Today’s the day! We’re starting off our Mrs Watson Knit-along today, and you’re invited. If you’ve already got your yarn and pattern, be sure to comment in the Ravelry thread or Facebook event to let us know which colors you’re using! As a reminder, you can use any Berroco, Lang, Amano, James C. Brett, or Lopi yarn for this knit-along.
Let’s get started with the first body pattern repeat and the first leaf repeat.
You start with a few set-up rows. If your pattern is in the printed Portfolio Vol 1, or you have an old PDF (your PDF should say Version 2 in the top right corner of the front page), be sure to check the errata at the bottom of the pattern page. Here’s a photo of my project, a few rows in, showing the “wrong side” of the work with my removable marker in place.
If you’ve never used removable markers, they’re just markers that can be moved around and don’t sit on the needle, in between stitches. You don’t have to buy removable markers—safety pins or even paper clips will work in a pinch. Here’s a quick demo of what it means to move the marker up as you go.
Helpful Tip: To help you keep track of your rows, you may want to write out the pattern rows on a piece of scrap paper, so you can mark off every time you complete one row until you get the hang of the pattern.
After working the body pattern to the specified number of stitches, you’ll pick up your second color and work Leaf Pattern 1, which incorporates short rows. Please note: There is a note embedded in the pattern that mentions picking up wraps—that note was missed when version 2 was created, and should not be there. If you’re reading from the book, please cross out that line. If you’re using a digital pattern that was purchased through Berroco.com or Ravelry, you should be receiving an updated PDF that removes that line by the end of the week.
There have been a lot of questions about the short rows in the pattern, specifically whether or not one should pick up the wrap. Let’s talk a little bit about short rows first, and then move into what it means to pick up the wrap (or not).
Short rows are exactly what they sound like—they’re rows that are shorter than the rest. Sometimes short rows are worked at the end of the rows to create a fan-like effect (such as in the Wingspan pattern, designed by Maylin Tan). Sometimes short rows are embedded in the rows, as they are in Mrs Watson, to create the leaves of the pattern (in the darker color). If you’ve ever knit socks, you’ve likely worked short rows at the heels, either when turning the heel flap or working a short-row heel. Short rows add length to fabric—that’s it.
Back to the pattern—these photos demonstrate how to Short Row 2.
After you wrap that stitch, you’re going to turn your work over. Notice that the yarn is still in the back of the work at this point—that means you can just start knitting, until the next point to work a wrap and turn.
You’ll work these short rows twice more on this side of the center stitch—in the first Leaf pattern, you’ll have one stitch that sits between the two sets of wrapped stitches.
Following the pattern, you work back across the center stitch to work the short rows on the other side. Here, you can see the stitch is wrapped and I’m ready to turn my work again.
Here’s my project after I’ve worked Body Pattern once, Leaf Pattern 1 once, and then the Body pattern again—now I’m ready to work another section of Leaf Pattern 1.
There are multiple ways to work short rows, but the most common and perhaps easiest to explain is the wrap and turn short-row method, as I demonstrated in the images. In this video, Emily demonstrates how to work the wrap and turn short rows in stockinette stitch, both on the right side and wrong side of the work. At about the 1:40 mark, Emily shows you how to pick up the wrap to work with the stitch. Doing this in stockinette stitch hides the wrap, creating a fluid fabric that doesn’t have any wrapped stitches.
To work the wrap and turn short rows in garter stitch, you wrap the stitch in the exact same way as you would for stockinette stitch. The difference is that, because of the way garter stitches stack on top of one another, you don’t have to pick up the wraps—you can just knit “over” them and they blend into the fabric.
In the original version of the Mrs Watson pattern, there’s a note saying you should pick up the wraps. In the revised digital version of the single pattern, we changed that note, because you don’t have to pick up the wraps. As some knitters have been swatching for their shawl, to test their color combinations or make sure they liked the yarn they’d chosen, they discovered that they didn’t like the fabric that they got when they did not pick up the wraps.
So some knitters, when they’re knitting this shawl, will be picking up the wraps in garter stitch. Some of us will just leave them there. The important thing to remember about knitting is that the overarching goal is that you’re making something that you like. If, in the course of knitting Mrs. Watson, you discover that you prefer picking up the wraps, then I encourage you to ignore the pattern (if you’re working from the single PDF) and go ahead and pick up the wraps. Mrs Watson is essentially reversible, thanks to the garter stitch, and picking up the wraps in garter stitch should not create any “bumps” in the fabric that make it less reversible.
If you have any questions as you’re knitting along, please be sure to ask them here, in the Ravelry group, or on Facebook—we want you to enjoy this knit-along!