Sunday, August 26, 2007

Flower Basket Shawl

Here's what I've been doing during the precious time the baby naps while we're out and about. I pull over in a shady spot for some time to myself:

It's the Flower Basket Shawl originally from Interweave Knits Fall 2004. I started it on August 2nd, and finished knitting on the 24th.

A few things about this project:
  • I wanted to do a "real" lace project. I did a swap with the talented and prolific Z's Momma through the Knitty Coffeeshop and got this beautiful navy cashmere yarn as well as Lace Style, which I read intently
  • I picked this pattern (available to purchase, if you can't track down the magazine) because I love the way it looks; it didn't seem too difficult; and many knitters with blogs have done it in the past, so I was able to get a lot of advice
  • But I did want a challenge, and knew this would be because I hadn't followed a chart like this before, and the yarn is thin and held double
  • I'm planning on making Birch and also swapped and got the Kid Silk Haze. This shawl was intended to be a confidence-builder for that project
  • I did a swatch and ended up using 9's to match the gauge. I knit rather loosely so this surprised me, and in the end, even without doing the last repeat, it blocked to almost the suggested 57 x 27"
Well, I cannot tell you how great a learning experience this project was. I made so many mistakes. Some I was able to fix, some not. Yes, a lot of errors are visible, but I decided that's okay, which was not easy for this perfectionist. I got good a feeling for the pattern, finally, and realized the main mistake I was making was not slipping the stitch over on the sl/k2tog/psso.

I also went on faith that it would turn out. This is lace advice that I came across again and again, not to look back at what you have done, because it never resembles the final product. I couldn't even visualize how I was starting at the neck but not casting on "enough" stitches. I knew my shawl wouldn't look like the magazine because I was substituting yarn, and wanted a more "airy" look. Here's how it looked before washing and blocking:

I took advice from the Yarn Harlot on blocking. Weaving yarn through the top edge was a great idea. It just fit on my blocking board.

The best thing about this practice shawl? I love it! I just wish I could get a photo that does it justice. I wanted something to dress up the jeans and t-shirts I seem to wear all the time. And since it isn't perfect I don't feel like it is a precious heirloom I don't dare wear to the playground.


z's momma said...

I'm so glad you've used the yarn. It turned out beautiful! Another pretty shawl is Shetland triangle from Wrapstyle.

If you like birch, you might want to do kiri (it's done in the opposite direction), a free pattern from

Janice said...

Thank you.
I have been meaning to check Kiri out further.

Sabrina Hirsch said...

Hi Janice,
I love your comment on my blog and I really love your shawl. I too have been wanting to do a lace shawl...maybe I will have to try that pattern!