The Garter Scrap Shawl.

Gather up your soft yarn scraps, coordinate the colors, and get ready for an easy go-anywhere knit! This bias-knit garter stitch shawl consists of two extremely simple lines of instruction, and about three stitches total. It’s a free knitting pattern, though it’s simple enough that you might think of it more as a recipe. Either way, I hope you enjoy!

I have some mixed feelings about my color choices on this one. Photos seem to not do it justice, but the deep colors and the desert colors sometimes clash. I’m not sure if I can blame the May snowstorm’s effect on the light, but it would be convenient.

The Garter Scrap Shawl can be knit in any yarn, at any gauge. My sample is shown in worsted weight, mostly Malabrigo Yarns Washted and Rios, in part because the surplus of loosely-related yarns and colorways left over from the Dog Days series is really what inspired this project. (It’s also the reason I wanted to share it with you—it ends up being a pretty nice-looking simple shawl.) But it would look brilliant in light sock yarns, too, and a finer-gauge project would make a better travel knit.

Materials:
500+ yards of miscellaneous scrap yarns. (The sample shown took about 700 yards; the result is a nice big blanket shawl that weighs about 338g.)
1 long circular needle in US7-8/4.5-5.0mm, or size needed for gauge, or size needed to suit yarn.
Tapestry needle for weaving in ends.

Gauge:
Gauge is the great unknowable. You can knit this at any gauge; please choose needles that give you a fabric you like with the yarn you’re using. (Garter will expand a lot, though, so that’s something to keep in mind.) Gauge in the sample shown is 16 sts and 36 rows in garter stitch before blocking.

Measurements:
Knit until shawl reaches desired measurements. Sample measurements are shown in the simple schematic below.

In worsted-weight yarn, increasing to a final total of 167 sts, the shawl is about 78”/1.98m across the longest side. It’s almost a perfect triangle, but the shorter sides differ by 2”, something that could probably be lessened by careful blocking.

Abbreviations used:
k—knit
m1r—make 1 right.
p—purl

(I really wasn’t joking; there are three stitches, if you count the increase as a stitch.)

RS/WS—right side, wrong side.
sl1–slip one. Sts are generally slipped purlwise unless otherwise specified.
st/s—stitch, stitches

Begin Work.
Using the cable cast-on method, CO 4 sts. 
Row 1 (RS). sl1, k remaining.
Row 2 (WS). sl1, p1, k remaining.,
Row 3. sl1, k to last 2 sts, m1r, k2 (1 st inc) 5 sts.

Repeat Rows 2 & 3 until shawl reaches desired size, finishing with a completed WS row. The bindoff edge is going to be long. Please make sure you have enough yarn left to work the basic bindoff: sl1, k1, psso, [k1, pass previous st over] until all sts have been consumed. Weave in ends and block lightly.

Gratuitous Notes:

  • If you’ve got enough yarn to equal about 2.5x the current length of the (non-compressed) current row, it should be enough to knit a complete row.
  • When changing yarns, change them on the right side of work to avoid dotted-line garter stitch effects on the front. It is a shawl, so I mean, the reverse side is probably going to show, but if you like having a side without any dotted-line stripes, this is something to keep in mind.
  • If you’re working with small scraps, and don’t like weaving in ends, consider using them in as part of a fringe instead. If you join all your new scraps on the RS, all the ends will be on the bottom right edge of the triangle. 
  • If you’re working with larger scraps or just dislike fringe, consider going completely crazy and weaving in a few ends as you go. This is sometimes regarded as playing with fire, but if you like how the shawl is coming along, it might be a good time saver, or insurance against spending an hour on the yarn ends when it’s finished.

There are lots of other ways to use your yarn scraps—you could use about 3.25 full skeins of Malabrigo Washted in coordinating colors, use this formula as the base for a temperature shawl, or knit it in a big skein of handspun.

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