Copernicus shawl

This is Copernicus. A shawl so named because. ¬†Because. Because of something having to do with “the first person to formulate a comprehensive heliocentric cosmology” of our solar system. So says Wikipedia. No, that must not be right because I’ve seen paintings of Copernicus and I’ve not seen him wearing a shawl. The Copernicus shawl is so named because. Because. Because something about it would have bothered the Vatican back in the 1500’s. No, probably not correct on that theory either. Best not to ponder the “whys” of modern-day pattern names.

Copernicus is Tanis Gray‘s lovely worsted weight heavily cabled rectangular shawl. A digitized version is available on Ravelry. Gray’s pedigree as a knitting guru is impecable. Her Ravelry profile explains that she’s a¬†former yarn editor at Vogue Knitting, Knit Simple, Knit.1, Yarn Market News and the Debbie Bliss magazines and was co-editor of Knit.1. She writes that she’s “fairly certain knitting is the best thing in the world.”

Gray’s pattern calls for a worsted weight that will knit up at 14 stitches and 22 rows over 4 inches, in stockinette. That gauge wouldn’t happen for me with the workhorse Patons Classic Wool I’d set aside for Copernicus. But, undaunted, I just knitted on size 8 needles–a good choice for this wool–until I ran out of yarn. With about 100 yards more than the pattern called for, my Copernicus turned out to be 51 inches long and 22 inches wide–longer and skinnier–than Gray’s.

There’s an unusual technique used for the two borders. It worked, but I was skeptical. You knit the center panel, knit the two borders, then pick up a zillion stitches on the length of a border and an equal zillion on the corresponding length of the center panel, then do a three-needle bind off. I’d probably just knit the borders as I go if I knit this again. Even with a fairly aggressive block, the borders are flipping forward a bit. But, particularly near the neck, the flip becomes a fairly nice design feature. It looks a bit like a collar.

Michigan has turned chilly. There’s a nip in the air. More than a nip actually. We’ve already had a 38-degree evening. Soon it will be time to turn the furnace on. For now, a comfy warm shawl like Copernicus is perfect.