I’m SO EXCITED!!!  I just finished doing the edging and weaving the ends in…shawl is soaking in wash and will be blocked out later, but all the handwork is done!  I am very proud of the way it turned out.  The drape of the shawl with the yarn weight, the fabric content of the yarn, and the recommended crochet hook made for a lovely hand.  The yarn feels dreamy in my hands, and worked up to an incredible fabric.  I can’t wait to see what it looks like all blocked out and dried.  I’m so relieved and excited to have this shawl done in plenty of time to send to my recipient (once shawl is all dried and blocked, it will be a zero stress factor), but relieved that I was able to complete the shawl.  I was nervous about not having the skills to do it…choosing a pattern I had never done before–and couldn’t see beforehand–was not exactly a conservative move!  It is a very feminine and delicate design; I know I really love it, and I hope my recipient does, too.  I will post pictures in a few days after the shawl is all blocked out.

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Getting close to finishing

Starting row 63 and am a bit stuck; not sure how to work the “bobbles” from the directions.  Thought I’d post my progress so far…the end is so close!

Gathering Leaves Shawl

Home stretch--almost done!

Shawl detail

Shawl detail

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Still going

Turns out row 47 was correct–thank goodness for the designer including a diagram so I had something visual to check my work against!  I was doing row 47 right all along, but it looked like it was wrong.  I’m on row 57 now; I only wish I had some big blocks of time to work a lot on it.  I only have until row 67 for the main body of the shawl, then the edging, then I am done–all I’ll have to do is wash and block it, and I’ll be done (though the rows are getting longer and longer to crochet).  My personal goal is to finish it by November 30 so there’s no stress factor in hurrying to finish before it has to be sent out in January.  Looking good so far…this crocheted fabric really feels beautiful in my hands.  I hope the recipient loves it as much as I am!

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I’m stuck on row 47.  I’m not sure what doesn’t seem to be going right, but my work and the instructions are not lining up with each other.  I checked my work on row 46 and it seems to be fine, so I’m not sure what I’m doing wrong.  I put the shawl away for now and will look at it either later today or tomorrow…maybe I just need some time away to gain some perspective?  Up until this point, it was coming along really well and looks nice.  It’s really great to see the design emerge once you get farther along in the pattern.

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And I’m off!

Okay…I fibbed.  Instead of starting this on Monday as I had originally planned, I wound up starting this in the wee hours of this morning (Saturday); hubby was at the hospital and I needed something constructive to keep me busy (something to do besides excessively worry)!  Pattern is slow-going for me, only because I seem to keep missing reading stitches in the pattern, then I have to go back and rip out my mistakes–ARGH!  Took me 3 tries to get row 8 right, but I finally got it and I’m beginning row 9.  It looks nice so far, definitely requires paying attention!  The camera doesn’t seem to do the yarn color justice.  The nice part of the symmetry of the pattern is that it makes it easier to catch your mistakes.  All in all, it is a very enjoyable crochet.  I’m VERY GLAD I went with the fingering weight instead of the laceweight…somehow, the fingering weight feels “right” working with it for this project.

I hope mine looks as nice as the designer’s, Lily, when I’m done!

shawl swatch

Beginning of shawl, rows 1-8--beginning to see the leaf pattern emerge!

Day 1 Shawl

Not bad for a day's work...results of the first day of working on the shawl.

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Got my yarn today!

silk/merino blend in color "Jade"

So soft and cushiony, you could use it as a dreamy pillow for your head!

I got the yarn today (earlier than expected)…it’s just GORGEOUS!!!  So soft (merino/silk blend), and that silk really makes the yarn gleam.  The color is such a rich shade of deep green–I hope my shawl swap partner loves it as much as I do (and I’m a blue girl!)!  Hope to begin on Monday, October 25.  I’m nervous about the pattern, as I’ve never made a shawl from it…I hope it’s not beyond my skill level.  It probably wasn’t a wise move trying something new for the shawl swap, but I couldn’t resist the pattern.

Just finished up a shawl my mom asked me to make for a friend of hers, so I’ll be able to start this shawl “guilt free” now–hooray!  (one less WIP)

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Confirmed Shawl Junkie!

I LOVE shawls.  I love making them…watching the design take shape from a small, formless piece to a fine finished product.  I love wearing them–they’re like a handmade hug around me.  I love using them as a way to add color to an outfit.  I love using them as a way to up my “girly factor”, too.  For me, a shawl is a signature piece.  I rarely if ever leave the house without one–I use them for warmth, as an accent of color, and for a kind of “security blanket”.

I saw a quote a while ago about shawls that I just loved–the quote echoes my exact sentiments about why I love shawls–and wanted to share it.  This is the introduction from Martha Waterman’s book, “Traditional Knitted Lace Shawls”, (c) 1998 (emphasis in bold italics is mine):

“There is nothing else knitted that I like to dream up, plan, knit, finish, wear, use or give as a gift so much as a shawl. To me there is an endless fascination in the various shapes, stitch patterns, colors, and fabrics that make shawls my favorite knitting. As much as I love a good sweater, the fun of them is sometimes clouded by anxiety about fit, and besides that, they’re finished much too soon. Sometimes the heavier weights of yarn make my hands ache, too.

But shawls are of lovely, light-weight yarn, their patterns are fun to knit (especially with a lot of yarn-overs), and they can be any size; they don’t have to fit.

Shawls have enjoyed a central place in women’s wardrobes many times in fashion history–in the Napoleanic era, in Victorian times, and then again briefly in the late ’60s/early ’70s during the craze for “granny” and “peasant” looks. Recently, paisley print shawls have made a comeback as a bright accessory over conservative winter coats and blazers.

Even when out of fashion, shawls have remained a staple clothing item amongst women who cared little for fashion’s dictates: country-women and elderly women. Attracted by their warmth, usefulness, and practicality, these wise women kept a shawl on a nail by the back door, or over the back of their favorite chair. I know my Irish/Welsh great-grandmother did this; we have her shawl to this day (althought it is a woven one). My mother recalls that Great-Grandma snatched up her shawl on the way to the henhouse, throwing most of it over herself and using a spare corner in which to collect the eggs.

The beauty of shawl wearing is in its flexibility. A shawl can cover any chilly part of your body–head, feet, knees, shoulders. Wool in particular holds in body heat. We know that simply covering the head and shoulders makes one feel instantly warmer. A shawl can do this quickly and easily, while a sweater leaves your head bare. When you’re warm enough, it takes only a second to throw off a shawl. In a suitcase, a shawl takes up no more room than a sweater, but on a plane, or in the car, which would you rather take a nap under?

A shawl can also serve as a pillow, picnic cloth, umbrella (of sorts), carrying bag, or seat cushion. In a pinch, a shawl can be mosquito netting, an evening wrap, and a dressing gown (even a dressing room!) all on the same trip!

If knitted shawls are a pleasure to wear and use, they are equally rewarding as a showcase for your knitting skills. Stitch patterns, yarns, and colors can range from the simple and charming to the very elaborate and elegant. Few who value quality handcrafts can can resist the beauties of a well-knitted shawl. If praise and admiration please you, you can expect your fair share as a shawl knitter.

A handknit shawl also makes a splendid gift. A new baby and its mother, a child in the hospital, a friend moving away, even a bachelor brother-in-law can find wamth and comfort in such a gift, especially if made to suit the tastes of each recipient. Such shawls may be treasured as heirlooms providing a sense of continuity and security that no machine-made object can match.

All this in a simple knitted shawl? Try one now, and see for yourself.”

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