An Open Letter to Andrea Mowry

By Ann Shayne
September 6, 2021

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56 Comments
  • Just last week I decided to make this for my daughter. Can’t wait to get started!

  • I made this a year or so ago. It was fun to knit and is even more fun to wear. Your versions are so different from mine but just as beautiful.

  • I do believe Harold Walowitz is a big fan of dickiesWore them on every show of BBT. I share your love for the magic of Andrea’s Shift patterns. I made the Nightshift and loved discovering what would happen next…it was definitely a case of one more row knitting! It even won the Judge’s Choice blue ribbon for spinning at the Maryland State Fair. The cowl is next on my list. Thank you for another fun to read letter

  • Loved knitting mine, I may make another!

  • My English pen pal sent me the pattern and yarn to my home in Colorado. She had yarn for herself and we knit this cowl together across the miles. Was so much fun!

  • The second one you are knitting will look awesome with your new pink Destination sweater!

  • I’m making the Nightshift shawl but set it aside for the summer and other knitting, can’t wait to get back to it.

    • Several years ago I knit two of these after falling in love with Spin Cycle yarns. Fun indeed!! Keeping one for myself to wear in the cold PNW winters was the smartest thing I’ve done with my knitting. Cozy and just gorgeous. It is truly a brilliant pattern. Andrea is a national treasure.

  • Going on the record strong for dickies. They’re trending. Or maybe pre-trending. Love your Shift!!!

  • I love love love this pattern. You reminded me of how fun it was to knit and now I want to make another one.

  • Minutes before reading this, I was gathering up my small collection of skeins and oddballs of Dyed in the Wool to make a Shift “sometime soon.” Now it feels eerily predestined!

  • I loved this pattern. Made mine last year, and this year there are Christmas gifts for family and friends.

  • I love your humor! Your letters are so fun! Thank you! I will look into knitting that pattern….

  • I had thought of making this but after reading this I will get to it sooner. She’s an amazing designer and we honor her talent.

  • I have never knit 4 of any pattern, but last week I purchased yarn to make my 4th Shift cowl. It is so fun to see the colors blend and appear. Love this awesome pattern! Thank you, Andrea!

  • So tempting! This looks like one of those magical combinations of yarn and project that lead you along like a garden path.

  • Yes, it is such a fun one, isn’t it?!? And yes, I did have a collection of dickies back in the day! An accessory ripe for a comeback. I mean, what better way to use leftovers?

  • I’ve made two, and I think at least one more should be in my project list. It’s definitely a fun knit. I love Andrea’s patterns and have made several shawls and sweaters.

  • Ready to start one very soon – looking forward to discover how the colors play together

  • I’ve made two. It’s an ingenious design and watching the colors play together is so much fun.

  • I love mine-I should really make another one…they’re so much fun to knit……

  • This is also one of my favorite projects and I plan to knit more! My color strategy—log onto MDK, pick three skeins I like and that related by each two having a similar/common color. It worked and I agree it was so hard to tell what exactly you were doing until it all makes sense in the end. I also got good advice in one of the Drea Renee Knits forums about how to order my colors. But I think it would’ve worked equally well to just go for it.

  • How timely, this is my Labor Day weekend project! I’m using solids but already planning another with color changing yarn…

  • Oh Ann, that pic while wearing all of those hand knits at one time, as if it were only natural. How droll! Your shift cowls are lovely. I am liking your idea, if late, to use colors that aren’t your normal “go to’s”. It’s a shift that creates new adventures in one’s personal knitting.

  • I loved knitting my Nightshift shawl and your letter invited me to experience spin cycle yarns in Andrea’s cowl design. I’m smitten, too. Your letter is such a heartfelt celebration of how we can support one another inspire one another and remind one another of the goodness we share as creative humans on beautiful planet earth! Thank you

  • I love the look of all of these patterns but am so intimidated by “bias shaping”,
    Mattress stitch” and “mosaic knitting” that I haven’t attempted it.
    They’re all gorgeous!

    • If you can knit, purl, slip a stitch, and make a simple join, you can do this. I wear, it’s the easiest pattern ever! Anything that you find intimidating has a zillion explainers available on YouTube. (You can learn ANYTHING on YouTube!) I’ve made three of the shawls; the cowl is a breeze! Go for it!

  • My grandmother used to knit me v-neck sweaters with dickies. I was not a fan. As an adult, I appreciate their ability to act as a convertible top for a sweater. But as a 4th grader, they were extremely uncool. And as an adult, I’m glad I live in Florida m—the land where dickies are totally impractical

  • ❣️

  • I am almost done with the shawl version. I don’t want to finish. I love this yarn! It never gets boring. I’m addicted to Spincycle now.

  • Loved it a s knitted two of her Nightshift

  • I happen to be knitting a shift cowl at the moment. It’s my favorite: quick, unexpected (each time!) and an impressive gift.

