Monday, 23 April 2012

Why I knit shawls

Ages ago when the Dahlia cardigan appeared in Interweave Knits I knew I wanted to knit it. I wasn't sure about the yarn I would use until I came across Debbie Bliss Baby Cashmerino and decided that that was the one for me.

About a fortnight ago I decided to cast on. I did a stocking stitch swatch despite the fact that I loathe doing these things (reason one for knitting shawls). My gauge was just fractionally off but I figured that it was close enough and embarked on knitting the lace panel which forms the back of the cardigan. Its a beautiful panel, go on, have a good look at it. Gorgeous is it not? I finished the panel over 2 evenings of knitting and loved it and the yarn. But, the square was far too large. It is meant to block out to 13" and even unblocked I was way over that.

Now I have done my homework for this cardigan and I have read how important it is to get the lace square the right dimension because the construction of this cardigan is most unusual and all hinges on this square. So, of course, I frogged the square and started afresh on smaller needles and enjoyed the knitting and the beauty of the lace as much as the first time. Two days later and the square was done and still way to big!

Undeterred, I frogged and started again on smaller needles and lo and behold it was too big! So I frogged again and started a fourth time and by now I was using 2.5mm needles. A quarter of the way in I stopped because I could just feel that this is not working. This pattern and yarn are just not meant to be. I will find another use for the yarn and I will try to find a more appropriate yarn for the cardigan because I still like it and I am determined to have one.

In the meantime I needed to rid myself of the frustration of the past couple of weeks so I cast on for the Flowers on the Edge shawl and less than a week later it was done. Pictures to follow as soon as I have blocked the shawl.

See why I knit shawls?

Tuesday, 17 April 2012

Brangian shawl

I really wanted to knit up the silk/cotton 4ply ColourMart yarn I bought quite some time ago but couldn't find quite the right pattern. I started to knit the Butterfly Forest shawl with this yarn but soon discovered that it wasn't working and frogged. While I was trawling through my endless queue I saw the Brangian shawl pattern and realised that this was the right one. I wanted the right combination of yarn and pattern because this shawl is also part of a swap for more gradient dyed yarn.

I knitted the shawl on 4.5 mm needles and it knitted up really quickly. It has turned into a good sized shawl.

Once blocked the yarn softened and became nice and drapey.

Here is a close up to show the subtle shift in the pattern.

Tuesday, 10 April 2012

Butterfly Forest

 I  knitted this shawl for a fellow Raveler in return for some of her dyeing skills. I'm very taken by gradient coloured yarns these days and I believe its a bit tricky to do. I was very pleased when I found someone who was willing to dye some yarn for me and even more pleased when she was willing to do it in exchange for a shawl.

So here is the Butterfly Forest shawl (a Ravelry download). The yarn is Filatura Di Crosa Baby Mon Tesor. Its hard to see in the photos but the yarn has a silver thread running through it. I started this shawl on 3.75mm needles but by the time I was into the second chart I felt that the yarn was too stiff and I was worried that it wouldn't open up enough when blocked. So I gradually switched to 4.0mm needles and then to 4.5mm. By then I could feel the yarn soften in my hands and I new I would also get better drape.

The pattern has plenty of nupps in it but since I discovered doing nupps with a crochet hook I find it goes much quicker and I no longer drop loops along the way.

I found it difficult to capture the colour of the yarn but the last photo comes close.