I've been a knitter for as long as I can remember and I've attempted some tricky things over the years, like fair isle and lace knitting and also socks, but must admit that those challenges were rather tense, and involved soothing my nerves with copious amounts of Green & Blacks choccie (not a bad thing really).
No, I'm a bit of a plain and simple gal, revelling in the rhythmic and meditative patterns of easy makes. I say "easy", but I still have my moments of "arrghh!" when my tension is wobbly or loose, or I'm TOO relaxed and end up going a bit wonky. (rustic charm?)
My daughter is getting married next May on the West Coast of Scotland, outside, on a beach. Potentially rather chilly! She wanted a cosy shawl to wear over her wedding dress and I was given the honour of making it!
I popped over to Ravelry, and must have looked at hundreds of patterns. Most of them fairly elaborate. I found this one... "Tristano" by Dee O'Keefe. Stunning eh? I promptly bought it.
Lovely, lovely pattern, so well written, but a bit beyond my peri-menopausal brain capacity.
Then I found this one...mostly plain with a rather nifty, wavy border.
The "Ho'okipa" shawl by Paulina Popiolek is named after a beautiful beach on Maui. I fell in love with those gorgeous waves! By shutting myself away upstairs every night in complete silence, I was able to do the pattern (which is beautifully and clearly written) but oh.my.goodness, I could not keep my tension right. The silky yarn (more on that later) was soooo slippery, that my stocking stitch looked uneven and scruffy. I had to concentrate so hard to make my brain fire on all cylinders that I wasn't enjoying making it either. Sitting there, as tense as a drum skin night after night was not my idea of happy crafting!
I wrestled with myself a bit, wanting to make something special for my daughter, but knowing deep in my heart that the most loving thing I could do was make something that really reflected my homely, down-to-earth and normal way of making things. I've crocheted blankets over the years in my favourite granny shell stitch, wrapping my loved ones up in stripes of warm, simple love. It made perfect sense to wrap my daughter up in the same way. So, back to the drawing board.
I was rummaging round Ravelry again when I came across this pattern....
|"Crochet Granny Triangle Shawl"|
I fell in love with it instantly, imagining it in one shade of creamy/natural yarn. I felt as if I'd come home, back to my roots of simple, gentle yarny goodness and my excitement grew. The pattern is called "Crochet Granny Triangle Shawl" by Zeens and Roger. The pattern writer, Rosina blogs over HERE, and it's such a lovely place to visit. :) Rosina also provided the pattern FREE, woo hoo!
I tend to struggle a bit with following crochet patterns, and usually need photo tutorials, so I was extra grateful for the piccies on Rosina's blog.
It wasn't long before I was hooking away, enjoying the gentle, familiar rhythm, and able to think about and pray for my daughter, rather than be completely consumed with having to concentrate hard. I am also enjoying being by the fireside with my family every evening, chatting away, instead of being holed up in the spare bedroom in silence! :)
The yarn I went for is this one...
Drops Baby Alpaca Silk, which is 70% alpaca, 30% silk. I am usually a Stylecraft girl, as you can see from the blanket in the pic. (Lucy's wonderful Cosy Stripe blanket). I wanted to make the wedding shawl with something a bit more luxurious, but having very sketchy experience of luxury yarns, I went with the one with the most happy reviews.
It's 4ply and rather thin at that, and for me, soooo slippery to work with but the end result is smooshy and soft as butter. Cosy too, which will be very welcome on a windswept beach!
Progress, so far...
My work is far from perfect, but I still love it. It's the real deal, a genuine effort from a loving Ma, and the scalloped edge will be spot on for a beachy wedding.
I started working on the DK version of the pattern without realised there was a 4ply one, but I like the closer texture best I think.
See how tiny the stitches are, compared to DK?...
My thanks to Rosina for a fabulous, easy-to-understand pattern! I think this will become my go-to pattern for cosy shawls. Think of all the different colour combinations I could make!
Ta-ta for now! xxx