Monday, 28 January 2013

Clearing the backlog #3 - A pair of shawls

These shawls have nothing much in common except for the fact that they're both for me and both knitted in 4ply, but in the interests of clearing the backlog before the baby arrives, I'm pairing them up for this post.

The first shawl was knitted in the aftermath of the first Glasgow School of Yarn. Stephen West was one of the tutors and brought a selection of his samples with him. I'd seen the pattern before and not really given it a second glance, but having seen it in person, I absolutely loved it.

The pattern is Akimbo by Stephen West and I knitted it in Old Maiden Aunt Merino-Nylon-Cashmere 4ply in the colourway 'Seen the Ocean' and Fyberspates Sheila's Sock in the colourway Violet on 3.5mm needles.

All the way through I was worried that I was going to run out of the Sheila's sock, but in the end I had a few metres left - enough for a few hexipuffs!

The second shawl was something that I fell for at first glance, but didn't get round to knitting for a while. It is also the source of the biggest ever knitting mistake I've ever made (but more on that later).

The pattern is Colour Affection by Veera Välimäki and I've knitted it in three different colourways of Clan by the Yarn Yard. They don't have names, but one is a darkish grey (that I was lucky enough to buy for a song as it had been dropped and badly tangled, and then lucky again as it wasn't too bad to untangle), one is a beige and the last is a dusky mulberry. I wanted shades that would tone well and give a muted but classy look. I think that the Yarn Yard shades are perfect for this as they are always slightly understated.

I knew a few folk who had knitted this piece and all had said that the process was long and very boring, but it was worth persevering as I wanted the finished shawl. With this in mind, once I reached the third colour section, I stopped counting as such and just kept knitting on the basis that if I counted, I’d only realise how much further I had to go. One Thursday at knit night, a friend sitting next to me commented that I might be further on than I realised, so maybe I should count… Not really believing this, I counted at the end of the row… I was 54 rows over… at almost 400 stitches per row… that’s almost 20 000 stitches extra! By far and away the biggest knitting mistake I've ever made and it added to the dull knitting by slightly over two weeks!

There was no way on earth that I was going to rip all the extra, so my colour affection is slightly larger than most (and I actually find that it's quite a nice size, so maybe it wasn't such a bad mistake after all).

I modified the published pattern slightly by working a yarn-over two stitches into every row, then dropping it in the next row to make the edge slightly less tight and relax the curve a bit. I also carried the non-working colours up the edge of the work instead of cutting and weaving in every two rows. Unfortunately, I've carried them with a little too much tension, so once side of the edge is tighter than the other, but it doesn't look to bad once its on.

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