What is the WestKnits MKAL?
This is a once-a-year worldwide Mystery Knit-a-long (mystery because the pattern is released over the course of 4 or 5 weekly batches, called Clues).
Each clue contains the knitting instructions for the next segment of what turns out to be a large, multi-coloured shawl. The overall size and shape are part of the mystery. There tend to be two camps of participants: those who jump in from the start and enjoy the mystery, and those who wait until all clues are released so they can find multiple examples shared online of projects (both in progress and finished) to help them decide on yarn and/or colour choices as well as possible deviations from and/or embellishments of the original brief. Examples are: replacing one or more 4-ply yarns with thinner ones without changing needle size to create sheer panels, or adding beads.
What do you need to participate?
One month before the launch of the MKAL, which runs throughout the month of October, Stephen West (the designer of the shawl), announces the yarn requirements for the project to give all participants a chance to source their selection of yarns (from stash, purchase or swap). The call this year is for 4 colours of 4-ply yarn, 100gms (350-400m) of each colour. The colours are meant to run from light to dark, either as a gradient within one colour, or as a gradient across the spectrum with just light to dark as a guide. The suggested needle size is (as it is most years) 3.5mm.
What are these kits?
The kits I am offering this year consist of a very small selection of Yak Blend II kits and a selection of Layercake Linen 3-ply yarn.
Yak Blend II is a 4-ply that runs 400m per 100gms so use the 3.5mm needle that is called for.
Layercake Linen 3-ply is my own brand of 3-ply yarn that runs 600m per 100gms, so use a 3mm needle for this yarn and be aware that your resulting shawl will be approx. 20% smaller than the original. WestKnits MKAL shawls tend to be very large, so many people enjoy a smaller option like this. Only choose a Layercake Linen kit if you have experience knitting with linen as it does not give or stretch while working with it so it needs a different kind of muscle memory to comfortably work with it.
What does each kit contain?
Yak Blend II (50% Yak Down, 50% Silk): 8 skeins of 50gms, 2 skeins per colour shown, totalling 400gms - 1,600m of yarn
Yak Blend I (60% SW Merino, 20% Yak Down, 20% Silk): 2 skeins of 50gms of Yak Blend II in Milk + 3 skeins of Yak Blend I in the colours shown, totalling 1,498m of yarn
Layercake Linen 3-ply (100% wet-spun linen): 4 skeins of 70gms, 1 skein per colour shown, totalling 280gms - 1,680m of yarn
Alternative Linen Kits
You can of course choose one of the many Linen Gradient sets HERE. Please note that the gradient kits contain 4 x 25gms, so I suggest you purchase 3 kits to ensure you will have enough yarn to finish the project!