Thursday, July 5, 2012

The Perfect Shawl

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This shawl is one of my most favorite things I’ve ever made.  Everything about it just worked, which, as you know, doesn’t always happen.  I had wonderful yarn, and plenty of it, and it was 70% off [!!!!!], the pattern was easy, and it looks just the way I hoped it would. 
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Sometimes, these things can make me look a little granny-ish.  I am not one of those willowy types with long straight legs and hair who can wear a crocheted wrap with any kind of irony.  I am a little bit dumpy.  I can accept that.  But this shawl is so perfect, it makes me feel perfect, too.  Wearing it, I feel like it’s 1970, and I live in Laurel Canyon, and I am writing folk music and cooking lentils and living with Graham Nash. 
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Inspiration for this came from here (scroll down) and the minute I saw that photo, I wanted my own elbow-length gray shawl, crocheted in chunky yarn.  She said hers was a shop purchase, so I started trolling Ravelry until I found this pattern, which gave me what I wanted—a triangular shape in an overall shell stitch that’s maybe not too hard.  When it came time to work the edging, I studied Vanessa’s photo again and improvised.  It was the edging and the fringe that I really loved about hers. 
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Whoops, I see where I missed a fringe—okay, fixed now.  Here are my notes:  I worked the pattern exactly as written (although at a much larger gauge) in Ella Rae Latte, color 03 (which is a light pearl gray) on a US J hook, until the piece reached just above my elbow when I tried it on, ending with a row 10.  Then I worked a row of hdc (all my crochet terms are US) along the edge, eyeballing how many hdcs to put where so it laid flat and didn’t pull in or ruffle.  On the next row, I worked (ch 8, skip next 8 sts, sc) across.  For row 3:  10 dc in each ch 8 space, across.  Row 4:  (dc in the first 8 stitches, skip the next 2 sts) across.  [Skipping those two stitches in row four—which should happen directly on top of the sc from row 2—leaves a space in which to attach fringe.]  Deal with the center point intuitively, making sure there’s a sc in row 2 and a space for fringe in row 4 directly on the point.  I just shortened the ch 8s when I got there.  Make sure you do both sides the same. Then I cut 24” lengths of yarn for the fringe, and hooked three strands, folded in half, through each hole in row 4.  I worked a row of hdc across the top edge, again kind of eyeballing to see how many stitches I needed, so it laid flat and didn’t pull in or ruffle. 
Crochet instructions always look like chicken scratching to me.  I hope you know what I mean up there—you’re all way better at this than I am, and I know you’ll be fine.  Just hook what looks good! 
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Two things:  first, the pattern has a few punctuation problems, which, if you’re like me and you rely on every parenthetical and comma to tell you what to do, you might have to crochet by the seat of your pants.  But I got there in the end (with no ripping back) and you will, too.  Second, it looks like there’s some controversy in yarnland, regarding the fiber content of the Latte, which is a softly spun single-ply chunky weight.  I am here to report that regardless of whether or not it actually contains 30% alpaca and 30% milk (which is what it says on the label) it is soft and lofty and has a beautiful sheen, and I’m not disappointed.  Then again, I got it for a huge bargain, so that might be keeping my expectations low.  We’ll see how it wears, but so far, I’m very happy.  If you’re looking for a sub, you could try Malabrigo
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Now, if only it weren’t 90 degrees.

37 comments:

  1. Wow! Stunning! (Your Not Dumpy)

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  2. Beautiful colour and you pull it off well, it looks fab and you really aren't dumpy. I don't think there's enough irony anywhere that would allow me to wear a shawl without looking like a granny!Hey ho, I'll admire yours instead.
    Great work, as always!
    x

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  3. Its gorgeous karen I love the colour too...goes with most things. Its giving me ideas!!!
    I'm very much a shawl person and I'd say I'm more than dumpy unfortunately but they are such a practical thing to have.
    Where did you get the idea you are dumpy? I just don't see where!!! LOL

    Amanda :-)

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    1. Thanks, y'all. I think it comes from having one of those leggy, willowy girls with the long mermaid-ish Disney princess hair for a daughter! I just don't hold up by comparison, not that it stops me from wearing my millions of shawls, no ma'am. :)

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  4. This is too lovely ! I am also making a shawl too and improvising on the last bit. I am also wondering why I decide to make these things when it is 100 degrees outside .
    Love your shawl, I will have to try it.

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  5. How lovely!

    I love the colour. I went to asda today and they had some really lovely cardigans! It reminded me of the shawl. I think I may make one!

    Kate

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  6. Absolutely lovely! This pattern is so pretty and feminine and beautiful. You did an awesome job :)
    m.

