Friday, 12 June 2015

Eleanor's Pattern of the Weeeeeeeeek - Bobica

I admit it, this is a selfish one. It's a pattern that I wrote and it's the subject of a lesson on Sunday. It's all about the beautiful Bobica:

So, I think lots of people are scared of shawls. Scared to knit/crochet them and scared to wear them. Knitting and crochet will come later but let me explain how I think of them to wear. In the summer, they're just a fancy alternative to cardigans and in the winter they're a fancy alternative to scarves. Dead easy. If you're worried - avoid (beautiful but eye catching) yarns like Verity's above and stick to something much plainer. I admit, my favourite shawl that I ever made was an Elise in black Cottonsoft. I wore it so much over a couple of years and then left it on a bus and it was never to be seen again. I'm trying to work out something similar that isn't Elise at the minute because I'm just that bloody sick of making it. Haha. Anyway, make one and wear it and nobody will point and laugh and nobody will think you're a Victorian granny people will look straight past you because they're all stuck in their own belly buttons. Shawls are quick and easy to make, gauge doesn't matter as such, and you can wear them in a million ways. I'm always certainly going to do a blog about different ways to wear them so bear with.

Onto the crocheting. Shall we have a close up?

Now, I didn't design this to be easy. I don't know what it is, but once you've got the stitches in crochet then it's all pretty easy. Yes? I wanted there to be something all the way that made you think. So the repeat, whilst looking like a basically 3 row repeat is actually a 6 row repeat and you have to know the difference between front post treble and back post treble and after having followed the instructions for the first two repeats or so you should be able to see when or why that happens. There are also two 'spines' running down at the third points of the shawl which are the opposite to whatever you're doing on the repeats.

I think the thing that I want to talk about, and what I'll call my top tip for this week, is shawl gauge. Shawls should always be knitted or crocheted at a much looser gauge than the yarn would suggest. Pretty much. There's always going to be exceptions. But, for example, with a 4ply yarn I'd be looking at using somewhere between a 3.5/4.5mm hook or needle with a shawl whereas with a cardigan or jumper it'd be more like 3mm or 3.25mm. This allows the lace to show easier - simply, the holes are bigger but it also gives you the drape. You don't want a shawl to be standing off you like cardboard, you want it to be hanging and billowing around your shoulders like a beautiful mermaid. Ahhhhh. And I think this gets to the heart of what scares a lot of people - they see 4ply or even lace - and think 'Ahhhhhhh, I've got to work with tiny tiny needles/hooks'. Nope, nah, nu-uh. You work with similar needles as you'd use with a dk. Boom right?! It also, if you're starting with lace in either knitting or crochet, that you're stitches (when they're not on the needles) should be easier to read, up to a certain point. The holes will be bigger, you will be able to see the skeletons of the decreases (as it were, as in, which stitch goes under which stitch and therefore where it leans in knitting).

In crochet, this larger hook means that the stitches will be taller - the trunk of the stitch will be easier to define from the trunk of the last stitch. Which puts you in great stead for the Bobica pattern because this pattern is allllll about the trunk (isn't everything in life....?).

By trunk I mean that post of the stitch (red arrow) as opposed to the top of the stitch that you work into (blue arrow). 

A lot of the stitches are worked around the trunk, but certainly, the trunks lead on from each other and carry on until the end of the pattern. You can see that best in the middle of the shawls on both the top and bottom one below - very clear vertical lines that follow on from eachother and have a cherry every now and again? That's the start of reading this pattern. Understanding the importance of trunks.

Now, why am I talk about the Bobica shawl today? Firstly, because it's bloody miserable outside and I always think of this as Springy and Summery and cheery. I do hate this time of year, I hate how everybody forgets that they knit and crochet in favour of gardening and beer gardening. Haha. But what I hate most is when it's bloody hot and rainy because then none of us enjoy a busy shop or our gardening. Gah! Haha. So I'm featuring it, and wearing it, to cheer me up. Selfishly.

But also, unselfish, because you have the chance to come on one of our lessons! I know you lot know, because you're reading here and therefore are our regulars, the our lessons are always bloody booked up and impossible to get on to. But this one isn't! We've had a couple of cancellations this week which means that I can fit you on! So, click here to book. On the day we're going to go through all of the stitches and techniques, how to bead in crochet, how to work front and back post trebles and other bits. How to read the pattern bearing in mind that it's charted as well as written, so we'll be going through both. I was careful to use fairly standard abbreviations and things so this info can be carried on into other patterns. And we're going to cover blocking. I'm bringing my pins and my blocking boards in and everything! It's so important for lace and for shawls separately so this is getting covered. Now, you get the yarn that you need and the beads that you need and the full colour printed pattern on the day as well as biscuits and tea obvs. You have to bring your own hooks so everything from a 3.5mm to a 5mm and a beading hook at .75mm but we can provide them on the day to buy if you need. And finally, what do you need to be able to do? Well, that's a difficult one. The stitches are no more difficult than a granny square but I'd like you to be confident with granny squares and a little scared of other things. Which is I think where a lot of you are. The lesson is very pinpointed towards this pattern but once you've seen this pattern, and it's taken your breath away at the beginning of the lesson, you'll be absolutely amazed at how far you'll come by the end of the day. You will leave confident. Fact.

And that's it, I've got to put the finishing touches to the lesson and print them out before tidying up so that I'm ready for the Knit In Public Booze Up tonight. Woohooo!

Love Eleanor. xxxxxxx

P.s. You have voted for us right. ;)

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