Something about a shawl?

There was something that people wanted me to talk about? A scarf? A shawl? Oh right, the shawl I knit for my friend’s wedding. This one, right?

Wedding Shawl

The gory details for anyone who wants to skip the actual discussion:

Pattern: Nikol Lohr’s Woodland Shawl
Yarn: 696 yards (3 balls) of Elann.com’s Silken Kydd in the Raspberry colorway
Needles: 4.0mm cheap metal circular needles that worked for the project but should probably be replaced (anyone want to buy me a set of interchangeables? I’ll make cookies!)
Notes: I used 6/0 beads that I picked up from Michael’s and two different sizes of crochet hooks (1.65mm and 1.25mm, I believe). Also, I added one pattern repeat to the sides to make it a teeny bit wider, following Nikol’s pattern instructions.

Discussion: Many moons ago, my dear friend Chrysta had said she had purchased a shawl from an Etsy vendor to wear over her shoulders on her wedding day, but that the shawl she had bought wasn’t quite what she wanted. Quickly, and with needles in hand, I volunteered to knit her a shawl that would hopefully be more in line with what she wanted. I used my Ravel-fu (yes, that is what I said) to look up patterns that fit what she was looking for (lacy, oblong, not too dense but not too open), and visited a variety of websites to find just the right kind of yarn that was kind of fuzzy and soft, and then had the brilliant idea of adding beads, because sparklies make everything better, right?

Have I mentioned before that, prior to this project, I had not knit a lot of lace, never worked with mohair yarn, and never added beads to my knitting? I probably did. Because only now do I realize that I’m a little bit insane. (Okay, I may have known that before.)

Finished shawl

So, I began to knit the shawl. And then I got to the point where I was going to add the beads. Since I was using a fuzzy yarn with mohair, I didn’t think that pre-stringing the beads would have been the best idea. Betsy, a gal that I met through our knitting group, suggested using a crochet hook, and simply adding the beads to the knit loops. Brilliant, says I. So much easier than trying to pre-string the yarn. And this is probably true. However, it’s made more difficult when your crochet hook is just a smidgen too large for the majority of the beads. But I persevered for a little while and then realized that they sell smaller crochet hooks.

Shh. Sometimes these things take a while.

Speaking of things that take a while, let’s discuss the repeats of this shawl. Each repeat, which is 16 rows of knitting across 103 stitches and adding about 60 beads, took me around two and a half hours at first. Most of that was fighting with the crochet hook and bead scenario.

Now, two and a half hours spent knitting is very much time well-spent, but it also meant that, given my work schedule and the fact that I enjoy sleeping, this was pretty much the only knitting that I did during the three and a half weeks I was working on the shawl. It also turned me into something of a shut-in, because the idea of transporting slippery yarn on slick metal needles, an itty bitty crochet hook, and a gazillion beads just did not seem all that appealing to me.

The pattern itself is really quite easy to memorize. Combining this pattern with the yarn resulted in a nice, airy shawl that has a really nice design that isn’t incredibly defined. I think this really worked for this project, as I didn’t want something that would be overwhelming with the combination of pattern, fuzzy lace, and beads.

Blocking the shawl

This was also my first time really blocking something. I mostly knit socks, and my sock blockers are these two things I call “my feet.” I don’t currently own blocking boards, but Target sells foam board and that has a similar principle, right? Eh, it worked. I was able to stab the pins in the boards, and they only warped a little bit from the water. I did buy some pins from Knit Picks, as well as their blocking wires kit to straighten out the ends (and for future blocking purposes, obviously), and I really liked the way the whole thing turned out. My cat also likes the pins and tried to eat the yellow flowers. She’s special.

Chrysta's Shawl

Also special is my friend Chrysta, though in a totally different way. Well, maybe also in a very similar way, as she kept referring to it as a “scarf”, but we’re blaming that on pre-wedding mental breakdown. And she also seems to like the way the shawl turned out. I was worried about the shawl being not quite long enough, as it only came to about 5 feet when it was blocked. But it seems to work really well.

Corey modeling the shawl

Even her new husband likes to wear the shawl! Okay “like” may be too strong of a word, but he likes her well enough to let her drape a lacy shawl on his shoulders. That’s a winner in my book.

Chrysta's Shawl

I’m really happy I was able to fly out to Fort Collins, Colorado, to attend the wedding and give Chrysta the shawl in person. I love giving knitted gifts to people on any occasion, but this was especially wonderful for me to know and witness this gift having a part to play (so to speak) on Chrysta’s special day. I hope it’s something that she’ll be able to use and wear for many years to come (it’s really scrunchy, so she could use it as a scarf is she so desired). Congratulations, Chrysta and Corey!

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