NaBloPoMo #8: the first one with the shawl

I fell a bit behind on the blogging schedule last week, thanks to managing to put my back out again, this time leaning down to put cake on a table. Cake! I ask you! Who knew it was so dangerous?

Anyway, this week, we’re going to do a bit of catching up, mostly with things that I’ve actually finished. There’s been a lot of shawls over the last couple of months, none of which I’ve managed to blog, and most of which I absolutely love.

Let’s start with the biggest and work our way down.

Way back over the summer, the lovely Louise of KnitBritish ran a Hapalong. Now, there aren’t many crochet hap patterns, and as I’m on a NO YARN BUYING kick, I couldn’t just pick a pattern and get suitable yarn. I had to work from the stash backwards, and there just wasn’t anything there that would have worked. Besides, I wanted something more like a traditional hap, with a proper centre, lace edge and border. So I did what anyone would do under those circumstances. I designed my own.

Before I go any further, no, there isn’t a pattern for this. I made it up as I went along, and a lot of my numbers totally failed to work. Do as I say, not as I do!

2015-05-02 12.46.47

This was the point at which I realised I might have taken on a bigger project than expected…

I had three precious skeins of Babylonglegs merino/silk, which is luscious and wonderful, and the colours worked perfectly together. The inspiration for the hap came from Aestlight, and I decided I would have a solid centre, a similar lace border, and a wavy edging. The centre was simple enough, and despite original plans to work top-down, doing the maths from a swatch, I quickly realised that it really didn’t matter and it was going to be much, much easier to work from the point upwards until I ran out of yarn! I worked my favourite half-trebles, increasing at each end of the row to make a fairly regular triangle, which I then blocked to make sure I got the maximum size for the edging.

2015-06-02 12.55.55

After a little experimentation, I added a black border, to give a base for the lace to work from. Ah yes, the lace. As you can see above, I did try to count out the base stitches so that I could do the maths in advance. While it looked pretty, I gave it up as a lost cause and decided to wing it!

The basic stitch pattern came from the wonderful Encyclopedia of Crochet by Donna Kooler (can’t recommend highly enough), but it was for a square, not something that needed to increase at both ends. I’d love to say that I sat and worked it out, but I absolutely and totally didn’t. I fudged it, and was rather lucky to get away with it. The point is a little uneven, but aggressive blocking solved most of the problem, and I’m delighted with the overall effect. I added a final row of open chain spaces and that gave me something to anchor the ripples on.

2015-06-19 19.28.28

The poor hap languished on the WIP pile for a while, until the numbers decided to behave themselves…

Let’s not look too hard at the ripples, shall we? It’s just as well that they’re dead easy to work, as it took me 4 or 5 goes to find an exact pattern I was happy with, and even now, the top edge of the shawl isn’t quite straight despite Extreme Blocking (seriously, I don’t think there was a pin unused in my entire house). But as you can see below, it was worth it.

Before:2015-08-26 21.35.05

After:
2015-08-27 22.06.53

But none of that really matters. Because it is simply wonderful to wear. It’s about twice the expected size, warm, soft and immensely snuggly. Despite a few years’ experience, I still buy into crochet myths. Yes, dense crochet fabric does use more yarn than dense knitting, but not twice as much. And in lace, there isn’t much to choose between them! But I’m glad I didn’t realise how big it would get, because I would have been put off and not ended up with such a lovely, beloved shawl.

I haven’t decided yet whether it’s my favourite make of the year, but it’s definitely up there. I’m even considering writing up the pattern, although I have a feeling that’s going to take me almost as long as the shawl itself!

2015-08-28 19.02.28

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4 thoughts on “NaBloPoMo #8: the first one with the shawl

  1. Beautiful shawl, Laura! Look after your back – you should maybe try some exercises designed to strengthen your core muscles to stop the ongoing problems. Worked for me!

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    1. Thanks. Yes, I’ve got that pencilled in for when I’m sure I’m better. Ironically, all the appropriate exercises remind you that you shouldn’t do them when injured πŸ˜€

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