LMB Designs Blog

Noro Shawl KAL: Week 1
by Lisa
on 08/08/16 05:55 am
by LMBDesigns on 08/08/16 5:05 am
Categories: Knit-Along Tags: noro shawl knit-along kal

Congratulations to Patti Tschaen, the first KAL Giveaway winner! She'll receive a beautiful set of Limited Edition Ann Tudor stitch markers.

After weeks of anticipation, today’s the day we kick off the Noro Crescent Shawl knit-along! Commence the trumpet fanfare!

This shawl, which is featured on the cover of issue 8 of the Noro Knitting Magazine, is worked from the bottom up in a stockinette pattern, starting with a lace heart border followed by short rows that form the crescent shape.
Each KAL post will start with an overview that outlines what we’ll be learning and working on for the week. You should read the “review” section before working on the corresponding “action” section of the pattern. At the end of every KAL post, you’ll receive information on where to post your progress and questions, see this week’s giveaway, and get a preview of next week!
This is the longest article of the KAL, as there is a lot to go over in the beginning of the pattern. Let’s get started on our shawl adventure!

Week 1 Overview

    • Cast ons
    • Calculating how much yarn you need for a long-tail cast on
  • ACTION: Cast on
    • Pattern tweaks to create a smooth edge
    • How to read lace chart patterns
    • How to use stitch markers
    • Tips for keeping track of the row you’re on
    • How to make a S2KP decrease
    • How to slip the edge stitches
  • ACTION: Work rows 1-28 of the pattern



Cast Ons

Because we are going to block this shawl very aggressively, your chosen cast on method needs to be stable and firm but also stretchy.
One cast on method that I don’t recommend is the backwards loop, or “ewrap” cast on, created by simply wrapping yarn loops around the needle.

Many of you may be familiar with the knitted cast, which is created by creating a knit stitch and then transferring it back to your left needle. This is a good cast on, but it creates an “open” or “holey” looking edge, so I don't recommend it for this project.

A long-tail cast on creates a firm but stretchy edge. You can watch how to do this cast on here: 

If you tend to cast on tightly, you can use a needle two sizes larger than the pattern calls for to help keep your stitches loose. If you do this, don’t forget to switch to your pattern needle when you start the first row!

Calculating how much yarn you need for a long-tail cast on

Here are three good methods to help you figure out how much “tail” yarn you will need to start the long-tail cast on:
  1. Wrap the yarn around the needle once for each stitch: For this pattern, you need 223 stitches. If you wrap the yarn around your needle 20 times, then measure that length and multiply by 12, it will give you enough “tail” for 240 stitches. Always add a few extra inches before making your slip knot to have enough tail to weave in at the end.
  2. Calculate three times the width plus 10% of the piece: The total length of the shawl will be around 52 inches. So this calculation would be: 52 x 3 = 156, 10% of 156 = 15.6 (rounded up to 16), 156 + 16 = 172 inches.
  3. Use two balls of yarn (or each end of a single ball): Tie the two ends together and place over the needle. Cast on the required 223 stitches in addition to the tied end loop. After all stitches have been cast on, cut one yarn and use the other to continue your project. Undo the tied ends and leave to weave in later.


Cast on now.



Pattern tweaks to create a smooth edge

Since publishing the pattern, I have fine-tuned the pattern to make the edges of the shawl neater. Feel free to follow the pattern as originally written, or make these changes on your copy:
  • Change the instructions for the symbol “slip 1 wyif” to be “slip 1 wyib on RS, slip 1 wyif on WS”
  • Change the last stitch on Rows 20, 22, 24, 26 (the very last column on the right) to be knit on RS and purl on WS. (Since you are on a WS row, you will purl these stitches).

How to read lace chart patterns

Each box on the chart represents a stitch. The numbers on each side of the chart indicate rows. Any numbers along the bottom of the chart indicate stitches.
In the Noro Shawl chart, the first row is read from right to left. This is why the number “1” is written on the right edge of the chart. Row 2 is the next line up, and read from left to right. On this chart, all odd-numbered rows are read from right to left, and all even-numbered rows are read from left to right.
If you look at the Stitch Key, there are symbols indicating what type of stitch to make. Note that the key may indicate doing one thing on the right side, but something else on the wrong side. For example, in our pattern, an empty box means that you’ll knit on the right side, and purl on the wrong side. Rows 1-19 of this chart are done in a stockinette lace pattern. This means that all odd rows, which are right side rows, have a pattern based on knits (knit stitches including K2tog, SSK, and yo) and all even rows, which are wrong side rows, are purled.
Now look at the red lines. These indicate the pattern repeat. In this pattern, you would work the first row as follows:
Reading from right to left, following the first row, work the first 6 stitches as indicated. Work the next 10 stitches between the red lines. Because this is the pattern repeat, you would continue repeating the same 10 stitches between the red lines over and over (from right to left), until you have 7 stitches left on your needles.
So, if you cast on 223 stitches, you will work the first 6 stitches as written, then repeat the 10 stitches between the red lines 21 times (210 sts), then the last 7 stitches. Before you start to work Row 1, see the next section about using stitch markers.
You would then work Row 2 of the chart from left to right by working the first 7 stitches, and then the 10-stitch repeat 21 times, and finally the last 6 stitches of the row.
Note that charts tend to look like the lace pattern that you’re creating. Yarnovers are typically symbolized by an “o,” which resembles the eyelet hole created by making a yarnover.  K2tog, which is a right-slanting decrease, is written with a right-leaning symbol, and an SSK, which is a left-slanting decrease, is written with a left-leaning symbol.
Because the chart is viewed as if you’re looking at it from the front (right side) of the work, a purl stitch on the right side is symbolized by a dash, resembling a purl bump. On the wrong side, an empty box is used, which looks like the back (or smooth) side of the purl stitch.

