Thursday, January 16, 2014

I'm addicted, Shawly!






I started a shawl on New Years Eve and just 14 days later it came off the needles, an entire knitted project finished in 2 weeks! I don't think you will ever see such productivity from me again - amazing what can be done when the laptop is packed away and there are a couple of extra hands on deck to help out with the Kids. Needless to say the house in a shambles and the Kids ran out of socks! It's not the sort of thing I could get away with for the entire year but it's been a gentle and easy start to the New Year.

I'm sorry I didn't mention that things might be a little quiet around here. We've been enjoying the company of my Dad and Diane as well as Daniel's parents who left just yesterday. It's been almost a month of family staying with us. It's been lovely but I decided to pack away the laptop with all its anti-social potential and brought out the knitting needles instead where conversations can be carried on alongside the rhythmic clicking of the needles.

But back to the shawl, it's the beautiful Textured Shawl Recipe by Orlane and I absolutely love how it turned out. I adore it's simplicity in design and construction and it shows off the variations in the yarn beautifully. The yarn is a squishy Merino/Cashmere blend by an Australian Company Augustbird, and hand dyed in the Stonefall colourway. I bought the yarn months ago with a cardigan in mind but decided a more substantial shawl would be more suited to the Tassie climate where I am always grabbing an extra layer to throw on.  It's not so much a pattern but more of a 'recipe' where there is plenty of scope for variety. I have long admired Kate's beautiful knitted creations over on her blog and when I saw her Textured Shawl on Ravelry I looked no further and followed her notes almost exactly. My Ravelry notes are here.

Before Blocking

This was my very first shawl and there are definitely a few traps for new players, despite it essentially being a knitted triangle. Since you start with just a few stitches and increase from there, I assumed that I was starting at the tip of the triangle and working towards the long base of the triangle. For this reason I spent the first few rows pulling the shawl into a shape that resembled a tip (see where my toes are - oops!) whereas you actually start at the base and work out.  Thank goodness for blocking. I also used the Elizabeth Zimmerman sewn bind-off, which created a lovely finish but took an entire evening to get the 323 stitches off the needles so if anyone uses or knows of another quicker method which yields similar results please let me know!

After Blocking, that's a bit straighter!

Blocking is something I haven't attempted before either other than a little spritz with a water bottle on my finished pieces. This time I submerged the entire thing into a bath and didn't take my eyes off it for 20 to 30 minutes to ensure it didn't disintegrate before my eyes. I have felted many a woollen sweater in my youth by combining water with wool so it was a nerve-wracking experience. I didn't have any blocking rods either so just used string to produce some straight lines and then pinned it to the rug in my bedroom away from all the Kids and checked on it every 5 minutes like a newborn baby. 

I love the element of surprise with a shawl, the fact that all the stitches are bunched up on a circular needle, and you have no idea how it will look until you cast-off. I'm completely addicted. In fact I stayed up until the wee hours of the morning the other night just so I could finish it in time to start a new shawl - Ysolde's Mystery Knit Along, along with 2346 others from around the world. We will be given a new clue every Monday for 5 weeks. I started and finished the first clue last night so it's not too late to start! I think this is the beginning of a new obsession. How many shawls is too many, I wonder? I'm still reading Christopher Koch's "Lost Voices" which is a brilliant read if I could just steal myself away from the wool and the computer I might actually finish it sometime this year! What are you all reading and/or making at the moment? I'm looking forward to seeing what everyone is up to. Have a lovely end to the week!

Mel xxx

I'm joining in with Ginny's Yarn Along this week. 

36 comments :

  1. It's GORGEOUS!!! and it suits you!! I try to make sure at least 4 nights a week, no social media, just crochet, amazing what you get done!

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  2. You are such a clever minx, Mel. Bravo! Am dying to catch uop. How are you placed for next week? J x

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  3. It is beautiful Mel!!! The colour is lovely and I can quite see why you are addicted to shawls. You were very brave blocking this, but it really has produced amazing results hasn't it! Good on you! xx

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  4. That is a gorgeous shawl Mel. I wish I was as good with the knitting needles as you. It's something on my to do list to get better at. And to crochet also xxx

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  5. What a stunner Mel. I love the colour too. I love shawls or wraps. So easy to fling around yourself a la The French Luitenant's Woman!

    Leanne xx

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  6. I love it! Well done! I have no idea what blocking is... off to google it. x

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  7. Beautiful colour and the shawl looks great. I made the same mistake as you, thinking that knitting started from the point - amazing just how many rows it took me to figure it out! I've just started knitting a jumper with big needles, so it shouldn't take too long.

