2021 Shawlography Wesknits MKAL Recap

Westknits 2021 Shawlography Mystery Knit Along Recap

First things first, for anyone who doesn’t know, MKAL stands for Mystery Knit Along and the idea is that you don’t know the finished object before you start. The shawl is knit in weekly released clues and everyone who knits the shawl all learn together how the shawl develops in terms of shape, colour play, textures, etc. Stephen West has been organising MKALs for over 10 years. The finished shawls have used as few as two colours and as many as five, they’ve involved every technique imaginable and we all know Stephen has a flair for colour play.


2020 MKAL

In September 2020, I was convinced to join in with the 11th installment of Stephen’s MKAL. With more time on my hand (thanks covid) I was able to fully immerse myself in the instagram community participating in the MKAL. I was able to knit my 2020 MKAL from stash, so it was a joy to join in. The finished item was not something I’d have ever picked to knit, had I seen the final product before starting, but overall I was happy with my completed project. 

Heres a photo of my Westknits 2020 MKAL which was called Slipstravaganza

slipstravaganza shawl

Kit entirely with Botanical Yarns from my stash. You can buy the pattern for this shawl on Ravelry or on Gumroad

2021 MKAL

When the 2021 MKAL was announced, of course, off my feel good vibes from 2020 I wanted to join in. But, I had a lot going on in my personal life (two international moves in 2 months!) and so worried about having the time to join in. But being best friends with Sophie meant my arm was easily twisted into joining in. At the Sweater Weather festival in Farnham I picked my 5 colours (slightly tweaking a kit Sophie had put together) and was ready to go.

5 cakes of yarn with a circular knitting needle surrounding them

My yarn caked up and ready to start!


Sophie of course also joined in with the MKAL. Her colour choices were just a little different to mine. 

5 cakes of yarn with mkal items around

Sophie's yarn caked up and ready to start!


The first clue was released and a few days letter, I hopped on a train to meet Sophie in London. We sat in Soho, drinking wine and knitting on clue one together. This is what I had hoped for when I signed up for an MKAL!



Knitting outside Buckingham Palace.


Sophie and I knitting at a Soho wine bar.

My Cocoknits Makers Keep came in hand when I was weaving in ends on the train!

For me, things took a turn I wasn't loving it when it came to clue two and the 45 mini icord loops. I found these tedious to knit and I just didn't like the overall look of them. This is the risk with mystery knitalongs. But I persevered and kept working. 

My shawl at the end of clue 1.


Sophie's shawl at the end of clue 1.


Clue two was a lot of knitting and I fell behind. My family was preparing to move back to Dubai and I didn't feel like I had much time to knit. Clue two saw us adding more texture in the form of slip stitches, welts and bobbles. The two short row wedges dramatically changed the shape of the shawl. 


Clue 3 saw us given a "choose your own adventure" if you will with a choice to knit a brioche section or to knit what Stephen called a mesh section. I opted for the brioche while Sophie opted for the mesh. However, a few repeats into this section, I decided I wasn't loving mine and I didn't wish to continue. So I decided to go ahead and bind my shawl off early. There are so many beautiful things I want to make and only so many hours in each day, so rather than continue spending my precious knitting time on this project, I called it a day. 

My finished 2021 MKAL. 

Sophie's shawl at the end of clue 3. 

MKAL 2022

Now, will I join in with the MKAL in 2022? That remains to be seen! Did you join in with the Shawlography MKAL? Have you done it before? Will you join in next year?

If you love Shawlography, you can buy the pattern from Ravelry or Gumroad




Nicola xx