Friday, October 9, 2015

I've started a project for the shop I'm calling the "12 Gifts of Christmas" - though stay tuned, there might actually be more! These are quick, fast-moving projects. Some of them - like this first one - get their appeal from yarn with that "wow" factor and simple stitches. The first project came about when I needed to make a comfort shawl, also known as a prayer shawl, for a friend going through a hard time. In creating this pattern I was guided by what Iwould want in a shawl - I'd like it to wrap around me, stay on my shoulders, and feel cosy. I wanted to be extemporaneous, changing between stockinette and garter stitches. I've made a number of these shawls now, including one for the mother of a newborn, who can use hers to snuggle the baby in and nurse discreetly. (But - before I get to the shawl, I'd like to also show off the quilt I made for a special baby, before I knew she was going to be a beautiful girl. I hand-quilted it, and loved every minute of making it... and I was really happy to see the sweet newborn atop her quilt shortly after she was born, when it was still too summery to totally need a quilt.)
Okay, end of colorful digression... the shawl. This was the shop model.
This is a closeup of one just finished, in yarn from my stash (acrylic, mohair, alpaca and nylon) which is the same yarn as a bunch I've got in the shop. With this fuzzy, bulky yarn, you'll need size 13 or 15 needles - I used circulars - and 4-5 skeins, depending on how large you want your shawl to be. You will also need a crochet hook and yarn needle for ending it off. Begin by casting on 5 stitches. Knit one row. First real row: slip first stitch, (YO, K1) four times. {{If you're inclined to use stitch markers, which I generally think of as a royal pain in the patoot, you can put them in at this row wherever you like. Any knitters other than the most diligently conscientious, a.k.a. anal, will quickly lose track of them, because trust me, you don't really need them. Unless you really, really want them.}} row 2 (and all even numbered rows): purl.... unless you'd like to have a garter section, in which case you'll slip the first stitch and knit all the rest except for the Row 3 (and all odd numbered rows) slip first stitch, YO, knit to the center stitch, YO, knit the center stitch, YO, knit until you've got one stitch left on the left-hand needle, YO, knit that stitch.
Here's a shawl in progress. This one, shown at its beginning, with the circular needle curved to show the shawl's shape, has actually progressed mightily since the photo was taken. I'm almost at the end now. You may choose to switch off between stockinette and garter. You can also do a few YO, K2Tog rows for variety now and then, though I saved those for the bottom border. To finish the shawl, I used a smallish crochet hook (a G) to work a single crochet into the first stitch, (CH 3, make a sc by inserting hook through three stitches on left hand needle simultaneously, then finishing stitch as a single crochet) until you get to the middle. "Fudge" here if necessary by working sc, 3 ch, sc in that center stitch. then carry on as before to the end. When all stitches have been worked off the left-hand needle, you might sc or reverse sc along the top of shawl. Use your yarn needle to sew in all ends. Note: the elves are busy and will post more next week...


Marilee Rockley said...

Lovely tweedy yarns going into those shawls! They do look very cozy and warm. The quilt is charming and I'm sure much beloved by the lucky owner.

Karey said...

Thank you - and it's not a chance thing that baby Evangeline has "angel" in her name! Also, believe it or not, in every spare minute I'm tatting... life is good!