Today’s the day when I get to show you my new shawl and I’m really looking forward to doing so … but first I must say thank to everyone for your kind comments on big daughter’s Peru preparation post. She was really delighted to hear from you and she will be replying your comments as soon as she can.
Now though .. on with the ta-dah!
I have long believed that yarn knows what it wants to be. It might sound crazy but there has to be some explanation for why some projects knit up quickly and beautifully and others just don’t seem to flow – the colours aren’t right, the yarn doesn’t slide across the needles properly .. whatever it is, it seems to me that the yarn often wants a say in what it’s going to become.
This yarn, a skein of hand-dyed Cuddlebums merino sock yarn in the colourway Melted Crayon, did not want to be socks. As soon as I saw it, I knew that it was coming home with me and it sat in my basket for a while, uncomplaining, until we were both ready for it to become something that wouldn’t mean it ended up hidden in my boots.
And this is what it became.
And some days it might want to be this.
I’ve only recently become a convert to wearing shawls as scarves but now I wonder why it took me so long!
This is what it looks like when it’s not wrapped cosily around my neck …
I just love the gentle curves and the way the colours melt together like – well, like melted crayons. It’s no wonder this yarn didn’t want to be socks! I really loved knitting with this yarn; it’s soft and smooth, the colours are just right and the yarn slides beautifully across your needles. I’m very glad that I didn’t have to cut it as I would have done to make two socks. I loved watching the rainbow unfold, and the nice thing about this hand-dyed yarn is that it’s not an exact science where the colours are going to change.
The shawl is really easy to knit. You start at one end and keep going until your yarn runs out. The size of your skein will dictate the size of your shawl, and I like that mine is big enough to wrap round my shoulders if I want to.
I’m not a fan of garter stitch so it’s all knitted in stocking stitch, broken up with sections of dropped stitch which is also really easy and creates zigzags of rainbows which make the colours seem to run horizontally instead of vertically in those sections. Alternating the sections of stocking stitch so that you start on both the front and back of the shawl means that there is no right side or wrong side …
you could wear it either way around and it would still look just as good. I’ve got to say, I’m more than a little bit in love with this shawl!
It doesn’t have to be knitted with hand-dyed yarn, though. This is the second ball of Debbie Bliss Rialto sock yarn that I had and I wanted to see how it knitted up in a different project. Pretty well, I’d say, although it came out a bit smaller as there was less meterage in the ball. The colours do blend beautifully into each other (this is shade 05, Mutek), but it’s a fluffier yarn than the Cuddlebums yarn (something to be aware of if you ever use it for a project that might involve a lot of unpicking) and this shawl feels like it would be just right for the winter months.
The pattern works very well with gradient yarn, though, doesn’t it? In fact, I think it would look lovely in any yarn, even stripes, and it would work in any weight as well. If you wanted it to be bigger, you could use more than one ball or skein and just keep knitting!
So all in all, I’d say that my skein of Cuddlebums yarn is happy now, and I’m very happy with my new shawl. It just needs a name to go with the pattern than I’m going to be sharing with you later this week. I’m thinking “Couthie”, which is a Scottish word meaning cosy, comfortable and not overly complicated. I think it’s a lovely word, also meaning sociable and friendly if you use it to refer to people and I think that generally, that’s what knitters are. What do you think? A Couthie shawl? Or would you call it something else?
I’ll be posting the pattern in a couple of days – just in time for Yarn Shop Day in case you need an excuse to buy more yarn …!