How to use stitch markers

Since you will be working a pattern repeat many times (21 in this pattern), it is helpful to put stitch markers between each repeat to help keep you on track. For this pattern, you will need 22 stitch markers.
On the first row, place a marker after the first 6 stitches (if you’re using Ann Tudor’s special limited edition collection markers, put one of the flower markers here). For each of the next twenty 10-stitch repeats, place a marker (her set includes 20 beaded markers for this). After the last pattern repeat, place one more marker (the remaining flower marker).

On each row, slip each marker as you come to it by putting your needle through the loop of the stitch marker on your left needle, and transferring it to your right needle. You should have just completed the tenth stitch of the repeat before you slip the next marker. On rows 1 and 7, make sure to create the yarnover before slipping the marker. If you come to the marker before finishing your repeat, you know you’re off in that repeat. Similarly, if you finish your repeat and still have stitches left before the next marker, you know that you’re off.


Tips for keeping track of which row you're on

The chart for the border of this pattern is worked over 26 rows. Here are some tips to help you keep track of which row you’re on:
  • Use a “chart keeper” or “pattern holder”.
    • Some are magnetic, with long magnets to put over the current row you’re working on. I like this one from Knit Picks.
    • I also love these portable ones from Chicken boots, which use an elastic band to keep track of your row.
  • Use removable highlighter tape that you can move up row by row. (This tape is 1/2” wide. It’s helpful if you can find narrower tape for smaller charts.)
No matter which method you use, put the tracking tape/magnet on the row above the one you’re on, so you can see all of the rows you’ve completed below your marker.

How to make a S2KP decrease

This decrease takes three stitches and turns them into one stitch. Since you are decreasing two stitches, this is considered a “double decrease.” It’s also a “centered” decrease, since the resulting stitch doesn’t look like it’s leaning in either direction.

To make a S2KP decrease:
  1. Insert your right needle into both of the next 2 stitches as if you’re knitting them (like you’re doing a K2tog).
  2. Slip these two stitches off your left needle and onto your right needle.
  3. Knit the next stitch on your left needle.
  4. Insert your left needle back into the 2 slipped stitches on your right needle, skipping the stitch you just knit (like you’re doing a SSK).
  5. Pass the two slipped stitches over the last knit stitch.

How to slip the edge stitches

You’ll notice in this pattern that the first stitch of every row is slipped, rather than knit or purled. This creates a nice smooth edge along the side of your shawl. You can apply this little trick to any pattern where the edges are visible and you want to make them look neater, such as a scarf, blanket, dishcloth, or shawl.
Always slip the stitches as if you’re going to purl the stitch. This puts the stitch on your right needle in the correct direction to work it on the next row.
Note that the original pattern indicates that you slip the first stitch with yarn in front. My tweak, above, suggests that you do this on the WS rows (even- numbered rows) but slip with the yarn in back on RS rows (odd-numbered rows).


Work the first 28 rows of the pattern (the 26 rows from chart plus the next two rows in the pattern directions).

Ask me questions

During the week, if you have questions, please feel free to post them as comments to this blog post or in the Noro Shawl Knit-Along thread in my Ravelry group here.

Share your project

If you’re on Instagram, you can share photos of your shawl in progress using the hashtag: #LMBKAL. Make sure to tag @lmbdesigns.

This week's giveaway

This week’s giveaway is for one set of Ann Tudor's limited edition stitch markers. The lucky winner will be announced as an update to this blog post on Friday, so check back to see if you’ve won!
In order to be eligible for the giveaways, you MUST be signed up for the KAL. To sign up,
click here and select "I am interested in... Knit-Alongs."

Next week

Next week’s post will discuss how to make the short rows for the body of the shawl. If you don’t get the whole border done in a week, that’s okay! Work at your own pace, and I’ll be here to answer your questions as you go.

FAQ for Week 1

1. On row 1 of the chart, should we slip the very first stitch?
No, you don’t need to slip the first stitch on row 1, since that’s the first row after the cast-on. Just knit it, as indicated.


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