It All Started With A Shawl
It all started with a shawl. I fell in love with the many color combinations and soft texture of Homespun by Lion Brand. I really enjoyed the heavier Thick and Quick series for making a luxurious comforting shawl. Heathers and muted colors were blended so that the finished garment displayed large swaths of gradually shaded hues. This lush and silky yarn is made in the U.S.A. The finished product belied the simplicity of construction. After some experimenting, I decided the yarn was better suited for knitting than crocheting.
I cast on 52 stitches and worked a garter stitch until I reached the desired length. With 3 skeins I usually ended up with a 54-56” shawl plus fringe. The great part of using the garter stitch was that the shawl lay flat and did not curl. Also, the complex texture of the yarn hid the simplicity of the stitch. It is important to continuously count the number of stitches on the needle. Because of the complexity of the yarn, there is a likelihood of losing or adding stitches. When the knitting part is done, I cut the remaining yarn into 12 or 13” lengths. Each fringe used 3 strands of yarn. I blended the colors so that the fringes added to the color design of the finished work. The final step was to trim the fringe to insure uniform length of the strands.
When I stood back to admire my finished work, I found myself drawn to the beautiful and subtle bands of color. The artistic effect is quite enticing. Even when you use the same color combination, each shawl is unique. However, it was hard to stop touching the fluffy, luxurious body and fringe. The shawls made great fashion statements, but they were wonderful for tossing over shoulders on a cool winter night. A friend, who was a weaver, admired the work and suggested that I have a home sale. She purchased a shawl for an elderly relative who was frequently chilly. The shawls have been a great comfort to friends who are ill. I have been told that they feel like a warm hug. If I have yarn left over, I can use it for a contrast stripe and fringe in a crocheted scarf.
I truly love these delicious shawls, but the sale part is the challenge. The yarn at full price sells for $9.00 per skein. With various sale discounts, I can usually end up with $7.00. That is at least $21.00-$27.00 for the basic materials. As a crafter, there are many incidental costs as well. If I use the simple formula of 3x the cost of materials, I end up with a sale price of $75.00. Still this price provides only a modest allowance for labor. While many potential customers admire the work, many craft fair attendees are reluctant to pay that much for a quality garment. Also, the volume of the yarn requires expanded storage in my home. I still make shawls for special friends and relatives, but I am more likely to make smaller pieces, like hats and gloves for sale.
Please note, my recommendations and endorsements of various instructions and products are based on my own experiences and preferences.
February 18, 2017
Welcome friends! I invite you to join me in my journey of discovery, creativity, and reflection as I explore the realms of knitting and crocheting. As I start on this artistic journey I find myself at a middle skill level. However, I am in awe of the infinite possibilities that both mediums present to me. I tend to use yarns that are readily available from large craft and on-line sources, but occasionally I am tempted by the beautiful fibers from specialty knit stores.
The subtitle for my website is “art you can wear.” If so many lovely wearables are easily available from retail stores and on-line sources, why would the average person want to make or buy a hand-crafted item? The answer has to be in the art. By using color, texture, or decoration, I love to transform that hank or skein of yarn into a piece that draws the eye or the hand to look at and feel the item. My favorite pieces are hats and fingerless gloves, but I include headbands, baby sweaters, baby cocoons, baby blankets, and shawls in my repertoire.
Some inspirations start with a pattern from books, pamphlets, or on-line sources. Sometimes it is the yarn itself that draws my eye, calling out-loud, if you will, make me. Even the attachments, decorations, or buttons can stir the creative spirit to build a garment around them. I may use one pattern repeatedly, but I change or combine colors, add or eliminate stitch patterns, embroider, or add decorative buttons to achieve dramatic results.
While I have talked about establishing a web site, starting a blog, and beginning to sell my creations on-line for some time, this year I am starting to realize that dream.