Archive for the “shawl” Category

According to my records (haha) I bought this fibre in the summer of 2018...

Six round balls of spinning fibre sit on a stone countertop. Each one is made up of a combination of dyed fibre and natural browns and tans. They are arranged in gradient order: dark purple, medium purple, and pink on the top row; dark blue, medium blue, and light blue on the bottom.

...and spun it that fall into a gorgeous gradient...

A skein of handspun yarn sits on a wooden table. It is spun in a gradient of medium pink through dark purple and dark blue to light blue.

...which I've now knit into the "May I Borrow This, Please" shawl (available as a free download on Ravelry), and I am thrilled with it. The pattern is well-written, and I knit the whole thing in two weeks, even with adding another few repeats of the textured stripes because I wanted to use every last yard of this yarn. (Futon for scale, I guess? It was bigger than my towel when I pinned it out for blocking. Oh well.)

A handknit shawl of handspun yarn is pinned out on a towel on the floor to dry, underneath a futon with moon-and-stars sheets and a quilt hanging on the back. The shawl is a shallow triangle with alternating bands of texture and eyelets. It was knit from one narrow pink end through a gradient of purples and blues to a wide finish of light blue.

Here's a closeup of the bands of texture:

A closeup view of the "May I Borrow This, Please" shawl, knit in handspun yarn. The gradient of blue through purple to pink fades off into the background of the picture. Bands of different textures stripe across the shawl.

It's not cold enough to wear it yet, but I can feel that nip of autumn in the air!

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I've wanted to knit Puppies since I got the knitting machine. Last year I bought four cones of laceweight yarn for it, and promised myself that I wouldn't buy any more yarn until I'd knit the thing. So... I knit the thing.

First, I made a swatch and attempted to felt it (not entirely, just a little bit) in the washing machine. I have a front-loader, which makes it a little more tricky, but it seemed to work just fine! There's still some stitch definition, but all the floats are stuck down, which is exactly what I was trying to achieve.

A swatch of the Puppies pattern in purple-gray and white. It looks like damask wallpaper.

And then I got started knitting it on the machine.

The Puppies wrap in progress, hanging from a flatbed knitting machine, with weights hooked into the fabric. The purl side of the fabric is showing.

The wrap is knitted in three sections - first the two outside strips, and then the centre strip connects them as it's knit up. I knit strip one, and then failed to properly upload strip three to the machine... so I knit strip one twice. (Sigh.) After some time and troubleshooting, I figured it out, and knit strip three, followed by the centre piece. Each of the sides took just under an hour, including the time to upload the pattern into the machine... and the centre took more like four or five hours, because of having to hook the sides up as I went. Michael helped me arrange the side strips so that I wouldn't be hooking them up backwards or upside-down or anything silly like that - I am awful at the mental gymnastics of rotating pieces around in my head to get them aligned properly!

The two outer strips of the Puppies wrap with a yardstick for scale. They are much longer than the yardstick.

All three strips of the Puppies wrap, together and laid out on the floor. It is more than a yard wide and probable about two yards long.

Here's a closeup of a "puppy" (I think it looks more like a horse, but hey) with the fabric folded over to show the floats as well:

The Puppies wrap folded over at the bottom so that the front and back sides are visible in the same picture.

And then, with much trepidation, I tossed it into the washing machine. For the most part it fulled nicely... but there are some places that look a little holey, and I'm worried about those. I might try to spot-felt them, as well as the parts of the seam that just didn't quite felt enough. That'll be done by hand in a basin, rather than in the washing machine again.

The Puppies wrap, felted and laid out to dry on towels. It's now slightly less than a yard wide.

A closeup of one of the holes in the wrap. It's not very big, but it is obvious..

Here you can see that part of the seam felted together just fine (circled in green) but part of it really didn't (circled in orange):

Properly and improperly felted areas of the seam connecting two of the strips of knitting.

I'm not super-happy with the results of this project, but it was definitely a Learning Experience with capital letters! I've gotten a bunch of advice on how I can better felt the thing next time, if there is a next time, including a method to keep the edges from rolling up and sticking to each other in the wash (ugh, I had to unroll/unstick them all, and bent back a fingernail in the process) and how to keep the edges from ruffling. I have a bit of the yarn left... which I might use held doubled to make some colourwork armwarmers. We shall see!

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The Which Way shawl was completed in a casual six weeks (mostly while watching football or at our weekly virtual knit night) with a combination of Cascade 220 Sport in "Jet" (a dark charcoal gray) and a set of Wonderland Yarns Mad Hatter mini-skeins in the Mad Tea Party colourway, on the recommended US 6/4mm needles. I decided to add a few extra rows to the Which Way shawl, both because I had the extra yarn to do it and because I didn't really care for the little tail divot in the original pattern. It didn't take too much extra time, although it did mean that I had to dip into the third skein of 220 Sport.

