When I first saw the pattern for this asymmetric knitted scarf/shawlette, I was drawn to its crisp color blocks and striping. The colors wove into one another. The overall effect was simple, but fascinating and sophisticated. Originally I planned to use this piece for my article on Purple Passion, but the purple hue was more subtle and the key to the piece was its contrast coordination with the other colors in the shawl. The purple made up only one third of the piece, but I was curious to see how the combination worked out. This pattern, which is published by Plymouth Yarn, is called Homestead Tweed, 2880. The directions call for 3 different tweed yarns also by Plymouth (Homestead Tweed 506 oatmeal, 526 thistle, and 505 medium grey). However, the most surprising aspect of this pattern is the fact that the knitter creates the shape of the shawl only by increasing along one edge. That's right. There are no decreases. It does not seem logical, but it works. For my first adventure with this pattern I chose Lion Brand Vanna's Choice: pale gray, charcoal gray, and purple
When I followed the directions, I ended up with 46 wide from tip to tip and 20 inches long at the center back. I was excited to see how the yarn played out. Since there are sufficient amounts left of the dark grey and purple as well as an extra skein of the light gray, I would consider making a larger shawl in the future. If I work the pattern only a few more rows in each section, that should do the trick. Another option may be to use a larger needle. The directions call for a #9. The resulting scarf is rather. dense. I do not knit with a tight hand, but I think a looser stitch with a #10 or #10.5 would be attractive. My only concern is that the scarf might lose some of its crisp line. The piece works well as as a scarf or shawlette fastened with a shawl pin. Since I am 5 foot, 7 inches tall, and I would prefer the drape of a shawl with larger dimensions. In its current form, the shawl is dense and warm could only be worn in cold weather. Another change that I would make would be to use use a lighter color for one of my darker shades. The striping would be more effective, if the colors in those sections were more distinct.
The only stitch used in this piece is the garter stitch. At beginning of each 2 step pattern, the knitter increases front and back of the first stitch. On the return row, the knitter slips the first stitch as if to purl. Both sides of the shawl are neat and straight. Since the lines of this shawl are so simple, I do not plan to add an edging. That is why is is so important that the sides are neat and straight. With the 2 line pattern and the switching of colors to create the stripes and different colored blocks, this work does not get boring. It is fun to see how the pattern is revealed in the different colored yarns.
This piece is a really good selection for a road trip. The stitching is very simple. The color changes are easy and come at the end of rows. When I wove in the ends on the reverse side, they were basically undetectable. What is your favorite striped or geometric scarf pattern? Please post your favorites.
What is it about the yarn displays on the shelves of your local yarn shop or mega craft store that urges you to select a particular skein? If you have a pattern in mind, you are looking for the color, weight, and texture that will transform yarns and yards of fiber into a garment or accessory. At other times it is the yarn itself that excites you with the possibilities of your creation. When I first saw Shawl in a Ball
by Lion Brand, I was intrigued at the claim on the label that I could produce an entire shawl from just one of their skeins of yarn. The only way to verify the claim was to actually crochet or knit a shawl with this brand. I selected Soothing Blue which would be perfect with my jeans jacket or denim skirt and Restful Rainbow because it just looked like fun.
There are several details that I noticed about this yarn. Lion Brand classifies the fiber as a #4, which is a worsted weight. Although this varigated yarn changes thickness at times, it seems more like a #3 (DK) than a #4 (Worsted). This distinction does not prevent the crafter from producing a lovely garment that drapes easily. The flow of colors is gradual and beautiful. A 100% cotton slub runs throughout the yarn. Shawl in a Ball is 58% cotton, 39% acrylic, and 3% other fibers. Each package is 5.30 oz. and contains 518 yards of yarn. I understand that Lion Brand has come out with newer skeins that contain metallics. Although these colors are available online, they were not available at the store when I made my initial purchase. I was concerned that the textured yarn would be difficult to frog if mistakes were made. I found that if I did not crochet too tightly, this did not prove to be a problem. However, since the yarn is so textured, it is essential to crochet loosely. Otherwise, It is impossible to fit the crochet hook into the a stitch when making the next row.
I was originally drawn to the yarn because of the claim that I could produce a complete shawl with one skein. Having created numerous shawls with numerous yarns and numerous patterns, I was dubious to say the least. When I logged onto the website, I found a .pattern called, Lion Brand Shawl in a Ball, Openwork Shawl (#L50239). There are several You Tube Videos that show the crocheter how to make the open work pattern. In the picture that accompanied the pattern, the open work piece draped easily. However, when I read the specs, I found that the length would be about 48 inches. The model must have been a very slender lady. For me those dimensions would be a scarf or shawlette. Still, I started the project to see how far my crocheting would take me.
