Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Hybrid Vigour (or Hybrid Vigor)

I have a new Knitty pattern ...

... and it's a Shonsho!

What's a Shonsho? It's a cross between a shawl and a poncho, of course. (and you have to admit, it's better than a Pawl!)
Anyhoo, I've knit a LOT of shawls, and while I do love them, it peeves me a little when the end that I have casually tossed over my shoulder continues to slither back around to the front and drapes, less than becomingly, down the front of me. I can't seem to manage shawl pins either - the pinned end stays put for a while, but eventually that too swings around to the front so that I look like I have a weird knitted tail hanging conspicuously out the front of my shoulder. Maybe I just bend forward too much!
Yes I could have designed a conventional poncho, but I like shawls -  I like their loose, draping ends, I like the asymmetrical lines formed by the edges - I just wanted a shawl that stayed put!
While fiddling around with an old triangular shawl and some safety pins, I realised that I needn't pin the two edges together, I could knit them together, just for a short distance and then disconnect the two edges so they would hang free, just as I like best. And I called it a Shonsho - not quite a poncho, and not really a shawl, but hopefully a better hybrid of both. And that is how Hybrid Vigour (or Hybrid Vigor) came about. 

I knit two of them, intending for one to be knit completely flat, like a regular shawl, but a loud and insistent voice living in my house insisted that she wanted the Shonsho version  - then there would be two, for two sisters who also didn't want to bother with slithering ends.

So the traditional triangular version never got knit, but in case there are any knitters who would prefer a traditional flat shawl, converting it is easy - the only thing you really need to know is to continue working flat until you have 229 stitches then work all the charts as you would a flat shawl. The only chart that requires a bit of extra thinking is Chart A. Currently it is written for working in the round, but to knit flat you just need to understand that the even numbered rows are knit from left to right, not right to left.
If you like the instructions written out, here they are below:

Traditional Triangular Shawl Option
To achieve a traditional triangular shawl worked flat throughout, ignore the instructions to begin working in the round after the first 76 rows. Instead, continue working flat as set for 110 total rows. 229 sts

Work Chart A
Row 1 [RS]: k2, yo, work row 1 of Chart A from right to left to first centre marker (working pattern repeat 4 times), yo, sm, k1, sm, yo, repeat row 1 once more, yo, k2.
Row 2 [WS]: k2 work row 2 of chart A from left to right to first centre marker (working pattern repeat 4 times), sm, p1, sm, repeat row 1 once more, k2.
Work as set until row 22 of chart A is complete.
Work the remaining charts B, C, D & E and bind off as outlined in the pattern.

I deliberately made the stitch motifs relatively simple. Chart C has decreases and yarn overs on both RS and WS rows, but even if you are new to lace, I urge you to give it a go, it's worth it, so you can move on to more complicated lace patterns with MORE lace stitches on WS rows.

Working lace on WS rows as well as RS rows extends the possibilities of lace, and I especially like the way the lines of the motifs are accentuated dramatically when decreases are worked on both sides. To me Chart C produces what looks very much like a fish tail, which flowed perfectly from the previous chart. The optional beads pick out the spine and further accentuate this image.

And if you wanted to know about fit. This last shot at the beach is me, and I'm five foot eight-ish (170cm). The other model is about 5,4 (163cm). Both of us skinny.


  1. What a great idea! I too get irritated when the shawl or scarf I have artfully tossed over my shoulders blows around ( I live in Wellington)! I thought the answer was a cowl but that doesn't have the hanging bits. How would I make this shorter? I'm only 5' and don't want to look like I'm wearing a knitted tent.

  2. Hmm, you could omit the second to last chart, but then you would have to rework the edges of the last chart so that the motifs line up with Chart C. Or omit the last chart - I don't think that would be too drastic to the overall pattern. Or knit the whole thing in fine lace weight maybe, with 3.5 or 3.75 mm needles?

  3. I am an XL how would you suggest I could increase it. Maybe the side panels with extra stitches? The part that joins both front and back?

  4. It depends how confident you are making changes to the pattern. You could add a panel of knit sts up the joined edges. This of course will add sts to each chart thereon.
    Or you could repeat chart D, without changing the overall look of the pattern that much. You will need to re-write chart E so that it slots in to chart D in the correct place - the repeats are both 23 sts and Chart E repeat stacks directly on top of D.
    Or you could knit it in 4 ply (fingering weight) or 5 ply (sport) and use larger needles, but your idea is a good one.
    Good luck!

  5. I love the shonsho! Do you think it would be workable to turn other triangular shawls (particularity more lacy ones, like your Minaret) into one, just by knitting them together after a while and making another spine while flipping the charts for the appropriate rows?

    1. Yes! that would be possible, and easy, especially now Minarets and Lace has a triangular version now too.
      To get the same proportions as hybrid Vigour I would knit the Min and Lace Triangle version flat for 76 total rows. Then join as per Hybrid Vigour (which takes 2 rows), continue with the st st but working in the round for 10 rows, which should give you the correct number of stitches to work Chart A. Work Chart A in the round (which would involve knitting the nupp loops together instead of purling the usual way) and then dividing and working all remaining charts flat. Knit in laceweight this should give you the same proportions of flat and connected (round) sections as Hybrid Vigour.