Saturday, August 14, 2010
Red Crochet Shawl
This shawl is from the Summer 2010 issue of Interweave Crochet. It was on the cover, actually, but all in blue. (I apologise for the poor photo- I took it on the dining room table, which was, for once, nearly clear &, for once, had a white cloth on it.) Being an iconoclastic sort, I don't usually make anything I see in magazines or books, at least exactly as printed... I have been a knitwear designer for more than 15 years & am pretty hung-up on making my own designs. But, being newish to crochet design (although I've been crocheting for ~42 years...) I've only made stoles since taking up the hook again, & wanted to try my hand at triangle shaping. So I decided to make something from a pattern for the experience (thank goodness there were charts...!).
I looked in the stash baskets for the right amount of yarn- of course there wasn't quite enough in any one colour, of the right weight anyway. So I found 2 skeins of one colour & one of another, all the same weight &, gasp, even the same fibres & brand. This yarn is Knitpicks Gloss (merino & silk blend) laceweight yarn, in raisin (discontinued now & on sale when I bought it, hence the 2 balls of it, heh, heh) and the red- can't remember the exact name. Either way, I thought they harmonised nicely when I held the balls together & they indeed harmonise well in the shawl, I think.
It took maybe 6 weeks to make, not consistently working on it, though (I always have at least 4-5 projects going at once). As I worked along I found lots of things I might have done differently, but I like the pattern overall. The flowers in the main body & edging are made over 2 rows for each flower, which was kind of neat. It blocked very well & dried quickly, & it has a lovely drape. When I blocked it I was showing a friend how to block, so it was fun as well as educational :)
Like a lot of needleworkers, I began with crochet, taught by grandma when I was 10-ish years old (maybe earlier). I crocheted all through my teen years, & progressed to crocheting lace as I got older. But I ran into the difficulty of not being able to make anything useful (not purely decorative) other than crocheted washcloths & potholders, because of the thick fabric. I tried making a sweater but it just didn't drape or look the way I wanted it to. When a good friend was able to re-introduce me to knitting in my early 20's (another skill left-handed me had learned at a tender age from left-handed grandma) I dropped the hook & didn't pick it up again except for crocheted edgings for shawls (very useful). I didn't think much of crocheting until April 2009, when I was in Japan, shopping for crochet books for a Japanese friend back in the US. There was this really cute motif book & all the patterns were charted!!! And the colours... I haven't looked back since, and knitting has just has to share me with crochet these days.
Perhaps the most fun of taking up crochet again, after all these years, is the joy of deconstruction & learning new technical skills. In order to design with crochet, I need to be able to deconstruct the actual stitch patterns to see how they will fit, either together, or in a particular item or garment. Thinking about the fabric that crochet makes- how to make it thin enough for shawls or sweaters, how to use thicker yarns to create interesting lacey things- is really absorbing & rewarding. Add the ease of changing colours in crochet, & it has become *the new obsession*.