Saturday, 27 June 2015

Eleanor's Pattern of the Weeeeeeeeek - Fantasm Shawl

Summer can be a difficult time of year for knitting and crochet. The sun's out and we're off on holiday (well, you might be... I'm not), other things take over and it gets just too hot to have a heavy thing in your lap. But now is not the time to stop. Now is the time to start. Now is the time to practice stitches and techniques that the long, dark, winter nights render impossible. Now is the time for fancy schmancy shawwwwwwwwwwls! I've been busy ferreting behind the scenes this week, so personal knitting or crochet that I can actually show you is thin on the ground, and therefore I'm going to share with you one of my old favourites. Which is great because I get to show you this photo which honestly makes me want to rip everything I've ever made out and just do this forever:

This is Bethan's Fantasm Shawl in the Rhapsody colourway of the Riot DK and it is beautiful.

I love this shawl. I discovered it waaaaaaaay back when and I've made a lot of them! It's simple, easy and works every time. This is the first one I made:

I was struggling a little with what to do for a top tip today because for me, this pattern was simply, work row by row until you get it and then you're off! It's really simple to see the pattern emerging because it's essentially four rows - the first one you make the shells, the second one you make them a bit bigger, the third one you create some loops and finally you have a really easy rest row where you make loopy loops allllllll across and that sets you up with your spaces to place the shells. I don't think the written pattern makes that very clear at the start but once you've got past 12 rows or so you're set.

Sooooooo, I thought I'd take this right back to basics and talk about shawl shapes. This is a really standard top down triangular shawl. I think before you start making shawls you assume that for a triangular shawl you'll start at the bottom and increase outwards working back and forth until you get the length and the width that you want. Some shawls are written like that, for example the Skulls Shawl.

But that's not how most shawls are made. Most shawls start with a few stitches in the middle and then you work back and forth increasing at the beginning and end of the row and also in the middle. This changes the bias of the fabric and makes it hang better. 

So, this is is Sue's beautiful shawl in the Patons 100% Cotton 4ply.

Look a bit closer:

The yellow spot is where the shawl is started and the red lines are where the increases happen. And that means that the bias runs in two different directions which means it can wrap easier around the body, we're not a flat shape after all. If you ignore one half of this shawl, you get the kind of shawl we've seen above - the bottom up triangular shawl:

So the purple lines (which don't show up great apparently. Sorry) show where that kind of shawl would start, and two increases on each side and then the bias. Just one bias throughout the shawl. It will hang, especially if you use a big hook and a small yarn like Sue has here, but not in the same way.

(This all means, incidentally, that you could double (roughly, might not be perfect so have a think) the initial amount of stitches, join in the round and make a square thing out of a triangular shawl if you want a blanket or a table cloth or..... omg. I've just had an idea. I'm not giving it away I'm going to sell it to King Cole. Fml. WHAT AN IDEA! So much to do, so little time.).

You don't have to worry about this. This is all written into the pattern and it will be in each top down triangular pattern that you come across but it's always worth trying to understand what's going on so that firstly, you can choose the pattern that works for you and what you need it to and secondly you can see if things are going wrong. And also, just in general, knowledge is power.

That's it. I'm off to tidy a little more, prepare for the lesson tomorrow (Learn to Knit Two - the ladies last week were brill but bloody chatterboxes. Haha. That's the way I like them :) ), and then I can carry on with my latest project:

Which, I know you're thinking it, isn't knitting or crochet. It is in fact beading. I am sooooooo bored with it but the final product is going to be the most beautiful and the most useful thing in the world so I'm keeping going. I can't wait to get back to the myriad projects that I have on the go and my new idea! SO MUCH TO DO!


Love Eleanor. xxxxx

P.s. You best have bloody voted for us. OR ELSE.

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