I'm running behind on posting about new patterns: in the last couple of months, I've released the patterns for the Fiamma hot water bottle cover (free!), Nerodia Cardigan for Women, and now the Oscilla Wrap, all available on Ravelry, and also the Interweave Knits Spring 2014 issue has come out, with my Zephirine Cardigan and Plumage Wrap. So I will try to catch up with a few posts about the design process for all of those, but for now, I'm excited about the Oscilla Wrap (as is almost always the case with my most recently completed design!):
I designed this wrap at the request of Julia Trice, a very talented designer I have known since around 2007, when she invited me to be part of the Create Along (CAL); my Dayflower Lace camisole was a product of the CAL. Marnie MacLean was another designer who took part...but I digress. Anyway, Julia contacted me about being part of ShaliMarch, a promotion/celebration for the 7th anniversary of Shalimar Yarns. I had never used any of their yarns before, and I was delighted with the Enzo Worsted I used for this wrap: it is a blend of extrafine merino with cashmere and nylon, shows stitches beautifully, holds up well to frogging (yes, a bit of that was necessary), and the "stonewashed" Silver Sage colorway was just how I like it, with enough variegation to be interesting, but not so much that it overwhelmed the lace pattern.
I swatched quite a few stitch patterns for this wrap, before finally returning to one of my faves (something I don't do that often), a modification of the Chinese Lace pattern from one of Barbara Walker's Treasuries. To me it looks quite different when running horizontally instead of vertically!
This generously sized wrap sets a wide lace panel alongside simple stockinette. Increases and decreases sculpt the edge of the stockinette panel, allowing it to echo the natural curves of the lace. Oscilla is a perfect match for lightly variegated yarn: the swirling shapes of the lace pattern soften the variegations, harmoniously merging color and texture, while the stockinette panel reveals them, adding interest to an otherwise plain surface.
Originally I planned to design a crescent-shaped wrap with tapered ends, but then I fell in love with a particular look I noticed in several different photos and store windows: an oversized rectangular scarf, worn with ends hanging free in front and back, and the body of the scarf appearing to have been tossed carelessly about the shoulders, with the upper edge falling in perfect folds around the face and neck.
Of course, this sort of artfully casual style takes a fair amount of fiddling to get it just right, so to make Oscilla easier to wear (and to decrease the bunching and folding along the upper edge), I used short rows to curve the simple rectangular shape so that it wraps around the shoulders. The short rows are grouped into four wedges, which vary in size with garment size, and are meant to lie on the front and back of each shoulder (centered over where raglan seams would be located); this is why the pattern has been written to fit different sizes. However, sizing is quite forgiving, and the ends of the wrap are worked straight, so their length can be easily changed. One end is purposely longer than the other, so the wearer can choose whether to place the longer end over the back, or over the front.
While working the pattern sample, I found that the short row wedges shape the wrap more gradually than a raglan seam, and need not be placed as precisely in relation to the shoulders. For this reason, directions are included for a simplified version, in which the same number of rows is worked straight between each wedge of short rows. In this version, the number of rows was chosen simply to construct a wrap of the same overall length as the main version. However, since the lace pattern is worked independently from the short rows, any number of rows may be worked before, between and after the short row wedges, and an additional wedge (or two) can even be added for a more fitted wrap (OR the wedges may be omitted for a straight rectangular wrap)-- AS LONG AS the final row of the lace panel (before ribbing) falls on a specific chart row (more about this in the pattern instructions). This ensures that the stitch counts on both ends of the wrap will be the same, and the lace panel ends will be symmetrical.
In addition, the width of the wrap can be changed by adding or subtracting an even number of stitches from the stockinette stitch panel, or by adding or subtracting repeats of the lace pattern.
Remember to purchase extra yarn if you are considering a longer and/or wider wrap! See the pattern page on Ravelry for notes on choosing the correct size.