Friday, March 27, 2015
Knitting: Onward shawl.
I love the end result, but I have to admit I'm relieved that this shawl is finally done. :)
This is my Onward shawl, and I've been working on it forever. Okay, so maybe it was just a month and a half. There wasn't a problem with the pattern...it's well written, and like I said, I really, really love the finished shawl.
But here's the thing: I'm not an intuitive knitter. Unless I've knitted something multiple times or it's just a very simple pattern, I'm not good at figuring out what should be happening. I've read lots of people say that this pattern was easy to memorize. There are four main stitch sections that are repeated a certain number of times, and while two of those sections were easy for me to remember, the other two weren't, so I had to keep track by the pattern. Also, by the time you're nearing the end, the rows are getting pretty long and time-consuming, so it seemed slow going.
Plus there's this weird phenomenon with big, worsted weight shawls like this...the shawl is bunched up on your needles, and you know it's growing because you're using up more yarn and it's getting heavier, but you can't stretch it out and see your progress. Of course there's a magical moment when you're binding off and realize just how big the shawl is, but it's sort of disheartening during the actual knitting. :)
I used KnitPicks' Wool of the Andes worsted in the Cobblestone Heather colorway. It's a nice, dark-without-being-too-dark gray. I've knitted with a lot of WOTA, and it's not the softest yarn, but this particular batch felt especially coarse. (And I don't consider myself sensitive to wool at all!) I was happy to find that it softened up quite a bit after soaking, though. Also, in my experience, this yarn grows after soaking (my Lady Marple sweater unexpectedly gained three inches in length), which I was grateful for this time because it meant the shawl turned out even larger than I expected. (I can't remember the exact measurements, but it was about 3 inches longer than the pattern said and about 8-9 inches wider.)
(I don't think I've mentioned this before, but when I knit with WOTA, spit splicing is my best friend. It sounds grosser than it is...I don't actually use spit. I just run a little water from the sink into my hand, ha. Anyway, I hate weaving in ends, and splicing different balls of yarn together solves that. I used seven or eight balls of yarn in this shawl and only had to weave in two ends! WOTA is a fuzzier, loosely spun yarn, so I've found that the joins are basically invisible and they hold up.)
So, enough about the process and on to the finished item: have I mentioned that I love it? :) It's dense and huge and cozy and I love the texture of the stitch pattern. I know I'll get a lot of use out of it! After I knitted my Lark Rise shawl, I wondered how much I would actually use it. I ended up wearing that one around the house nearly every day over the past three winters. It's very pilled and slightly ragged-looking now, which is why I decided to knit a new shawl. Though I don't think this one will be designated a "house shawl" for quite a while yet! :) Even if I don't wear it out in the traditional way, I can still wrap it around my shoulders and neck. Next winter, that is. It seems I finished this shawl just in time for spring...
Ravelry project page.
P.S. I made my shirt, too. It's a Renfrew t-shirt I never blogged about that I sewed last Halloween. Just the long-sleeved version made from some gray and navy striped rayon/poly blend from Hobby Lobby.