Well, April’s challenge shawl certainly turned out to be challenging! I had chosen to knit Crushed by Remilyknits (Rachel Henry) in semi-solid colourway Poppies. The Yorkshire Rose BFL yarn by Wharfedale Woolworks is 110g per skein, 385m approximately. The pattern calls for 4.5mm needles, and I debated whether to use 4mm instead as the metreage was pretty tight. In the end I went with the pattern. Note to self: if in doubt, go with gut instinct.
The main body of the shawl is an all over tracery, and knitted up fairly quickly using three repeats of a single chart. At the end of the body, I had 24g of yarn left, which I calculated equated to 84m. I knitted the first two rows of the edging chart and recalculated. It looked like I would have enough yarn – just. I continued knitting the edge chart, weighing and recalculating the yarn left after each right side/wrong side pair of rows. I got to the end of the third pair (of 5) and had only approximately 10g or 35m left. At the rate I was using the yarn, there would be none left for casting off, if I completed all 10 rows of the edge. I decided to knit up to row 8 and then cast off. When I had finished I was left with 3g of yarn, so I had been right to stop early. If the border pattern had not featured 7-stitch nupps, I might have managed with the amount of yarn I had. I like the effect that nupps give to a piece of knitting, but I have to say I don’t like knitting them. Creating the up on the right side is not a problem – *k, yo* 3 times, k into one stitch – it is trying to purl all seven stitches together on the wrong side that I find impossible. All the books tell you to make the stitches very very loose and it will work. Well I have made them so loose they won’t stay on the needle and I still can’t pull the yarn through all seven with an ordinary knitting needle. So I now resort to using a tapestry needle threaded with a loop of the yarn and sew it through the seven stitches from left to right, mimicking the action of purling, then remove the needle and loop the yarn over the working needle pulling taut. This gives the desired effect, but is rather cack-handed and interrupts the smooth flow of knitting.
This was a nice pattern to knit, I may even do it again, with a larger skein of yarn to be on the safe side or using beads instead of nupps, but I have definitely learned a valuable lesson.
The next shawl will also use Wharfedale Woolworks’ Yorkshire Rose BFL, colourway Sweet Peas, which was a limited edition hand dyed skein from the 2014 Flora Sock Club. This is one of my favourite colours, soft lavendery purple with a hint here and there of pink. The pattern I am using is Asterope by Rosemary Hill, part of her collection Seven Small Shawls Year 1: The Pleiades. Asterope is a small curved shawl with a larger option. It has a beautiful lace flower motif and plenty of solid knitting as well which should show off the beautiful colouring of the yarn to perfection.
Ravelry project notes for Crushed Poppies can be found at http://www.ravelry.com/projects/flowform/crushed
Ravelry project notes for Asterope in Sweet Peas can be found at http://www.ravelry.com/projects/flowform/asterope