I LOVE (yes, all capital L-O-V-E) Melanie Berg's shawls. They are really beautiful. How she plays with textures and colors is really remarkable and the finished product is a sophisticated, modern wrap/shawl that is really easy to dress up or down. They are fresh and fun yet elegant and mature. Just as the colors often present surprising juxtapositions, so do her designs. LOVE them.
With that said...this shawl took me an absolute age to finish. I thought it was going to be one of those quick knits that take a casual month of knitting- I was wrong. I do not mean to scare away any tepid knitters out there, it is not a complicated pattern, nor would it take an exorbitant amount of time to complete if you were not working on twelve other things at the same time. It is actually what I would call a zen pattern- once you get the gist of what you are doing, you do not have to think about it too much; you can just enjoy the experience of knitting. However, it is knit in a fingering/sport weight yarn and it a full-sized shawl. Those two things made it take longer than I expected, but I just did not pay close enough attention and should have known better.
The construction of the shawl is really fun. With the stripes all being the same 18 rows but growing in length and the addition of the eyelet wedges, the shape is asymmetric and funky but the drape is very nice on the body. It has a natural curl to it that lends itself to wrapping around your neck and staying in place. The wedges are created with short rows, but they are the least fussy short rows I have ever seen. You simply knit to the indicated spot and then turn your work and knit the other way- no wrapping, no picking up stitches on your next pass. See, no fuss. Working a short row in this way would typically create a little hole or gap in your knitting, but since this is an eyelet wedge, the little hole created fits right in to the texture of the knit. Very convenient. Ms. Berg, you sly fox, you.
I made this particular shawl for my mother as a Christmas present, which is why I chose the green color palette with a splash of wintery white. I used the Brown Sheep Company Lambs' Pride Superwash Sport, which I reviewed some time ago, which can be seen here. I really like the finished feel of the shawl, it maintains the flow of the design but has a sort of durable feel to it that suggests it will last through many wears and keep my mom's neck nice and warm. (Bonus: It can be washed.) It might be a little scratchy for some people's taste, but it really softens after blocking. And when I say scratchy, I do not want to suggest it feels like someone's five o'clock shadow rubbing against your neck- it's just not as soft as, let's say, merino.
Summary: I really love this shawl. It was an easy and straightforward pattern with a great result. It is very appropriate for a knitter who has the basics under their belt and wants a new challenge. However, it is not boring for a seasoned knitter to tackle, either. I guess that's part of the wonder and miracle of Ms. Berg's designs. Do not make the mistake I made and think it is a quick knit, though!