I started knitting Sensibility Shawl, a free download pattern from the Graywood Designs website, because I wanted to try a lace pattern using HiKoo Concentric,a 100% alpaca yarn that comes in a 200 gram cake.
I chose the color “Trixie” that moves from a soft raspberry to deep gray to a hint of pink to pearl gray. One of the draws of Concentric is the nice long color gradients that occur with a gradual subtleness.
I started knitting from the center of the cake for no special reason other than I like the raspberry color, and, to be honest, I was just a wee bit curious about how the cake would hold up over the long haul.
After one entire pattern repeat of 30 rows (there are 9 repeats total) the shawl is coming along nicely. I’m using a US #9 Addi Click needle, the kind with the long lace tips. Those tips are helpful for ease of performing the K2tog and SSK operations which are essential to lace knitting. The pattern calls for a US #10, but a shawl is just a wide scarf, so the gauge is relative. I have the shawl on a 32″ cable and that feels comfortable for the width.
I wanted to see and feel how Concentric is when it is blocked. So I ran the lace knitting off onto a holding strand and soaked it in Eucalan. I rolled it in a towel and spread it out on a flat surface to dry. The alpaca fibers became even softer, the stitches settled in and the knitting looks wonderful.
I find that I need to concentrate a bit more on this project. I’m used to really rolling along when I knit, but anytime that I have yarn overs and K2Tog, I need to slow down. From time to time, I will see a stitch formed from three strands and not four. Then I have to look for that errant loop and set back onto the needle. So both the lace knitting and the Concentric are making me be a more careful knitter, something that is certainly rewarding for me.
So, in summary, Concentric knits up soft. It blocks well and holds the shape of a lace pattern. It requires a bit of watching. The color gradients are an absolute delight to watch as they change color within a few rows. It is a fascinating yarn that should turn into a lovely shawl.