A Poem for Your Shoulders: Blossom Stripe Shawl
It’s a brand-new day, and we are overjoyed—finally!—to share Dee Hardwicke’s designs for MDK Field Guide No. 25: Botanica with the world. Over the next few days, we’ll share each of the projects, like new babies—pointing out the parts we love particularly and don’t want you to miss.
The botanical theme of this Field Guide will come as no surprise to lovers of Dee’s art. Flowers and plants, woodlands, parks, and wide-open, wild nature—are always at the heart of a Dee project.
In our first conversations, Dee was bursting with curiosity about the nature that surrounds Ann and me, in Nashville and New York, far from Dee’s home in the Welsh countryside. Those conversations ranged over everything from beach huts, to the sanctuary of elm trees in Central Park, to one of Dee’s favorite books, Italo Calvino’s Marcovaldo: Or the Seasons in the City. We had no idea where this exuberant conversation was going to take us, but it was a joyous ride, a pleasure in itself. Eventually these ideas and others worked themselves out, deep in Dee’s imagination and in the works of art she casually calls her notebooks.
Months later, when Dee presented us with her vision for this Field Guide, we gasped. It was all there, for all of us to explore, to enjoy, and to knit.
I’m especially fond of today’s featured design because it’s not only a beautiful piece of knitting—it’s a dashing accessory to wear every day, with anything.
The Blossom Stripe Shawl starts with a favorite shawl shape, a wide deep triangle shaped with clean edges. It has bold, irregular stripes that beg to be wrapped around the neck in a jumble, and then: an unexpected burst of stylized colorwork.
Here’s a surprise: the Blossom Stripe Shawl is knit flat, back and forth in rows.
You know what that means, don’t you?—it means working the even-numbered rows of the Blossom Stripe chart in purl. Remain calm: it’s just one stripe—just 21 rows of the chart.
And also: it’s not hard. Think of this as a new addition to your stranded colorwork skill set.
I love the woven look on the back:
Have we got bundles? You betcha
My mind is whirling with color possibilities for the Blossom Stripe shawl. The choice of palette can put this accessory in different spots on the spectrum from understated to rich to downright jaunty. Which colors, though?
To give you a one-click option, we’ve made two colorways of the Blossom Stripe Shawl bundle. The first is Dee’s beautiful original colorway, which unexpectedly mixes warm pink and red with cool blues:
And for something completely different, MDK’s premier palette picker (Allison Volek Shelton) got to work, and she came up with a bright, mellow alternative in tones of blue and yellow:
Each bundle contains seven skeins of MDK Atlas in the colors shown. Just pick one—you really can’t go wrong.
For me and the Blossom Stripe Shawl, it was love at first sight, and it will be one of my first projects from this Field Guide.
Can I get it done in time for swanning around in Rhinebeck in October? Don’t bet against me!
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