Rad Batad

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When my dear friend Corrie @corriekingsley asked if I’d like to join her in knitting a Batad, I was all in. I had seen many posts of flashy and spectacular Batads on Instagram, so I needed little convincing.

The Batad is a unique, welt-filled cowl pattern by West Knits. Welts are tubal sections of stockinette that are created by folding the knitting over itself and knitting a row of stitches together with the corresponding stitches at the base of the stockinette on the purl/reverse side. Think of them as sections of I-cord worked parallel to the fabric at regular intervals, which is contrary to the perpendicular orientation of the I-cord bind-off. The video below demonstrates how to work a welt:

My Batad is knit with Woolen Boon Boon Classic in the colorways Commando and Dirty Chai. My feelings for stripes are bearable, at best, and since the welts give off a stripey appearance I decided on a fairly neutral color route to play down the stripes a degree or two.

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The Batad is composed of nine welts and nine short row sections and ends with an I-cord bind-off. For my Rad Batad I knit only eight welts and short row sections before calling it a day. Not only do I prefer the eight sections to nine for a cowl, but by Welt No. 8 I was simply gassed on welts. I have friends who have suffered nightmares from those welts. It’s no joke.

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The camel tone of the Dirty Chai colorway matches my Fringe field bag perfectly and has got to be one of the richest browns in the universe. It’s like a golden chocolate. It doesn’t get any better than that!

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This small project results in a light piece for combating the frigid indoor conditions set by my husband and other merciless beings who collaborate with the AC every summer. I think it will also be quite ideal for fall. To view my Rad Batad project page on Ravelry click here. Go ahead and knit yourself one!

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Ugh, my hair is such a humidity wimp…

The Eyeball Shawl

Is there anything better than a gigantic knit eyeball? I say no!

With one quick glance we all know it’s a West Knits pattern. Like most all of Stephen’s patterns the Eyeball Shawl is bold, eccentric and brilliant–did I say eccentric? In fact many of his patterns are a bit too eccentric for me, simply because I don’t like to dress in a way that calls attention to myself. Slap a neutral-colored knit over my body, and I will gladly fade into the background. That being said, I thoroughly enjoy working with bright colors and striking patterns, and perhaps one day I will burst from my shell in a massive display of color. Baby steps.

 

Yarn selection for this shawl was tricky. The pupil and iris are the focal point (pun intended) of the shawl, and I wanted them to contrast with each other but also coordinate with the white of the eye in a pleasing way. I did a great deal of color research and ultimately decided on the following yarns for what I consider to be the perfect eyeball trinity (from left to right): Old Rusted Chair Sock in “Blue-Eyed Floozy”; Woolen Boon Boon Classic in “I Heart Lisa Frank”; and LITLG (Life in the Long Grass) Fine Sock in “Stone Collector.”

Aside from the entirely (and delightfully) in-the-round construction and beauty of this pattern, the Eyeball Shawl called to me as more than a mere shawl knitting project. I have always been fascinated by the eye as a symbol, and knitting a colorful, jumbo eyeball was an opportunity on which I could not pass.

Never bend your head. Always hold it high. Look the world straight in the eye.

–Helen Keller

I find these words astonishing. How did Keller’s blindness increase her vision, rather than abate it? Doubtless her disability taught her that the eye is much more than an organ for absorbing the images around us. The eye conveys how we feel. It cries. It laughs. It can even glower. The eye is the window to the soul, the lens to the mind; it is a powerful transmitter of who we are. As has probably been said before, almost as much can be seen from the outside of the eye looking in as from the inside looking out.

Keller’s words resonate strongly with my teachings to my children: Be confident. Face reality. Communicate how you feel. Be true. All of these things are important because they define our relationships with the people in our lives. Nothing could be more meaningful.

Now–while I think this shawl looks amazing draped and blinking over the shoulders–do I wear it, or hang it in my living room to watch over my family? Decisions…The all-seeing knit shawl–that’s a first!