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  7. I can absolutely relate to your initial feelings about wearing a wrap, and had to smile as I read how wonderfully your beautiful new shawl worked out for you.(love the 70s references!) I used to worry about how I looked, but not anymore! Now I just do what makes me happy. I'll be putting this one in my queue for sure.

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  8. it's very lovely, and you are justly proud of it. I agree that some clothes just make you FEEL as if you are living a different life - a fantasy one, just for a little while. 'Tis quite nice sometimes...

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  9. The shawl turned out gorgeous! I'm not seeing dumpy at all. :)

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  10. It's beautiful!!! Just printed out the directions to give it a try! Thanks! :)

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  11. Oh it's beautiful and such a pretty colour!
    Victoria xx

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  12. Awesome! I can't wait to make this. I think it's the fringe...or maybe the color, (that yarn is scrumptious)that makes this shawl so appealing. Thanks for sharing all your details. I'm going to look for yarn now!

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  13. This is the best thing about the craft blogging world. There's a pattern you might appreciate, but not consider making for yourself. Then someone else makes it and posts pictures, giving it a whole new mood and context, and suddenly it becomes one of those things you simply MUST have!

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  14. Super lovely! And I would say that would be wearable even at 75 degrees:)

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  15. Love it!! you did a fantastic job!!!

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  16. That is beautiful!!! Well done. I would love to make one,,,,hmm not sure if I am quite good enough yet though lol.

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  17. That is soo lovely ty for sharing it with us I love to look at pretties.

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  18. You are so right, the shawl is perfect for you!

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  19. Beautiful shawl! You've inspired me!!! xxx

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  20. Oh my goodness!,, I love, I love it, I love it!!! And I can't believe how quickly you finished. I'm going to try mine. I have a Malabrigo but much less yarn ( I think the pattern said 1,000 yards) I couldn't start yet, but it's on my list for tomorrow after work. Love it... Gorgeous.
    Ps: and you look wonderful on it :)

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    1. Thanks very much! I used only (wait, must do math...) 650 yards of yarn for this shawl, so three skeins of Malabrigo should do it. My gauge is very different from the pattern--if you worked all 38 rows as given, you'd end up with a bedspread. (Hmmm, not a bad idea...)

      :)

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  21. Hang on a minute ... didn't you start this on the 3rd and posting it finished on the 5th?!! You're a whizz, and it looks gorgeous. It's cool enough to wear over here, on the other side of the world, if you'd like to just pop it into the post!!!

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  22. So pretty...elegant...feminine...and classy...
    Nothing granny-ish about it!
    Dumpy? I don't think so at all :)
    It looks beautiful on you.
    Lovely work!
    penny x

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  23. Oh Kristen what a great shawl and lovely shade too - I'd do anything for 90 degrees and a blue sky - here in the UK we are drowning in rain ....our summer seems to have been hijacked!

    Have a lovely week.
    Fleur xx

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  24. Beautiful Shawl and perfect colour. Glad you're not living in Laurel Canyon and living with Graham Nash!....We wouldn't have the benefit of your pretty blog and wonderful creations if you did....although if you can sing?....!Happy weekend to you.

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  25. Beautiful. I love that you tweaked the shawl to make it your own. :)

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  26. You my lovely girl, look amazing! Your shawl is just gorgeous and I love that it makes you so happy. You've motivated me to get cracking on my wraparound one (like you made). I've got all the wool here, just need more time and perhaps for the small folk to go back to school!!!

    Have a fabulous week hon,
    Leah
    xx

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  27. It is a beautiful shawl and you look lovely in it. (you're not at all dumpy!) Rachel x

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  28. I love this shawl!! It is exactly what I have been looking for. When I tried to download the pattern, you have to jump through a few unusual hoops. Did you have that experience? I am always worried about downloads that are not usual. Thanks!!

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  29. It's lovely Kristen, so pretty and lacy and perfect to wear with anything.
    Have a great weekend!
    Gill xx

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  30. that is just beautiful, I can see you sitting on your lovely porch wrapped in it!

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  31. LOVE your shawl! Turned out beautifully = as all your works do ;-)

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  32. it's gorgeous kristen!! i love it, and your description of what it evokes for you. i grew up in that era too, and nearby laurel canyon, ah memories. i am going to have to give crochet a serious try, i need one of these too!

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  33. It's too much beautiful Kristen. I'd love to make it for my mum. But as the pattern is written and do not easily understand it as not my mothertongue, would you please to be able to make a diagram (just for the begining)pleeease. Thanks if it's possible.

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    1. Oh my, I wish I could help you with this, but I am not a chart/diagram crocheter at all, so I don't know a thing about that. Just do what I did and find a pattern (with a chart) and then adapt it to a larger gauge. You can do it! Good luck. :)

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  34. Wow! I am inspired to make one too. How many balls of your yarn did you use?

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