The Downton Abbey MKAL 2015 is Here!

Hello everyone! It’s Downton time again! Are you so excited? I know I am! _MG_0538_1200_300

So you may be wondering about this year’s KAL and while I can’t divulge too much info about the design itself, I can give you specifics about the MKAL and more details on the special Lorna's Laces color I created especially for the design, Edith's Secret.

Here are the basics:

This year, you may notice that the pattern cost is $6 for the KAL. I know we didn't charge for the pattern the last two years, but there are several reasons for the change. JBW has always been very generous in allowing me some time to work on the KAL as part of my regular workload. However, because of the size this KAL has grown to, I spend on average 20-30 hours per week just working on KAL related stuff. Roughly 20 of those hours are outside of my regular 40 hour per week job at JBW (it's like having a second part time job!) We both agreed that it would be better for both of us, for me to be compensated fairly for the time I put in, thus the decision was made for me to begin charging for the KAL design. As a result of us now charging for the KAL pattern, I've been able to dedicate much more time to creating a more streamlined and user-friendly KAL experience for you all. (ie. making each week's clue a printable PDF, having someone professionally tech edit, providing charts in addition to written instruction, etc.) Overall, we think you’ll enjoy the changes.

Additionally, we’ve made the pattern available through the In-Store Pattern Sales program here on Ravelry so that LYS’s can purchase this pattern for their customers and participate in the MKAL.

Those of you who are new to the Downton Abbey MKAL this year, welcome! Here is how our MKAL works:

1) The MKAL will begin on Sunday, January 4th, 2015, when the first Episode of Season 5 of Downton Abbey begins airing on PBS in the US. Each Sunday morning (by 10am PST) the new clue for that week will be sent out via e-mail & Ravelry message. The KAL pattern will be broken into 7 clues.

2) A short info sheet with gauge/swatching information will be available to download when you purchase your pattern. Feel free to swatch to your hearts content in the meantime.

3) This year’s mystery project will be a shawl. (The mystery is not in what the garment is, but in the design itself. The first year we didn’t tell anyone what they were knitting and a lot of folks thought they were knitting socks instead of fingerless mitts. As you can imagine, it caused a lot of confusion when it came time to add thumb holes.)

4) This shawl uses 2 skeins of Lorna’s  Laces Solemate in 2 different colors. I have designed a special Lorna’s Laces limited edition color inspired by Downton called “Edith’s Secret” that is available only at Jimmy Beans Wool. The shawl uses one skein of “Edith’s Secret” paired with one of five different complementary color options (Farwell, Buckingham Fountain, Grand Street Ink, Old Rose, or Manzanita.) Here are photos of the options to help you decide:

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You can find pre-made kits at Jimmy Beans Wool that include a download code for the pattern at 50% off of the Ravelry price as a thank you for shopping at Jimmy Beans. Of course, you can also use Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sock or any fingering weight yarn you would like for this project. Using the Lorna’s Laces yarn is NOT required.

*Please note: You may purchase any two colors of Solemate or Lorna’s Laces Shepherd Sock for this project and still receive the pattern download code at 50% off through Jimmy Beans. If you would like to do so, please include the following note in your order notes: “Please add download code for the Downton Abbey KAL to this order. I understand that will it will increase my order total by $3.” Or, call Jimmy Beans Wool directly to place your order and let them know you are participating in the KAL.

5) This project is an intermediate level project. However, there will be plenty of help available throughout the KAL in the Jimmy Beans Wool Group, so even if you have never knit a shawl before but have gotten beyond the basic knit & purl stitches (ie. you can do increases & decreases) you should be fine. We'll help you brave! :)

6) The KAL will be hosted as usual in the Jimmy Beans Wool group on Ravelry. All of the Downton MKAL threads will be labeled: DAMKAL2015 with the corresponding clue # after it. There will be separate threads for pattern discussion, general chat, show episode chat, and photos (spoilers.) Feel free to head over there now to begin the pre-KAL chat!

7) All pattern updates and new clues will be sent each week as an e-mail and Ravelry message. All of these PDFs can be saved in your Ravelry library for safe keeping. This means that each clue will be ready to go in an easy-to-print format, unlike years past when they’ve only been available in a blog post. This should simplify the process for everyone. At the end of the MKAL you will receive a file containing the complete pattern.

Mystery KALs are a ton of fun. If you've never participated in one before, this is a great one to do because the atmosphere is light, fun, and the group is always helpful. I think this year's Downton MKAL is going to be the best one yet! I hope you'll join us!

Happy knitting, Kristen