Welcome to the World, McMilne Shawl

As I’ve shifted the focus of my work over the past few months from teacher to writer and from part of a team to an independent, there have been loads of moments when I am reminded that I made the right choice for me & my family. There have also been some very quiet moments. I’m a person that does not mind being on my own, but even so there are times when I crave the creative exchange of working as part of a team. I’ve been blessed to find a regular knitting buddy and to get involved in a some projects & events — like the Tour de Fleece & writing for iMake Magazine — that have helped me maintain & develop some crafty relationships.  I’ve been lucky in that the opportunities seem to always arise when I need them most.

Much in this way, a few weeks ago I got wind of a test knitting opportunity for a new Jane Richmond design. I have been on the test knitting ear burn list on Ravelry for a while, but this was the first opportunity that the timing really worked out for me so I jumped at it. I assume tons of people volunteer for these test knits, but I threw my hat in the ring & hoped for the best. Within a day or so I got an email from Jane inviting me to join the test knit group.  I could not have been more excited and I instantly set about the all-important job of choosing yarn.

I really thought this through, probably more than I needed to to be honest. Jane was kind enough to invite me into this test knit & I really wanted to throw in my all.  The pattern used a worsted Superwash Merino from Indigodragonfly. While the yarn was gorgeous, I was pretty sure since it would have to pass through customs from Canada that I would not be able to get it & knit it up in time for the deadline — or at least I wasn’t willing to risk it. I started researching weight to yardage of the sample yarn, seeking a good match. When I search patterns on Ravelry one of the first things I do when I find one I like is look at the ‘yarn ideas’ tab. I wanted to represent a readily available, good quality yarn in a color completely different from the other samples. The more options & ideas on the pattern’s Ravelry page, the more opportunity for appealing to a wider audience of knitters, right?

After some browsing, I finally landed on Sweet Georgia Superwash Worsted. Identical in weight to yardage, fiber content, and based out of Vancouver — home of Knit City where this shawl was scheduled to release — this was the perfect fit. The fact that I knew Jane has used & raved about Sweet Georgia yarns in the past sealed the deal. Not available locally, I hopped on Eat. Sleep. Knit. and — with the help of a friend — selected the China Doll colorway. Bright, eye-popping red. A world away from the beautiful, cool blue Jane used in her sample, this red was going to be an great example from the other side of the color spectrum.

The next few days were agony as my fantastic test knit group — really they could not have been more awesome and fun — knit away while I waited for my yarn.

Then finally…20131030-083833.jpgIt came.


I wound those skeins and cast-on in the blink of an eye.

20131030-083955.jpgI fell in love quickly. Everything about this project was perfect. The yarn. The color. The drape. The pattern.

20131030-084241.jpgI whipped through it. It is so fun & such a quick knit. It’s a big scalene triangle, so once you get in the groove the pattern is almost impossible to not memorize.

20131030-084831.jpgIn both the knitting & the wearing, this piece has such fabulous rhythm.

20131030-084641.jpgThe end result is this gorgeous, drapey, not-too-warm-but-not-too-cold, perfect for everyday shawl. I literally have worn it almost everyday since it’s completion.

20131030-084622.jpgIt even looks great under a coat!

20131030-084741.jpgI told you yesterday that Jane has a knack for designer knitwear that I wear all the time. This shawl is no exception to that rule!

After a couple weeks of keeping this project quiet, I’m so happy to share it with you today. Welcome to the world, McMilne Shawl! You are definitely a keeper!

Many thanks to Jane Richmond for allowing me to take part in this test knit & to my fellow test knitters for making it so much fun!

You can see my notes & projects details on my Ravelry project page.

The McMilne Shawl pattern can be purchase on Jane’s website or through Ravelry.

19 thoughts on “Welcome to the World, McMilne Shawl

  1. Oooo, that is gorgeous! And such a cool experience! Is it difficult to get chosen for test knitting experiences? I always wondered how people acquired those ‘jobs’….

    1. I have no idea how hard it is honestly. I have only ever volunteered for this test knit! If you are interested, look on Ravelry. There are groups & things for test knitting, I think. For specific designers you might be interested in test knitting for — you can see if there is a list that you can add your name to & you’ll get alerts for when there are opportunities.

    2. I used to do a few test knits. some of the more popular designers are difficult to get in on a test.
      the very first test I did though was for a blogger that I just loved and admired and was thrilled to get in on a test for her. it was Kate Davies – the fugue hat and mitten pattern.
      like Sarah mentioned there are test groups on ravelry that you can check out or even check out designer groups and ask the designer if she might add you to the list of people she uses.
      testing can be loads of fun but it is a serious commitment too.

      1. You make a great point – test knitting is a serious commitment. The designers depend on these forums for quality feedback and attention to detail. It is a lot of work & often on a tight deadline, but if you believe in the designer & their success then it can be very rewarding.

  2. Beautiful work Sarah, it’s always a bit of an adventure ordering yarn from far away and then waiting to see and touch it real life!

    ps: I love your old school clipboard and pencil! What a neat idea. I end up with scraps of paper all over the house… I may need to go shopping at the stationery store.

    1. Thank you! I have been primarily buying locally for years and am only now starting to shop further afield.

      I swear by my clipboard method! Totally old-school especially considering I was all about going electronic with my iPad, BUT after some testing I’ve come to the conclusion that nothing beats the ol’ pencil & paper when it comes to jotting notes. This is especially true because I am so often outside or out & about -it’s so simple to throw my clipboard in my bag and then everything is at my fingertips. I find I take much better notes this way!

      Do I get extra ‘old school ‘ props for the non-mechanical pencil?

  3. Sarah thanks for the rave review and of course being a brilliant addition to our testing team (we did have a lot of fun didn’t we!). I love your McMilne Shawl, the colour is stunning – so happy you can finally share it with the world!

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