Sunday, 7 December 2014

Brown as....

For the 2014 Ravellenics I boarded the Tardis with needles and yarn in hand and joined the giant crew of knitters and crocheters flying through time and space watching the Sochi Winter Games and crafting all sorts of goodness. Some very wonderful fellow travelers offered prizes for our efforts and the Tardis random number generator chose me to get this free pattern - a gorgeous geometric shawl pattern called Bequin.

I’ve been contemplating making a shawl for a long time but there were too many wonderful patterns to pick from to make my first. This sealed the deal. I had a pattern so I didn’t have to pick one. I have some very old gifted brown yarn from my Aunty that was  perfect for this.

Why Brown? Brown is underrated. I’m a brown kind of person right down to the boring brown hair (with a touch of grey).

When I was naming this project, I thought of my favourite Little Golden Book that I read to my little sister first and then my children over and over…. The Color kittens by Margaret Wise Brown.
”… and that made brown, Brown as a tug boat, Brown as an old goat, Brown as a beaver, Brown. And in all that brown the sun went down”.
Meet Brown as…
Pattern: Bequin by Ydun from The Apple Basket
Needles: 4mm straights and a 100cm 4mm circular needle.
Yarn: Paton's Australia Azalea, Light fingering 3ply, 4 balls of brown (this is a long discontinued yarn. I suspect this is from the 1970s).
Cost: Free - gifted stash from my Aunty.

Despite the fact that this was my first lace shawl, in fact my first shawl of any type, it ended up being the third one off the needles. I got distracted into freeform along the way and made Lacewing and Curly Wurly while I was supposed to be finishing this.... (And a few other things too).

I cast on on the 8th of April and it flowed along quite nicely up until the third section of the shawl. I was still working this on straight needles as the yarn is so fine it still fits on a long straight needle. This is essentially geometrically arranged panels of faggotted lace. Every second row is just purl with a narrow garter stitch edge. The patterning is logical and the use of stitch markers between repeats really helps keep track.

I worked off the minimal written instructions and the charts. I found a mistake in the transition row for the third section of the shawl where the minimal instructions indicated one stitch border on each side of Chart A but the picture and the complete written instructions indicated it should be two stitches. I contacted the designer and she modified the pattern and sent me a new version.
Obligatory shawl pose
I did make the occasional mistake and had to tink back a few rows till I had the correct set up again. I had to redo the last four rows of section II 4 times to get it right. (Took me two days for 4 rows). The pattern is nicely written and quite intuitive but needs patience and I tend to make mistakes when knitting at night.

Knitting a lace shawl taught me patience and not to drop stitches!

Well the shawl got neglected in the push to finish the jumpers for the kids and with me discovering a new playground in IFFF. I made a major push to complete this as part of October WIP wrestling. It was very slow going with the last edge section. Very long rows (400+ stitches) and it was getting to the half an hour a row stage. But slow and steady got there. I really enjoyed the cast off - a new to me technique.
The first finished shot. Indoor lighting really changes the colour of this.
I love the geometry of this and how it curves and hugs the shoulders. Really interesting shape. Cast off, ends sewed in and blocked fairly aggressively to open the lace on 25th October 2014. But it had to wait a while for a real photo shoot. I took it with me on holidays to the Gold Coast in late November, early December 2014 and finally got some finished shots on the balcony of a high rise silhouetted against the amazing view.
I think I'm hooked. What shawl shall I make next....

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