As I reached the end of the skein, I knew that I would have to go back to the store to buy another. I hoped that there would still be one more on the shelf. With more than half of the shawl completed, I hoped that I would be able to finish the shawl and was was lucky to find another skein. This time I wound the yarn from the skein into a ball before I attached the yarn to the WIP. The Shawl in a Ball skein is extremely loose. As the crocheter or knitter works, large sections of the looped yarn come away. If you are working from your knitting bag, there is a tendency for the yarn to tangle and knot. I had to unknot the yarn several times when I was working with the first skein. Once I solved the tangling problem, I was relieved to continue crocheting without worrying about knotting the yarn. To produce a rectangular crocheted open work shawl that was 63 inches x 15 inches, I needed more than half of the second skein.
The finished shawl is warm enough to cover the shoulders on a brisk spring day or in an air conditioned room. It will be an attractive accent over a jeans jacket in the autumn. While I was pleased with the finished shawl, I did not always enjoy the process of making it. Although, the open work stitches should have been easy to keep track of, I frequently found myself, adding or losing a stitch. After frogging several rows multiple times, I made myself count the stitches after each row.
A Shawl in a Ball is also for knitters. The Restful Rainbow skein makes a lovely semi-circle with stock-in-net, yarn overs, and garter striped bands. The knitting pattern is Lion Brand Shawl in a Ball, Easy Half Circle Shawl (#L50258). The pattern is available as a free download from the Lion Brand website. The shawl begins at the center back with a small rectangle garter stitch. As the shawl grows larger, a circular needle is needed to accommodate the increasing number of stitches. A garter stitch border is worked on the first and last 3 stitches of the piece.
As the knitter proceeds through the various sections, the instructions tell the knitter to knit on the right side and purl on the wrong side. However, there are some different instructions for the increase rows. I found it easier to write down the number of each row for each section. Then I crossed off the row when completed. In this way I did not lose track of my rows. By the time I was knitting the bottom border with a garter stitch, I had produced the rounded, semi-circular shape.
The only change I made in following the directions was to use a #10 knitting needle instead of a #8. I wanted to produce a shawl that was larger and with more drape . The finished piece measured 59 inches x 23 inches when blocked. I am 5'7", and the stated measurement of 46 inches wide and 22 inches deep was too small. Even though I used the larger needle I was able to complete the knitted Shawl in a Ball with one skein, as knitting requires less yardage than crocheting for a shawl of the same size.
As I modeled the shawls in front of my tall mirror in the front hall I felt a growing sense of excitement at my achievement. I arranged the Soothing Blue Crocheted Open Work Shawl shall over my jeans jacket in various poses. Then a took off the jacket to see how the shawl would look as a light cover up over a simple white T. The Knitted Semi-circle Restful Rainbow Shawl was just as playful as I had imagined. I had met my Shawl in a Ball challenge to produce two multi-hued attractive pieces. In terms of style and function my efforts had been rewarded.
In the title to this post I asked, "Can you really crochet or knit a shawl from a ball of yarn. Here the results were mixed. The crocheted shawl required most of a second skein to produce the desired results. However, the knitted shawl validated Lion Brand's claim. The reviewers from Joann.com describe this yarn as "a slightly brushed, self-striping yarn in luminous sheen." My fashionable shawls brought out the best features of this yarn. Lion Brand compares the feel of the finished pieces to silk mohair. The open work crochet shawl was slightly rougher because of the stitching. However, the knitted semicircular shawl was soft and luscious to touch.
An added bonus is that these lightweight yarns is that they can easily be transported anywhere. When on vacation in Maine, I knitted the semi-circular shawl as I sat on the rocks on the top of Otter Cliffs, waiting for my family to finish scaling the bolder path below. The pieces kept me company in the campground and at the end of the Wonderland trail by the ocean. A few days after returning home, I was able to block both shawls.
So I leave it to you, my readers, to examine the photos to decide if you would want to produce a shawl from Shawl in a Ball. For those of you who want to crochet or knit with this material, Lion Brand publishes several patterns, picture tutorials, and You Tube Videos. If you have already made a Shawl from a Ball or if you want to take on the challenge, please share your experiences and photos.
For crocheters and knitters a wide range of shade and hue await the PURPLE enthusiast. Consider amethyst, fuschia, lavender, lilac, magenta, mauve, orchid, thistle, and violet when making your color selections. Some manufactures have grouped different shades of purple together, like Premier Yarn's Sweet Roll in Grape Swirl. People give many reasons for liking purple. The lighter shades remind people of the lavender and lilacs in their gardens. Purple is compatible with many colors, and there is a shade to match every mood. Purple is associated with royalty and can look expensive. Even saying purple puts a smile on your face.(http://www.empower-yourself-with-color-psychology.com/personality-color-purple.html )
While the lighter shades of purple may be associated with individuals who are sensitive, compassionate, supportive and understanding, others think of these hues as peaceful and tranquil. In the vibrant tones, we find people who want to be noticed for their individuality. They want the best of everything and may be visionary with high ambitions.
