for the fingering version (other version is lace) as I had some lovely gold Madeline Tosh merino and a skein each of Araucania Ranco in turquoise and deep aubergine. So... yarn sorted I decided to cast on.  I hadn't read through the pattern (very naughty), so little did I realise that the 5 sts you cast on, speedily and exponentially become many many more stitches, till eventually you're knitting across rows of 400+ sts!!!

Thoughts of will I ever finish this and will it become just another UFO certainly crossed my mind as I continued in every odd spare moment with row after row of garter. Then we decided to have a few days away from it all at our home in Mid-Wales and I had the chance to really get cracking on it.
Ready to start the gold border! Colours are pretty accurate,
the alarming-looking red tea is cranberry and apple :)

So at the moment after nearly a week in Wales, I'm about to start the final border which will be in gold.  I found the knit relaxing up to the short rows as I love garter for its easy rhythm and I also get a buzz from seeing how the stripes develop, especially using hand dyed yarns which tend to give extra flashes of organic striping. I find the garter stitch rhythm relaxing - you can get up quite a speed across the long rows.

I'm not a tight knitter, but I soon found that the increases along the top of the shawl were tending to pucker. I googled this problem and sure enough there was a great tip to combat this - just put a yarn over between the first and second stitches and drop it on the way back. Bingo, that one solved!

I noticed many knitters had ripped out their shawl after realising this, but ever the pragmatist, I couldn't bear to do this. I have to put my hand up to being a product as well as a process knitter, and anyway I reckoned that the rows I'd done so far would press out, so I just continued adding the yarn overs from then on.

Another problem was preventing the balls from tangling as I knit the short rows.  This one seems to be a little more difficult to solve, but not impossible if you keep them separate and reassess every two rows.

I only have my set of Addi Clicks with me and I've been using the longest cord which must be about 30in, but I would have preferred an even longer one.  Maybe then, it would have been easier to prevent the yarn from tangling?
 Love this pic of the kitties. After a heavy day mousing,
Arlo's determined to cosy up, Django's not too sure
But I digress... what are the things I've learnt so far about what knitters love about this incredible shawl? Well...
1   It's in garter stitch
2   The 2-row stripes add interest as you knit
3   The short-row shaping isn't difficult to do, with no wraps to pick up
4   Seeing the asymmetric shape develop maintains interest
5   There are four distinct stages of the pattern, giving a feeling of satisfaction when one is completed, plus anticipation of starting the next
6   The pattern is well-written and accurate
7   Virtually no finishing
8   Knitters like asymmetric shawls

If any of you have your own tips, please let me know. I'll post more pics when mine is finally done.
Meanwhile there's still time to enter the giveaway for the ebook of Ann Kingstone's Born & Bred. Just click here, scroll down to the bottom of the page and leave a comment.
PS  All done now and I'm pretty pleased with it, but whether to add the extra yo between the two first stitches remains a moot point.  The designer says not to as the shape of her design is a crescent and needs to curl a bit.  In fact I did mine half and half and I prefer the first half which was worked exactly as pattern and sits just right.

I've been experimenting on how to wear it. The frustrating thing is that it seems to look best when wrapped around my neck a couple of times, but this means that the interesting construction and shape is hardly visible. Any suggestions?


  1. It's taken me a while to get back to this post to comment. It's hard to know just what will take off and become the next big thing in the knitting universe - but I suspect that if you can get the Yarn Harlot to knit your pattern, you are going to sell many, many copies.

  2. Gorgeous colors! I haven't knit this, but have the pattern. I too like NO yarn overs at beginning of rows.
    Looking forward to making Jools!
    Taliana (Roberta)

  3. I love your choice of colors: so vibrant!

  4. hi there is there any way at all you could let me know how to get the pattern. The Ravelry version is only in German and I cant find an English one online anywhere. Im on

  5. Can you tell me what yarn and which colors you used in the version that starts out with lavender, which is pictured on this page at the top. I love those colors. thanks,


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