Hi again all! I know I haven't been around to show you what I'm actually crafting for a while (it's like I just nebulously mention the fact that I'm a crafter and then never offer up any proof), and truthfully although my brain desires me to continue updating you on my knitting, my time management often thwarts my best intentions. Moreso these days when things like school are looming over me ready to begin again. Where did my break go? (That's right...holidays with my family, re-re-locating back to Minneapolis, and mass chaos as I overhaul an apartment that now has WAY too much stuff in it, not just a standard amount of too much stuff.)
On to crafting. I intend to do a bit of a project bags FO parade for you at some point (though I do have a knitting FO for you this week), but for the WIP section you get...the first ever shawl/stole/wrap thing I've ever thought it might be a good idea to knit.
I took a breakout session class at Zombie Knitpocalypse 2015 last summer about shawl styling. I've never knit shawls, almost entirely because I don't actually know what I would do with one. I feel like I always look awkward with them and I don't even really wear the cowl/infinity loop neck decoration wraps that all the kids these days seem to be so into (although I now own two of them and on the occasions that I think about wearing them, I do enjoy them). But! In classes this summer (when the AC was on way too high, thank you School of Business) one of my classmates had this enormous rectangular scarf that she'd bought in France. It seemed to double as a blanket and a bit of a miniature cape thing. I mean, it was huge.
Fastforward to December. As I was contemplating my stash goals for 2016 and deciding to use the oldest yarns first, I saw that there was the remnant ball of sport weight blue alpaca that I'd once made into one of my long list of ill-fitting sweaters earlier on in my knitting career. The yarn wouldn't get gauge so I tried to do math (this is guaranteed to make things go wrong), plus it had a stitch pattern that pulled differently, plus the pattern was written for wool and this was all alpaca and the drape was wrong, etc. etc. etc. Add to it that at the time I had NO IDEA that alpaca was so much warmer than wool, so despite it's somewhat open weave and it being sport weight I was basically guaranteed to start sweating the second I put that sweater on indoors. So I did what any self-respecting knitter who had made a poor choice in yarn/project matching years ago when they didn't know better would do and I ripped it out.
I briefly considered just putting the yarn in the destash bin, but it's so soft and blue and was spun and dyed by a local artist who I don't think is selling anymore and it was some of the first nice yarn I got. So instead, I dove into Ravelry determined to find something to do with 1200 yards of sport weight handspun alpaca.
I knew I didn't want another sweater, or, at least, I was only going to make another sweater that was specifically designed for alpaca yarn and was really truly going to complement the unique qualities of this yarn (and also use it all because I dislike having remnant balls more than I dislike many things). I didn't find anything, so I was on to shawls. That's right. Non-shawl knitter (dare I say anti-shawl-knitter) me was thinking that a shawl would be perfect for this yarn. Now. The thing is. It's cold in Minnesota. And being able to wrap a thing around my face/neck/head under my coat is truly a thing of bliss. That object being made from alpaca...had to be even better.
I tested out a few ideas (the one I really wanted was only available if you bought a full book of patterns and I wasn't THAT ready to commit to shawl knitting) and finally settled on a long rectangular lace wrap (it's not a shawl...it's a scarf!!!) that utilises a lace border and drop stitches to make an open design. It's called Cocoon and is a free pattern by Anne Kuo Lukito. The directions are slightly confusing, as you actually cast on provisionally in the middle and knit one way, then pick up and knit the other way and the directions don't really say that. Also, it's all charted, which is okay for me but I know may not be okay for some. Still, it's easy to follow and I really don't think it NEEDS to be knit centre out and then centre out if you don't want to. I've only done a little over half of the main body (less the edging) mostly because I'm using reclaimed yarn so I don't actually know what half my yarn is, so I'm trying to play a yarn balance game. It's giant, so I imagine you'll be seeing it again at least next week if not also the week after, but here it is as of now:
And here's a sort of a closeup of the pattern detail. It's unblocked lace, so it still looks terrible, but hopefully you can get some idea.