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Trail Runner

Trail Runner is a triangular shawl knit from the top down using two skeins of fingering/sock weight yarn. The textured fabric features natural elements that can be found while out hiking in the Pacific Northwest.

Our oldest child has always been happiest outdoors. Even as a baby, stepping outside was the quickest way to get her to stop crying. She can spend hours entertaining herself with nothing other than the plants, trees, rocks, dirt, and water that she finds around her. Naturally, hiking has become one of our favorite activities as a family to get her outside to expend some of her endless energy running up and down the trail, exploring all that the beautiful Oregon forests have to offer. This was the inspiration behind Trail Runner.

Trail Runner is knit from the top down, starting with a garter tab that blends into the garter stitch border that continues along the top. Using exclusively knits and purls, the fabric is covered in textured designs of trees, mountains, leafy vines, and moss–all of the things you are sure to find while out on a nature walk in Oregon. Finishing with the stretchy Icelandic bind off, Trail Runner is one of those shawls that is incredibly easy to wear with any outfit. Optional tassels give the tips a little extra weight and length to keep it in place.

A close up of Ashley's upper back and shoulders. A green shawl with textured patterns resembling mountains, leafy vines, moss, and trees, is draped across her back and shoulders.

Solid or semi-solid yarn is highly recommended for this pattern since all of the design elements are created using knit/purl textures. The shawl itself uses approximately 620 yards of sock/fingering weight yarn, with an additional 40-60 yards for the optional tassels. Trail Runner is one of those rare knitting patterns that looks just as good in synthetic fibers as it does in protein fibers since the textured fabric does not rely on heavy blocking.

The sample was knit using Magpie Fibers Swanky Sock, 400 yards of MCN goodness per 115g skein in the “Tactical” colorway. I absolutely loved knitting with this yarn. It is so incredibly soft and squishy, with a high enough twist in the plies that I didn’t find myself splitting the yarn at all while knitting. The finished shawl feels wonderful next to my skin and has the right amount of warmth to be worn most of the year. If you would like to support a wonderful small business, I highly recommend purchasing your Magpie Fibers through my FAVORITE local yarn store, Knotty Lamb, located in Forest Grove, OR. This shop is absolutely worth the 45 min drive each way from Portland.

A budget friendly alternative that still has the qualities of a MCN blend yarn can be found in KnitPicks Capretta Superwash, which is also an 80/10/10 Merino/Cashmere/Nylon blend. They are sold in 50g skeins, so pay attention to the yardage and be sure to order enough skeins to finish your entire project. I have not personally knit with this particular KnitPicks yarn, but have heard nice things about it and have loved all of the other KnitPicks yarn I have used for projects on a budget.

Lastly, tassels. Tassels seem to be one of those “you love them or you don’t” things. I typically do not like tassels on my shawls and this is the first time I have added them to a pattern and liked them. Since the shawl itself is quite understated, I did not feel like the tassels took it over the top like I typically feel when adding them to shawls. The solid color of the shawl and tassels made the tassels seem more of an extension of the shawl rather than a gaudy embellishment (sorry tassel fans). The extra length and weight also helps keep the shawl perfectly in place while moving about, preventing the constant need to adjust it as is typical with triangular shawls that have most of their weight pulling the shawl straight down. Since there will be enough yarn left over, I suggest making a tassel using your favorite method and attaching it to one side to compare what the shawl looks like with and without a tassel on a tip. If you need a quick tutorial on how to make a tassel, Martha Stewart has a photo tutorial here that gives you the basics. I used a book to wrap my yarn and a tapestry needle to attach the tie on ends at the top of the tassels to the tips of my shawl, hiding the ends own the center of the tassel after securing it to the shawl.

As always, I can be reached at if you have any questions, or as @craftslayerpx on Ravelry and Instagram! I would love to see your finished shawls, so feel free to tag me or use #trailrunnershawl when posting photos on Instagram.