MYSTERY KAL 2022 Q&A in English
We’ve collected some of the most frequently asked questions about MKALs in general and this year’s project and prepared our answers below. Please take a look before starting your project.
It might be a little unnerving to knit a project without knowing the final design or shape, but the anticipation of seeing the shawl come together is one of the most exciting parts of participating in a Mystery KAL!
There’s no need to worry about perfection. Even if you find that your shawl is shaped is a little different than others or the colors combined in unexpected ways, it will be equally beautiful wrapped around you.
In any case, we hope that everyone will have fun! If this is your first Mystery KAL, we hope it will inspire you to savor the creative freedom and malleable nature of knitting!
- Tokuko Ochiai, designer
What is a KAL？
KAL is short for “knit along.” A knit along is an event where people knit a project or projects at the same time based on a common theme.
Okay, so what’s a Mystery KAL？
For this type of KAL, participants knit from a pattern without seeing what the final project looks like, hence the mystery!
For our 2022 MKAL, the only details participants know are that the project is a shawl and four colors of fingering weight yarn will be used.
The pattern will be distributed in five parts, 1 part or “clue” will be sent each week for five weeks. As you work on each part, you can enjoy imagining and anticipating what might be next.
How do I participate?
Purchase access to the pattern through one of our Japan-based online shops:
Can I participate in the MKAL even if I didn’t purchase a yarn set from amirisu?
Of course! Feel free to use yarn you have at home or buy some new special skiens from any local yarn shop. Any fingering weight yarn can be used. (Please keep reading for some of our suggestions regarding fiber.) There’s no requirement to purchase yarn from amirisu to participate in the MKAL.
Can beginners knit this pattern, too?
We’ve prepared video tutorials for important techniques, so even if you’re new to knitting, with a little gumption we think you can do it!
Please note that the pattern is a written pattern, not a Japanese-style schematic pattern.
What if I can’t finish it on time？
No problem! We hope everyone will enjoy knitting at their own pace, we hope participants won’t stress about completing each clue or the entire project by a certain date
That said, since others will be knitting along, it can help keep up you motivated and serve as encouragement to keep making progress. You may be surprised by how fast you complete each clue, or even the entire shawl.
Once the MKAL period is over, participants will begin to post pictures of their completed projects on Instagram, Ravelry, or other SNS, so take care if you would prefer to avoid spoilers.
【About yarn, colors, & yarn sets】
Do you have any suggestions for selecting colors？
There is no right or wrong choice when picking colors, so feel free to pick colors you like.
Here are a few extra suggestions that may be helpful:
・Select colors that contrast with each other
・Limit speckled or highly variegated skeins to 1-2 of your colors. If all your colors have speckles or lots of variegation it will be difficult to see the various motifs and stich patterns.
・If you can pair any of your four colors together for pleasing 2-color combinations, you’ll be in good shape!
Should the fiber content be the same for all 4 colors？
It will be easiest to work with yarns that are mostly made of wool. Yarns that have a mix of majority wool with a different fiber (alpaca, yak, cotton, etc.) would also be a good match.
Should the thickness or weight be the same for all four yarns？
It will be easiest to work with yarns that are basically the same thickness/ weight.
Combining different weights isn’t a problem for the pattern, but it may change the finished dimensions of your shawl. For example, if you have a skein of sport weight yarn that you really want to use, it might be fine to combine with fingering weight skeins.
Can mohair be used？
It may be difficult to work certain clues with mohair yarn. If you want to use mohair, we suggest using it as an additional accent. We do not recommend using a mohair yarn as one of the four main colors.
For the amirisu yarn sets, are there specific instructions for when to use each color？
No, there is no designation in the pattern as to which color in the set should be used for colors 1, 2, 3, or 4. Your shawl will be lovely no matter how you combine the colors!
The amirisu yarn set I wanted has sold out. Will it be made available again?
It depends on the yarn, but it is unlikely that the exact same kits will be available again. If you love a sold-out yarn set, we encourage you to use it as inspiration to go through your yarn at home or purchase individual skeins for a similar look.
Can I change the colors part way through？
Of course! You can switch colors at any time, it could make for a very interesting and unique shawl, too. We love experimenting with color for shawl projects.
Since the story is related to the moon, should I include yellow or another moon-like color？
There’s no requirement (or pattern instructions) to use any moon-inspired colors. Feel free to pick colors you like!
Can I ask for color advice at one of the Walnut Shops？
We are happy to help you at our Tokyo or Kyoto shops. However, the design is a mystery for our shop staff, too, so they are not able to offer any hints or advice related to the final design.
What if I decide midway through that I don’t like the colors I’ve been using?
There are a few solutions we can recommend if you find you are unhappy with your color selection.
- You could unravel your shawl and start over with different colors. There’s nothing wrong with restarting any number of times to make sure you’re happy with the project.
２. We understand that it is difficult to select colors without knowing the final design. If you feel strongly about selecting your perfect color combination, you could wait to start your shawl until the MKAL has finished and you can see the complete design. It’s not as exciting to start after you’ve seen the final design, but if you would like to know exactly how each color will be used, this might be a good option for you.
- You could add in lots of colors instead of using just the original four you picked. If you’re fan of colorful designs like those by Stephen West, we recommend giving this option a try. Adding more colors can bring an unexpected kind of cohesion to the project and will ensure that your shawl is truly unique.
【About the Shawl】
How large will the finished shawl be？
It will be about the size of a shawl made with three 100g skeins. The design aims for a shawl that is easy to use and not too big nor too small.
What shape will it be？
It will be a unique shape, so not a triangle, half-circle, or rectangle.
How long of a cord/ cable needle should be used？
We recommend 24”/60 cm or longer.
Can straight knitting needles be used？
They can be used for Clue 1, but as the number of stitches increase straight needles will be difficult to use. We recommend using a circular knitting needle.
How concerned should I be about gauge for this project?
Since it is a shawl, you don’t need to worry too much about gauge. However, if you only have exactly as much yarn as required in the pattern, you may run out of yarn if your gauge is too different from the sample.
If I think I’ve found an error, what should I do？
Please send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Please be sure to include your order number and full name in the message.
Is there some kind of penalty for not using the MKAL cover image on Instagram or Ravelry？
There is no penalty, and our staff is not able to keep an eye on how all participants share their progress.
However, we appreciate it if participants can help avoid spoilers for other knitters during the MKAL period by using a cover image (like the provided MKAL image). If you are worried about seeing spoilers, we recommend taking care when viewing SNS, just in case.
What is Dropbox？
Dropbox is an online file storage service. You can access a folder or files on your PC, smart phone, or tablet by accessing the URL provided. You can view and download the files without signing up for a Dropbox account.
From September 16, a portion of the pattern will be uploaded to the MKAL Dropbox folder on every Friday for 5 weeks. We will notify participants when the file has been added to the folder by email, so once you receive the email please access the folder to view and download the next clue.