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  8. Your shawl is gorgeous! I love the pattern and the colour! It sounds like you had a wonderful visit with your family. It's always fun to have my family here for a visit, but it I find it can also be nice when everyone goes home and I can settle back into a routine of sorts. :-)

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  9. Oh my goodness!! What a gorgeous shawl Mel!! You look wonderful in it too. It looks like a ton of knitting, so I'm impressed that you had it finished up in two short weeks ... such a pretty pattern. I want to try a big project, and am torn between a cardigan or a shawl. I've seen so many pretty shawls, that I think I might be wavering in that direction. So nice to hear you had a great visit with so many house guests! I'll bet they were fascinated watching the shawl emerge before their eyes ;) Wendy x

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  10. It's lovely Mel, gosh you're a quick worker! :) x

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  11. Your shawl looks amazing and created in such a short time too! The idea of a joint knitting project sounds fun.
    Sarah x

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  12. Just gorgeous Mel, as are the photos of you, the blonde hair suits you so well (you did have a little dalliance with dark didn't you).
    Unfortunately a shawl wouldn't get much use up here, our one day of Winter a year rarely even calls for a flannel shirt!

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    1. Yes, back to blonde - it hides the grey slightly better (although obviously not in these pics, time to get to the hairdresser methinks!). Hope you get some rain up there soon Fiona! x

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  13. Your shawl looks wonderful Mel. Such a lovely colour on you too. At least now I know that I am not the only person knitting during and Australian summer.

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    1. I couldn't understand why people didn't knit in Summer and then the horrendous heatwave arrived this week! :-)

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  14. Mel. What a tribute to such super family time. Your shawl is awesome x

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  15. It's so beautiful ... that's it, I have to learn to knit ... Bee xx

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    1. It's so easy Bee, you'd pick it up in no time! x

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  16. Mel that is absolutely gorgeous, well done! What an achievement and how satisfying to do it so quickly. I love the varied blues of that yarn, my favourite shades.
    I've been doing lots of colouring (mostly of stamped images to make cards) and started a project life album, short little projects - I haven't knitted or crocheted for ages :-( Perhaps when the weather gets cooler.
    Hope you enjoy the rest of your holidays xx

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  17. Lovely shawl! Beautiful shades through it. I look forward to see more of your creations.

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  18. Gorgeous Mel, I love the colour! I would love to knit myself a shawl but I'm very much a beginner knitter, so I should probably stick with scarves ;)

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  19. What a lovely shawl - looks suburb on you, Mel! xx

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  20. Your shawl looks beautiful! And that colour is gorgeous on you too.

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  21. So pretty. Amazing colour - you can wear it with almost any other colour!

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  22. This is a beautiful shawl, Mel. It'll be perfect for those summer nights on the beach when you need a little warmth. I have never attempted to knit one myself and now wish I had. Cx

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  23. I thought you'd pilfered the first two photos from pinterest. And then I realised they were YOUR PHOTOS!! Stunning AND clever!! The shawl is gorgeous. So sophisticated and mature. I love the idea.

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    1. Just saying the word 'shawl' makes me feel a bit fancy :-)

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  24. That is awesome! I've never made a shawl before but I do like to admire them from afar. And awesome work on the quick make! I love projects like that that just suck you in.

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  25. It's so, so nice. I love the colour. I'll be honest - I've always given anything with the name "shawl" a very wide berth indeed, convinced that it would be lacy, fussy and not at all for me. But this - you've made me want to knit, and not a lot does that. It looks fabulous with your jeans and white shirt. Also - how gorgeous are you?? xx

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    1. This is the first shawl I've ever had or worn in my life for pretty much the same reasons you mention. It took me ages to find one that I liked that wasn't too fussy. It was so much fun to make, addictive really :-)

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  26. Oh Mel I have shawl envy! For two years I've wanted a shawl. Tried to crochet one which failed- I would so like to say I made it, but reality is I don't think I'm up for the job. Still haven't found the right wool either...ahh, the quest continues!

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  27. That is absolutely gorgeous Mel!

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  28. What a beauty! And it looks so nice on you. Perfect.

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  29. Stunning pictures of a truly beautiful piece of knitted wonder, dear Mel! Fabulous fun this knitting lark, isn't it? I love shawls. My all time fave being Vintage Bouquet by Dani Sunshine...as you probably already know.

    And the blocking? It's so totally worth it, right?

    Hugs from France,

    Stephanie

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  30. This is stunning Mel and so are you my dear!! You look gorgeous in it and I just love the colour you chose, it is really warm and earthy. Loving that room with the spinning wheel in it, faint!! Oh my it really is a gorgeous place you have there. Well done for finishing this in record braking time xoxo

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