Last week I told you that I had finished my Age of Brass and Steam Kercheif which is a free pattern on Ravelry by Orange Flower. Well, I had almost finished except for the blocking, which I managed to do last weekend, so it is finally an official FO!
I picked this pattern up as a gentle introduction to shawl knitting after two failed attempts at more complex designs. The pattern is worked in DK yarn (I used Sirdar Crofter DK in the Burnett colourway) over 5mm needles so it is easy to see what you are doing (and to see any mistakes!) and it grows really quickly, mine being finished in just over a week. This project gave me the chance to learn the garter tab, which had previously baffled me, using the excellent tutorial which is linked to on the Ravelry pattern page. I also got to practise working a simple lace pattern without gaining or losing stitches which was very rewarding and made me feel pretty clever when I pulled it off!
Speaking of the lace pattern, this project almost had a disaster. I was working one of the lace repeats and was getting close to the end of my skein. Eyeing up the remaining yarn I thought I had enough left to complete the ‘open’ row, and to then change balls using my usual method on a rest row where it wouldn’t be noticeable. I obviously failed to learn from my last experience that it is not a good idea to tempt fate: I ran out about 10 stitches from the end of the open row. I panicked – my usual method would be very obvious and I wanted this to look good. I looked up splicing only to find that the wool content of my yarn was too low for the splice to hold. Finally, I happened upon the Russian Join technique. I held my breath as I made the join, knitted it in and then another row on top, convinced disaster was nigh. Fortunately, the join held and looks pretty good!
This was also the first project I attempted to block, having read that lace doesn’t really look right until blocking has been done. (I wasn’t convinced until I saw the Blocking: Before and After thread on Ravelry, now I’m a believer!) The pattern called for immersion blocking, but to be honest I wasn’t brave enough to try it. Instead I spray blocked, and followed the Yarn Harlot’s directions for blocking a triangular shawl.
The victim is prepared for blocking.
Blocking in progress
Post blocking yay!
Unfortunately, I made the mistake of using cheap pins. Never try this, most of them bent and a couple shattered as soon as I pressed on them, nearly embedding themselves in my hand. However, I managed to block, and those pins have now been safely disposed of. I can only assume that I messed up somehow though, as my shawl was the right dimensions when I took out the pins, but has since shrunk. Does anyone know why this is? I’m planning on re-blocking next weekend so if anyone has any tips I’d appreciate it!
Anyway, overall I’m delighted with this project, and have worn it every day this week as a scarf, once tied to look like a cowl, and as a shawl when I went to see Tosca with my Dad yesterday) I love this shawl and would recommended it as a first shawl project as it really helped me to get to grips with some of the techniques.
I hope you enjoyed this look at my FO. Thanks for reading and Happy Knitting!