As with most things, tea and the promise of crochet make things much, much better.
I feared this post might have come out a little cranky, thanks to two semi-related factors. Yesterday, I had it confirmed that I am severely deficient in Vitamin D, which explains a lot of the chronic symptoms I’ve been putting up with for the last few years – the obvious ones and the not-so-obvious. It was the kick I needed to get my eating sorted out, as I’m terrible at choosing things that will make me healthy. Treats are fine, but not if they make up most of your diet! Anyway, I’ll have to tackle the caffeine monster at some point, but for now, I’m just trying the “More fruit, less chocolate” approach and wow, I want a bar of dairy milk more than anything right now. As in, I’d swap you a skein of yarn for a piece at the moment. Ah well, hopefully if I can get over the hump of the first few days, the crazy cravings will die down, the supplements will kick in and hopefully in a few weeks, I’ll start feeling better. Not that I’m sure what that will feel like, but that’s another blog post.
It’s maybe not the best frame of mind to tackle this sort of post in, but at least you know you’re not getting a sugar-coated (heh) version of events!
I blogged last week about making my two day shawl from the ‘Your Mileage May Vary’ pattern in The Shawl Project. That was actually the third shawl I’d made from the book, and undoubtedly my most successful. The other two aren’t failures, but I’m not 100% happy with them, thanks to some yarn decisions I made when I started. Neither are disastrous, and as I’m a person who learns best from mistakes, I thought it was worth blogging them both for future reference.
The first shawl I finished from the book was the first one in the book, Never Black.
My iPod hasn’t done a bad job of the colour, although it’s a little blue here. In real life, it’s a strong, bright purple
I chose it because it looked the most challenging, and at the time, I wanted something to stretch me a little. After auditioning three or four different yarns, none of which quite worked for the combination of large lace and dense edging, I settled on this stunningly colour of Colinette Jitterbug. It had been in my stash for ages, and after unsuccessfully trying to turn it into colourwork gloves last year, I decided it was time to make into something I’d actually wear.
The result is lovely. The yarn has great stitch definition, and the colour is perfect. The only problem is the gauge. Jitterbug is a heavy 4ply/sports weight yarn, not the 4ply recommended in the pattern. That meant that to get drape, I had to go up a few hook sizes. That meant that I didn’t have enough yarn for all the repeats, and the resulting scarf is a little on the short side. I do have more Jitterbug, in an eye-watering pink that goes wonderfully with the purple, so I’m currently pondering unravelling the last row, and adding the rest of the repeats in pink. But I’m not sure if that would just look really strange! This scarf goes well under a winter coat, as it’s not too bulky and is actually quite nice for our current mild autumn. As much as I’d get more wear from something longer, I have a feeling that pink ends would make it look rather odd.
Gauge was also my issue with my other shawl from The Shawl Project, although this time, I’m not 100% sure what went wrong. I always seem to have problems with half-circle shawls, in that the top edge is never straight. Despite blocking, there’s still a ripple to my Cherry Pi, and it doesn’t really look much like other people’s.
I think a second problem is the yarn. This lovely bamboo/merino from The Knitting Goddess has very short runs of colour, which make it great for knitting but tricky for crochet. The runs are just a little short, and end up looking splodgy rather than interesting (at least to my eyes!). Something definitely went wrong with this shawl, as it’s incredibly open lace compared to other people’s, and while it’s okay, it’s ended up neither nowt nor summat. It’s a bit short, a bit open, and while it has amazing drape, I’m left with the feeling that the yarn and pattern just weren’t meant to go together. You can see in the picture how off my gauge was – it won’t even lie flat!
I want to try it again in something woollier that will have better density and hopefully a longer length. Not that I’ve given up on this one yet – it’s going in with my summer clothes to see if I’ll wear it next year. I actually have a sneaking suspicion that the main problem is that I don’t really get on with semi-circular shawls, in which case it will be frogged to become something I’ll actually use. Interestingly, looking at the pictures from The Crochet Project, my shawl is closer to theirs – very light and lacy. So maybe it’s just that everyone else is doing it wrong!
Neither of these shawls are failures, they just don’t quite work as intended. It happens to all of us, I’m sure, and hopefully by thinking about what went wrong, I won’t make the same mistakes next time! After all, there are new mistakes to be made all the time.