The Red River Wrap

When I moved to central Louisiana almost three years ago I didn’t know anyone except my partner and his friends, and although they were all very nice, none of them were knitters. He knew I would be happier if I had some friends of my own, so he asked around and found The Red River Stitchers, a group of knitters and crocheters who meet at the local college every week. He sent me off to my first knit night with them like a kid going to a new school, he even made sure I had a bag of chocolates to share “so they will know you’re a real knitter.”

Those ladies have since become my dearest friends. They encouraged me to publish my first pattern, the Madeline Shawl, and whenever I’m having trouble with a project they lend me the confidence I need to go on. I call them my PR team and they refer to me as their designer! To show my appreciation for this wonderful group of ladies I wanted to design a simple rectangular shawl pattern and call it the Red River Wrap. The name was the easy part, but coming up with a pattern took a bit longer. It wasn’t until recently that I knew what the Red River Wrap would look like.

One of my knitting friends is a member of The Tribe of Maker Mornings, a group of artists and manufacturers here in Cenla who meet four times a year to share their enthusiasm for making good stuff. I went to my first meeting last week, which happened to be the sign-up meeting for 100 Days of Making, a challenge to all makers to spend 100 days making something and sharing the process with the group. I signed up to design, knit, and publish a pattern for the challenge, without having any idea what the pattern would be. I would think of something.

Herringbone brickwork in Alexandria

When I left the meeting, I crossed the brick streets in downtown Alexandria to the Red River, and looked across at the city of Pineville. I drove home thinking about the project, and spent a few days charting, sketching, and swatching. I chose stitch patterns that reminded me of the trees of Pineville, the brick work of Alexandria, and the churning waters of the Red River. Finally, I wrote this this proposal and sent it to a yarn company to ask if they would supply the yarn for the project. They generously agreed, and I received two lovely skeins of Manos del Uruguay Fino in my mailbox. The colors reminded me of Mardi Gras, and I knew what the Red River Wrap would look like.

Manos del Uruguay Fino

Aside from Boring Gray Socks, everything I’m knitting right now is secret, so I’m excited to have a project I can actually share! First I’ll write the pattern, layout the charts, and swatch until I’m happy with my fabric, then I’ll knit the sample. After I have knitted and photographed the sample, I’ll send the pattern with pictures to a tech editor and I’ll find 5 to 10 test knitters. The tech editor checks to make sure that my math is correct and the charts agree with the written directions. Test knitters might find those types of errors too, but I rely on them to make sure I have a pattern that other people can follow easily. Once they have spotted all my mistakes and I’ve revised the pattern, it’s ready to publish and it will be for sale in my Ravelry Pattern Store.

You can follow the progress of all the makers on Instagram with the #100dayscenla hashtag. Thank you for knitting!