  • I would really appreciate an article about how to pick up where I’ve left off: I started this gorgeous SHIFTY SWEATER , by Andrea, during our Covid lockdown but set it aside last spring when things opened up a bit. Now I am eager to get back to it but am frightened I will be lost amid all the BIG BLIPS and LITTLE BLIPS . Only halfway thru the yoke, how do I “get back in the saddle”? HELP.

  • I made this two years ago for my grown daughter and she still says it is one of the most favorite things I have EVER knitted for her. It turned out spectacularly and if I knew how to post a picture, I would! 😉 I recommend it highly as a fun knit with amazingly gorgeous results.

  • Saw this knit up at a shop in Friday Harbor, WA and fell in love. It’s in my Favorites on Ravelry and now I will get the yarn and just do it!

    • And I love dickies with a crewneck sweatshirt. Hide the wattles, I say!

  • Dear Ann
    How does one go about choosing colors for Shift? Totally different? All the same color family? Just the knee you love that don’t necessarily look pretty sitting side by side. Three colors; IT SHOULD. OT BE THIS HARD
    KATE in Oregon

    • Hi Kate! I’m only into my second Shift, but it seems like high contrast is a good way to go–if you get too matchy with the colors, they blur together. Of course, it’s a very beautiful and subtle blur, so that’s totally a way to go if you’re not into a lot of light-dark contrast or color contrasting. The ten jillion projects on Ravelry show you literally thousands of Shifts, so it’s fun to study them.

      https://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/the-shift/people

      Also: some people have used three skeins of one color of Dyed in the Wool to excellent effect. The yarn itself shifts so much that it looks beautiful with one color.

      Have fun!

  • I love mine! But it took me forever to get the pattern going—once i got it, about halfway through, it was a fun knit. I don’t think of it as a dickey—it is a pre-wrapped scarf.

  • I made the Shift a couple of years ago, before Covid when I could go to my LYS and work on it while visiting with other knitters. It was such a fun knit and it’s what got me back into knitting after taking a break for several years when I was busy doing things with/for my teenagers. I made mistakes, but I didn’t care because it was just for me. I’ve been knitting other patterns but this reminded me that I have the yarn for making a second shift. I guess I better start another WIP!

  • I made the Nightshift Shawl last winter, but I used solids. The Shift is calling me and I do have 2 skeins of Spin Cycle stashed away.

  • I happen to be in the middle of knitting the cowl, so fun and easy to knit in the evening with TV. I knit a shift shawl a few years ago for a friend who was moving(to another country). For the shawl I used 2 skeins of Noro, less ends to weave on. I alternated the skeins for each section just to mix it up more, it came out great and I was able to have it all knit, blocked and packaged within a month.

  • I am not one to knit something more than once but this pattern is so much fun I have made three and have yarn to do a few more! They are great gifts and are so much fun to knit that I would happily knit a dozen more. Thank you Andrea!!!

  • This is so beautiful, but I’m not a cowl or shawl wearer. Is there a hat pattern available for this yarn?

    • Definitely Check out Fatima Hinds’s Stellar Dendrite hat pattern on ravelry. I’ve made two of them, and each uses only one skein of dyed in the wool. Super fun cable pattern, really great.

    • There is Andrea’s hat pattern, Shifty— it uses the same mosaic knitting. I made mine using a solid as the background and spincycle for the “blips”. A joy to knit!

      • Shift is the sweater not the hat.

    • Andrea did make a hat pattern to go with the shift cowl, shawl and sweater. It’s called The Shiftalong, Evelyn Mellichamp. I love mine!

  • Thank you for the reminder about the Shift and Dyed in the Wool yarn. In fact I had most of the colors you suggested and can’t wait to start not one, not two but three shifts for Christmas presents. Since the pattern is pretty easy, the magic will be in the colors! I love, love color work. I especially like it when you love someone else’s genius ideas and get to copy the colors

  • Absolutely beautiful

  • In total agreement with everything in this article. I had my daughter pick the colors because I usually play it safe with neutrals. She picked fuscia, a variegated green and a variegated orange from Malabrigo. I was apprehensive but can I just say I LOVE IT! It’s one of my favourite knits, (so fun!), and one of my favourite colour combos. The whole thing was a joy from beginning to end.

  • I made the Nightshift with bits and bobs of lots of yarns, many of them were spincycle. I agree, one of the most fun knits ever – watching the color shifts led me to hold out my own knitting and say ‘wow’ many times!

  • Andrea Mowry is one of my favorite designers. Her patterns and color combos are a surprise, and make me think of colors and patterns I would never use before. Wouldn’t mind a book for MDK with her name on it.

  • I love my shift. Made it a year ago. I agree with all your comments. I’ve been thinking of making another one…

  • I am currently knitting a plain beige sweater which will be so handy and is from the most beautiful of yarn but I cannot wait to cast on all the colors of the Shift, of which I have the yarn ready….

  • Welcome to Club Shift! I have made five of these — mostly shop samples that get bought up by wayward non-knitting tourists at our LYS in Jackson Hole. Can’t wait to meet you at the Marl-O-Ganza end of the month!