Both Sides Now, backstory

I started designing Both Sides Now last winter, even before the Knit Picks call for submissions for a brioche collection.

This was from January 2019. I knew I wanted brioche, and a half-pi shawl.

February 2019: I played around with some stitch patterns. The little round leaf pattern didn’t thrill me, and I cogitated for days on how to make that twig pattern bend to my will. Once I figured it out, I contacted Knit Picks to see if they had more of these colors. Nope, discontinued. But they sent me some glorious blues to play with.

I was playing with this at Crafty Moms weekend in March last year.

There was definitely some trial and error and learning curve involved. And then there was a call for submissions for a brioche collection. Perfect! I was halfway there already!

When I blocked and photographed the shawl, I discovered that there really was no wrong side. Both sides looked great. Voilà, Both Sides Now.

I found it fascinating that the twigs on RS and WS faced opposite directions, down and up. And when you look at it closely, the lower sections look like light veined leaves between dark outlines on the RS (left half), but they don’t look that way on the upper section of the WS. Clearly, it’s not an exact reversal of color and texture.

Usually KnitPicks writes their patterns for MC and CC, but I requested that we use DC and LC designations (dark color and light color) because I wanted to make sure those lower veined leaves were reproducible. They’re especially nice if the yarn colors are very tonally contrasty.

After I finished the blue shawl, I went back and finished the purple version as a shawlette to see how far the yarn would go. I used almost every last bit of yarn, one skein of each color.

The leaves show up really well here, too. Instructions for both sizes, shawlette and shawl, are in the pattern.

Here’s the Knit Picks sample, same side as the purple above. In the top section, the light colored twigs point downwards. With less tonal contrast in the greens, the leaf veins in the lower section don’t pop as much as they do in the blue and purple versions. Still very pretty, just different.

This was a lot of knitting that I couldn’t show you last year! Now all has been revealed.

For a chance to win the YO: Brioche Knits ebook, visit the first Both Sides Now blog post and leave a comment there. I’m drawing a name at the end of the weekend. Good luck!

10 responses to “Both Sides Now, backstory

  1. Beautiful!

  2. This shawl is so gorgeous. Eventually I’ll have the skill to knit it. Until then I’ll just drool over it.

  3. It;s a big project for an ancient – I’m sure you’ll claim it isn’t ! – but one I long to get stuck into, Michele. “Release the kraken !”, as Liam Neeson ordered in that awful film .. [grin]

    • It was a big project because I knit it twice! Well, even more than twice, when I was trying to figure out how to make it work.

      As for the film, I missed it! Probably not a big loss…


    Beautiful! Tres jolie!

  5. That really is such a gorgeous design! Thanks for sharing your design process – very interesting!

  6. Wow that’s gorgeous!

  7. Michelle Ochsendorf

    This is absolutely stunning!

  8. Honestly, I think this is the prettiest item I’ve seen from you. I don’t know brioche. I tried it once but you really are becoming a ninja at it with this one. Bravo!