A severe blocking did wonders for the drape of the fabric and for fixing the cupped look at the beginning when I was carrying the yarns a little too tightly. Here it is after washing, pinned and stretched out on the floor to dry:

The Which Way shawl, pinned out on the floor

Blocking wires made that task much easier than only using pins would have! The green and yellow sections are very close in hue, but there is a difference there. A closeup shows the chevron stripes and center spine, as well as the different textures of the two yarns. The 220 Sport is a loose, slightly fuzzy two-ply, while the Mad Hatter is a smooth, round yarn made of four plies:

A closeup view of the Which Way shawl, showing chevron stripes of purple and blue alternating with black.

The shawl matches my hair nicely... but now that my hair is getting longer, I'm not sure what to do with it when I wrap a shawl around my neck! Tucking it under the shawl seems strange, but flipping it over makes it just stick straight out in the back. I guess I'm going to have to wait 'til it grows out a little more.

Pirate, modeling the Which Way shawl.

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I actually finished the Breathe and Hope shawl two weeks ago, and I've finally gotten around to taking pictures of it!

The shawl took about two months to knit, although of course the actual knitting time was much less than that. I went through spurts of working on it for hours at a time, and then doing other things for a week. The navy is Cascade Heritage, and the variegated is Zen Yarn Garden Serenity 20 in the "Maltese" colourway. The sample for the original pattern had very little contrast between the solid and variegated yarns, but I wanted something a little less subtle.

I enjoyed knitting this pattern! It was well-written and the sections each seemed to go quickly. Each of the textured sections is a little different from the others, which adds a lot of visual (and knitting) interest, and the knotty stitch bindoff gives a pretty edge to the whole thing. I'd definitely knit it again - the boomerang shape works well for staying around my neck and shoulders. And I think I should be able to recreate that shape on the knitting machine!

Pirate modeling the Breathe and Hope shawl

Here's a closeup showing some of the textured stitches. The vertical striped sections really do pull in, so I'm glad I used a larger needle (as suggested in the pattern) for those parts.

Sections of vertical stripes alternate with sections of textured horizontal stripes.

As soon as I finished it, I cast on for the Which Way shawl. It's been in my queue for a while, so that I can use the rainbow of Mad Hatter mini-skeins that I got as a winterholiday gift. It's going very quickly, as it's pretty much miles and miles of plain stockinette with just a few increases and decreases to pay attention to. This is just the beginning:

The very beginning of a stripy shawl, with a rainbow of yarn surrounding it.

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The "Breathe and Hope" shawl caught my eye, and not just because everyone else is knitting it - I love the alternating directions of the stripes, the texture of the pattern, and the option to make the stripes subtle or striking, depending on the yarn. I chose a skein of Cascade Heritage in Navy to be the solid background to a skein of Zen Yarn Garden Serenity 20 in Maltese, which is a lovely deep colourway of variegated blues and greens. It's enough contrast to show, but not so much that the finished shawl will be dizzyingly stripy (I hope).

The first few sections went really quickly, of course, since the rows are so short. I've just finished one of the vertical stripe sections and am working on one of the k1b sections. Each one of those is just a little bit different, so the texture changes up each time. I think that's a nifty design feature - it wasn't one that I was expecting from photos of the pattern. The boomerang shape, which is causing the tail of the shawl to curl around itself, is also pretty cool. I'm excited to see how it blocks out and how it looks when I'm wearing it!

A closeup view of the green and blue stripes in the shawl. Horizontal stripe sections alternate with vertical.

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I finished knitting and blocked the Sizzle Pop shawl - what a difference! That's a 12" ruler for scale in the before-and-after photos, and wow, look how much it grew! The shawl drapes beautifully now. It's soft and squishy and relatively lightweight for its size, and I absolutely love it.

The Sizzle Pop shawl before and after blocking, with a 12" ruler for scale. It is much larger after blocking.

I only made one small change to the pattern, and that was to knit an extra repeat - I had enough extra yarn, and I was concerned that the finished shawl would be a little on the small side. It is not, now. :)

The pattern was well-written and fun to knit! It went faster than I was expecting, except for the parts where I got distracted and made mistakes. In most cases I wasn't going to be able to just drop down and fix the error (yay, brioche?) so I had to un-knit, which takes for-freaking-ever (yay, brioche?) but was totally worth doing as I wouldn't have been able to live with the errors.

