Thursday, 22 January 2015

Skein to Shawl

If you are a regular reader, perhaps you will remember this picture:

click here to buy from baa ram ewe

This is 5 skeins of Titus, from baa ram ewe, which I am completely in love with. A blend of home grown wool and UK alpaca, this yarn is soft, light, warm, and although it has a great texture to it, it is still really easy to crochet with. 

I thought it would be fun to share with you a little of the journey this yarn took: 

This was one of my initial sketches: I knew I wanted to construct a shawl in rows and with a spine. I saw buds and petals (intending this for a spring-themed accessory), and a neutral colour palette. I also planned the rows of circles from the outset. 

There were numerous swatches, of course, playing around with the design, and the colour sequence, and the construction.

Once I felt I had made as many of the preliminary decisions as I could, I settled in for the long haul of constructing the shawl. There were still adjustments and re-appraisals along the way, plus some ripping back at times when I changed my mind. The shape evolved too from the original triangle to one with more of an enveloping, winged shape.

I have quite a high threshold for sitting and making things- I find hours pass easily when I am working. But, even I was surprised at quite how long this project took to complete. 

When it was finally finished, the shawl definitely needed blocking, to open up the lacy patterns, and to give it a smooth flat finish. I soaked it for about 30 minutes, and pinned it out for 48 hours. The shape was slightly difficult to handle in the space I have available, and with the equipment I have. I took this picutre just before I unpinned it, and you can see how the curves I tried to pin out so smoothly have slipped into angular points on the wings over the two days. Fortunately this does not show now, but I was concerned when I saw these peaks emerge. On the whole, the blocking was a great success.

This invariably happens when I am blocking something. I take it as quite a compliment. 

Now, I did say this was a warm shawl, and here is how I know this: I desperately needed some photos to go along with the pattern on ravelry, and when I just could not wait any longer I dragged somebody very obliging out into the bitter cold for a bit of a photoshoot. There was actually white stuff falling from the sky when we did this... but I was warm!

This is my favourite picture of it 

If I had thought that completing the crochet was taking a long time, I had no clue how large a task writing the pattern would run out to be! 

The shawl is large, light, and really quite snuggly. Once I have come to terms with it, I'm sure that I will enjoy wearing it. I always have to 'come to terms' with my finished designs: I wonder if when you are so close to the process of creating something new, and when you have been through all of the original inspiration, the hope and enthusiasm, and the many hours spent working (and sometimes the despair)... perhaps you need to distance yourself from the 'process' before you can start to really see the finished item? 

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