Pattern: the Chinese Kites Shawl

September 2014 155Chinese Kites was originally printed in a UK magazine last year. Rights reverted to me around the start of this year and I just added "release CK" to my massive to-do list. You know what those lists are like; they are a big black hole and no matter how many boxes you tick, that list just keeps getting longer.

Then I realised the shawl is perfect for teaching a lot of things.

I use it when I teach beading techniques because it has optional levels of beading, uses one specific technique (the crochet hook method) and there are reasons why you cannot use other methods. I use it when I teach crochet because it has an optional crochet cast (the pattern includes a knitted cast-on too) and people often don't realise how effective an easy crochet cast-off looks when knitting lace. Finally, I use it when I teach lace knitting and lace shawls. I explain the construction and the design decisions involved in the shawl.

Basically, Chinese Kites is a fun shawl to knit - and it is very pretty too. So many students has come up to me and asked where they could buy the pattern, and that's when I decided I needed to move "release CK" to the very top of that big, scary to-do list.

The shawl is inspired by a a photo of competitive kite flying in the Chinese region of Weifang. I saw it at a photo exhibition and the explosion of colours and forms stayed with me. I began thinking about how I could translate this image into knitting and this is the result. September 2014 157 There are a lot of triangles in this pattern - that was a big design decision for me. There are five different types of triangles.

1) The shawl is one big triangle

2) and that big triangle consists of two smaller triangles

3) then you have the big triangular 'kites' flying around the border

4) on top of a field of small triangles

5) and, finally, the crochet border blocks into a neat row of small triangles

(that's how my design brain works, folks)

The shawl is knitted in a luscious, luscious BFL 4ply/fingering from Eden Cottage Yarns. I wanted a rich, deep and dramatic jewel colour and Vikki of ECY came up trumps with her Fuchsia colourway. It is an incredible semi-solid - it doesn't look it in the skein, but it shimmers subtly from one shade to another when you knit. I was deeply impressed.

(Psst, you can actually see the shawl 'live' at the ECY stall at the Ally Pally show this week)

The low-down: The Chinese Kites Shawl is now available to download for £3.00 It uses between 400 and 430 yrds of 4ply/fingering yarn (watch your gauge) 4mm needles / 0.75mm crochet hook (for beads) / 4mm crochet hook (for crochet cast-off) You'd need between 0-500 beads depending upon your beading preferences Difficulty level depends upon whether you decide to use beads and/or the crochet cast-off.

I still have a backlog of previously released patterns but I swear I'm working through them as fast as I can (whilst also working on new patterns). Hope you'll enjoy knitting Chinese Kites and that you'll have fun choosing colours.