My version of Sizzle Pop used a skein of Malabrigo Sock in 120 Lotus, and a skein of Sheep's Clothing Yarn Co. Fable Fingering in Nebula Speckle. There's a little bit of each one left over, but not a lot. Not only do the yarns coordinate perfectly with each other, but they also go well with my hair - right down to the little pop of blue.

Pirate modeling the Sizzle Pop Shawl

This will definitely not be the last brioche project, or the last shawl, that I'm going to knit. It was so much fun to work on, and the results are spectacular. I have so much fingering weight yarn in my stash, my sock drawer is already overflowing, but my shawl-and-wrap shelf still has plenty of space left for more projects. The next one I'm working on is Casapinka's "Breathe and Hope" pattern, which is two-colour but not brioche. I'm making good progress on it, and will have pictures to share soon!

Closeup of the Sizzle Pop shawl, showing the brioche stitch pattern.

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While my sock drawer will never truly be full (it will just expand to be two drawers, haha!) I thought perhaps I might use some of my sock yarn to knit a shawl instead. I wanted something quick, easy, and relatively simple, and chose Multnomah - a pattern that I've had in my mental queue for about a decade. I love the waves of feather and fan for the edging, and the idea of a nice mindless garter stitch centre of the shawl was appealing.

I finished it in a week, using about 75 grams of Cascade Heritage Paints in the Olympic Forest colourway... which I've had in my stash for, um, a while. I bought it because it matched my eyes, and then could never decide what to do with it. I think it makes a really good Multnomah shawl! (Oh, and I dyed my hair fun colours. What better time than now?)

Pirate modeling the shawl

I would definitely knit this pattern again, but I'd do it a little differently next time. For starters, this isn't really a shawl, it's a shawlette. So if I knit it again, I'll make the garter section a little bigger before starting the feather and fan border... and then perhaps I'll do more repeats of the edging as well.

As the pattern is written, when you're knitting the edging, you still maintain the garter stitch pattern in the central triangle and the corners of the shawl. If I knit it again, I would switch that out for the knits and purls of the feather and fan pattern to keep the texture of it all the way around the border.

Pretty sure I need advice about how to wear mini-shawls.

Pirate modeling the shawl.

Here's a better view of the whole thing, which shows off the pattern and that garter stitch triangle in the centre that I don't quite understand. Overall, I really like the result, I'm glad I knit it, and I'd totally do it again, maybe in handspun next time! Now, back to some of the more complex pieces that I'd started... like that brioche shawl I think I remember starting... ;)

The shawl displayed on a gray carpet.

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I like to buy souvenir sock yarn when I travel, especially if I can find something from a local dyer. This year's yarn, which I got at Wasatch & Wool - a nifty little shop in Park City - is Salta Fingering from Yarnaceous Fibers. The colourway is "My Dinosaur Ate Your Unicorn," and it's beautifully dyed in shades of a mountain sunset. I love it. I don't yet know what I'm going to knit with it, but I absolutely love it. I bet those colours pool in the most fantastic ways if the pattern is right. Since the care label says to hand wash, I think I won't be making socks with this yarn...

A skein of sock yarn in purples and a bit of orange, very sunsetty colours

But before I let myself knit this year's souvenir yarn, I want to use some from a previous year! I got this skein of Malabrigo Sock in "Lotus" when we went to California in 2017, and paired it with some Fable Fingering from Sheep's Clothing Yarn Co in the "Nebula Speckle" colourway. It's a perfect match.

Two skeins of sock yarn - one dark purple with a tinge of cyan, the other mostly white with purple/blue/pink speckles

After Michael made his scarf and matching hat, I started to consider the possibility of a making brioche scarf or shawl for myself, but in a lighter weight yarn than he chose. After a lot of riffling through the Ravelry pattern library, I eventually settled on Sizzle Pop as a good challenging first brioche pattern to try. I've done swatches of brioche before, but never a whole project.

Over the weekend I cast on and started knitting. Of course, a triangular shawl which starts at the tip goes quickly at the beginning! I was able to get through the setup rows and then two pattern repeats already. The speckle yarn combined with the tonal purple is just *chef's kiss* perfect. (And it hides a mistake that I made early on that I decided that I wasn't going back to correct.) Hopefully I don't lose all interest in the project when the rows get long. At least only 1/4 of the rows have patterning that requires me to follow along with the chart! That makes it seem like it goes fast. On the other hand, I keep spreading it out to look at it, which takes up some time. Less admiring, Pirate! More knitting, less looking!

Two repeats of the Sizzle Pop shawl in progress.

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