You may have noticed that many of my pieces in the last several posts were created with purple yarn. I really enjoyed the charm of my Grape Swirl yarn as I crocheted my triangle Granny Shawl (http:www.lilcreates.com/lillians-blog/enjoy-the-charm-of-the-yarn). I created the puff stitch scarf for my Yarn Chicken article (http://www.lilcreates.com/lillians-blog/yarn-chicken-a-high-risk-game-for-crocheters-and-knitters). The Never-ending shawl project was a matter of coincidence. The yarn had been donated, and I agreed to make the shawl for charity(http://lilcreates.com/lillians-blog/the-never-ending-knitted-or-crocheted-project). I have created several styles of crocheted and knitted fingerless gloves in purple hues.(http://www.lilcreates.com/lillians-blog-fingerless-gloves-mismatched-coordinated-handwarmers) While digging in my stash for a craft fair , I found several hats and a lovely toddler-size sweater knitted from a chunky varigated yarn. A purple lovey and a little girl's purse have even found their way into this article. (http://www.lilcreates.com/lillians-blog/what-makes-a-lovey-loveable)
The piece that I like most is a knitted cardigan, size 12 months. The- yarn varies from white to lilac. The print pattern by The Plymouth Yarn Company is Toybox Rainbow 2802 that I purchased at my local specialty yarn store, the Yarn Barn, in Woodbridge Connecticut. The stitch pattern, Roman Stripe, is worked over 6 rows. Rows 1 and 3 are knit for all stitches.. Rows 2 and 4 are purl. In 5 the knitter stitches K1 P1. In row 6, the knitter stitches P1, K1. This stitch pattern creates a ridged effect throughout the sweater. I like the way the sleeve stitches are picked up from the body of the sweater and and knitted down toward the cuff. This made it easier for me to shorten the sleeve as I find almost all pattern directions have sleeves that are too long for my family. By taking special care to match all the ridges in construction, the sweater came out just like the one pictured in the pattern photo. My granddaughter will probably wear this piece in late autumn.
Just as I was wrapping up this article, I came across a program called for Click for Babies. This is a grassroots campaign across North America to make purple colored hats that will be delivered in November and December in conjunction with the Period of Purple Crying Program. The click is for the sound made by knitting needles or crochet hooks when the crafter is busy at work. By increasing awareness and giving parents and caregivers tools to deal with prolonged infant crying, the organizers hope to prevent as many cases as possible of Shaken Baby Syndrome. The purple caps will serve as a visual reminder to caregivers that prolonged crying can be natural and to look at materials they were given at the hospital. Of course if crying persists, the infant should be taken to the doctor. PURPLE is an acronym for information relating to the prolonged crying.
And so, my crocheting and knitting friends, I urge you to indulge your passion for purple and see what pleasing and interesting designs you come up with. I hope that you enjoyed my purple showcase. Please note that as lovely as these pieces turned out, I find it difficult to bring out the correct purple colors in the photos. If you have any suggestions or guidelines. I would appreciate any suggestions.
I had just knotted the last three strands of fringe to a lush and very large knitted shawl, when I pumped my fist and literally shouted "Hurray!" The words to a familiar party song popped into my head and would not let go. "Celebrate, good times. Come on! Celebrate, good times. Come On! I could hear Kool and the Gang playing in my mind. To keep that celebratory mood, I clicked onto You Tube and sang along. Why was I so happy? I had been working on this piece for months. The shawl was not difficult. Actually, it was just a large Homepsun yarn rectangle made entirely with garter stitch. I had made several similar shawls before. (http://www.lilcreates.com?lilliansblog/it-all-started-with-a-shawl). I even liked the yarn that had been donated to Threads of Love.
As with many knitted or crocheted large projects, I started with best of intentions. Have you ever been in a crocheting or knitting situation where the sheer volume of the enterprise seemed to feel overwhelming? You keep asking yourself, "Have I reached the midway point? How many squares do I have to go?" I took the first couple of feet of shawl with me on a road trip. However, as the weather warmed up, I really did not want a large, warm, cozy piece laying on my lap and over my knees. The shawl was banished to the knitting bag to be taken out at night (with air conditioning) while I watched one of the many series I was following on the cable networks. I was easily distracted by other projects: baby shower gifts or a shawl for my bff. The attraction of a smaller piece of work (like my fingerless gloves I was writing up for a pattern release) frequently led me astray. The deadline for project collections for Threads of Love was coming up in early August. The time for excuses was over. How do you feel when you have to get serious about your work. When my granddaughter was napping, I tried to get in a few more inches.
I gave myself pep talks. "You can do this. You are almost there, " I told myself. I promised myself that I would not take on any additional WIP's until I could sign off, project completed, ready to donate. Everyday, I draped the shawl around me as I stood in front of the entryway mirror. When the piece reached mid-thigh on both sides, I heaved a sigh of relief as I finsished off and chrocheted the single crochet foundation row on each end. Two hours remained for cutting 190 individual strands to be knotted in 3 strand bunches on both ends of the shawl. When the last knot was made I was really ready to "Celebrate good times. Come On."
As I scroll down the Facebook Newsfeed, I admire the work of so many knitters and crocheters who have completed intricate shawls, blankets, and afghans. I admire your workmanship and above all your tenacity and patience. My fellow knitters and crocheters, how do you deal with a large project that does not seem to come to an end? Does it still reside in your craft bag out of sight, or have you managed to finish? How do you celebrate your accomplishment?