Since you’re getting plenty of virus-related content from pretty much everywhere on t’internet – and I want to allow you to take a mental break from that for a few minutes – I’ll just say I hope you’re all safe and well, and remain that way 💜
This week on the blog I’m bringing you another knitting project – after saying at the start of the year that I really wanted to focus on getting back into my knitting, I’m pleased to say that it actually *is* happening. I’ve knitted my first pair of socks (which you might have seen on my Instagram account), I’ve just finished a sweater for the husbeast (which turned out a little meh if I’m honest), I finished a Camaro sweater for me (which, after some uncertainty over whether I liked one of the colours it turns out I actually do, so yay) and my Sorrel sweater is in full swing (which I am keeping EVERYTHING crossed that the mohair doesn’t turn out to be itchy). I even SWATCHED for my Sorrel – something I do like, never because I’m such a rebel 😂
(actually, I swatched because I totally strayed from the recommended yarn and I wanted to check how close I was – turned out pretty close! 🙌🏻)
When we were in New York City back in 2018, the husbeast chose some yarn from Knitty City for a scarf. Knitty City, by the way, is the BEST yarn shop I have ever been in, anywhere in the world. Their selection of yarns, the ambience of their store and the friendliness of the staff is second to none. They’re up on West 79th street, so once you’re done browsing yarn you can shlep on over a block-and-a-half to Central Park and chill (or drool over your purchases). Yarn shops in London are actually pretty poor, to be honest. There’s nothing in central London (you know, where most of the people tend to be), there’s a couple in North London (and by ‘north’, I mean north north – way further out than anyone who doesn’t actually live in North London wants to go just to visit a yarn shop, for sure) but I’m not exactly swimming in options. Which is really surprising, for London, and why I buy 99% of my yarn online.
But – back to that visit to Knitty City. I bought some yarn for myself on that visit too, but I haven’t quite got round to using it yet (read as – I am nowhere near getting round to using it 😂) but I do have some earmarked patterns. That’s progress, at least – right?! The yarn the husbeast chose for himself was the Cascade Luminosa yarn, in a metallic copper-y colour called ‘Sunstone’. It’s 52% viscose, 44% alpaca and 4% wool. The viscose is the copper coloured strand, and the alpaca is the black halo. It’s really beautiful, so pretty in fact that the yarn I bought for myself was the deep purple colourway (‘Garnet’).
The husbeast wanted a scarf made with his. I’ve made scarves in the past, and currently, the only options the husbeast had for a scarf was a sad-looking red one I made him many years ago, or an Ipswich Town Football Club one (eugh, just NO.) We needed a better option.
I browsed many, many patterns on Ravelry, and tried to narrow it down to a list of options that the husbeast could choose from – but I don’t like designs that have an obvious ‘wrong side’. I just think that with a scarf, the chances of the ‘inside’ ending up on the ‘outside’, are pretty high (50%, you might say… ) Eventually, we settled on a shawl rather than a scarf, because they have cool shapes that are much more exciting than a super-dull long rectangle.
I now have enough nice patterns bookmarked in my Ravelry queue to last a lifetime (possibly even multiple lifetimes), but the one we settled on was ‘Salt’ by Sylvia McFadden. Cool texture, plus it looks pretty much the same from the front and back – so it makes my inner nerd happy 🤓
The Luminosa yarn isn’t a direct substitute – the pattern is written for Malabrigo Rios (worsted, 18-22 stitches) but the Luminosa (aran, 18 stitches) is sort of similar. Similar enough for it not to matter – after all, it’s a scarf, and gauge (to an extent) isn’t really important. I went with it. What’s the worst that could happen – it turns out a smidge bigger than expected? Pffffff.
I knitted this shawl over winter, in the evenings, when the light in the living room is absolutely shocking – so I’m afraid there are little-to-none in-progress photos! That pains me a little, because I *LOVE* the in-progress shots, but really, it looks the same after 20 rows as it did at 10, and 30 and 40 rows in doesn’t look much different either. Honestly, you’re better off without the in-progress shots, they’re boring 👀
You still want one? Alrighty. Here ya go.
Underwhelming, huh 👀
Completing the shawl didn’t take too long (from memory) and the triangle pattern was pretty easy to memorise once you’d been going for a few rows. It’s just a combination of knit and purl stitches, nothin’ fancy. The border is garter stitch.
This shawl was the first knitted thing I actually blocked too – yep, I’ve never ever blocked a knitted garment before. Never really needed to – they all looked just fine without being blocked. This shawl, though? Not so much. Wonky donkey edges and the triangles were properly deformed straight off the needle. So, I bought some KnitPro knit blockers (rainbow ones, no less 🌈) and a kids foam play mat set (yes, really 😂) and got to work in the back garden on a sunny day.
My approach did the trick – though I can’t help thinking that maybe blocking wires might have been good to get those edges super straight 👌🏻 I might try that next time. You live and learn, eh. It also took bloody ages to dry – I discovered (afterwards) that a trick to remove the excess water is to roll the knitted thing in a towel before putting it on the blocking mat… will defo do that next time for sure. Oh, and just a heads up on those blockers – the needles on them are EXTREEEEEEEMELY sharp – they are literally like razor needles 🗡 So, if you need to move your foam board with the knitting still on the top of it, do not – I REPEAT, DO NOT – put your hands underneath the board to pick it up. You will regret it if your hand slides underneath where those needles are poking through. Trust me.
This was the first shawl I’ve ever made, but it’s really not that different to knitting a scarf – just a different shape, with some increases here and there to make the triangular shape. Speaking of which, the husbeast is displeased with the shape of this shawl – despite me getting his approval on the pattern before buying it and making the thing, it bothers him that it’s not a symmetrical triangle. It’s slightly off (and it’s meant to be). The left-hand edge of the shawl (the one he’s holding up in the air) is slightly longer than the right-hand edge 🙄
It’s exactly how the pattern is written though, but that – unfortunately – doesn’t help with the husbeast’s OCD over it. He’s also a little meh over the length of the ‘tails’ – he wants to wear the shawl as a scarf, but the tails aren’t quite long enough to come back fully around the neck. I have suggested a shawl clip – the idea of which was received quite positively – but nothing has yet materialised. I’ll probably have to choose one and buy it for him for that to happen in all honesty.
Additionally, the yarn is ever so slightly a tad itchy against his neck. Nothing major – just a smidge – but enough to not want to wear a sweater made of it next to the skin. *Sigh*.
That’s it from me for this week – I know it’s a slightly shorter one (soz 😘) but I am proper jet-lagged and mentally exhausted from highs and lows of first being SO excited to head back to NYC (my fave city), having everything kick off while we were over there and then having to play the Russian Roulette of wondering whether we would actually be able to get a flight home and also if we’d be let back in the country 😳 We made it home (yay!) but I feel like I need to sleep for twenty hours out of every twenty four for a few days so that I can try to return to some form of normal functioning level 🥱😴
In the meantime, here are some photos of the Handsome Husbeast modelling his shawl for your viewing pleasure 👀
Enjoy, and stay safe ✌🏻
Next week on the blog I’ll be talking about that trip to NYC – which featured many business closures, flight cancellations and border restrictions, but also some totally awesome crafty purchases 🤩
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