Sunday, October 18, 2009

On how to wear shawls

Sometimes I see comments about how nobody ever wears shawls nowadays and how they're not only not useful, but also not decorative, because they look like granny clothes. I think that's because people forgot. They don't know how to wear them anymore. For all the fineness and light weight, shawls can be surprisingly warm, so they're a good substitute for a jacket on cool nights, or for layering when you're going to some place where the air conditioning will be strong. And they're easy to remove and put in a bag when they're not needed anymore, unlike jackets.
This is the most simple way to wear a shawl. Just throw it over your shoulders, and you're good to go. Except after a while it starts to slide off, and you get annoyed and tired of keeping adjusting it all the time. One solution is to just tie it on the front, but I don't really like that. I like tieing it on the back:
I prefer to do it with circular and semi-circular shawls, but triangles work too. I think it looks great with a strapless dress or top, and besides warming up the shoulders and back (and arms, depending on the size), it's a way of showing less skin. For weddings, for example. Chic and modest for the church, easily removable for the party.
Same idea, different setting, great for low-cut tops:
Put the center over one shoulder, cross the points over the other shoulder, and fix it in place with a shawl pin or a brooch.
Or you could just roll it a little and wear it as a scarf.
I really like this option, but it's not equatorial zone friendly.
All pics were taken with the Aeolian shawl I just finished, so the effect might vary with different shapes or sizes, and of course there are lots of other possibilities that I didn't cover, or even thought about.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Double FO

I got two things to show. First, I blocked the Raspberry Rhapsody scarf (ravlink) that I've shown unblocked weeks ago.
The wrong side looks very cool too:
Knit on Knitpicks Palette yarn, 5.5mm needles, violently blocked.
And then I finished an Aeolian shawl that passed by unmentioned. I knit it with Knitpicks Bare Merino Lace, and dyed after the fact with cake dyes. The dye didn't take uniformly (my fail), but I think it doesn't look too bad.
I misread the pattern and knit one extra repeat of the Agave leaves, when I wanted to knit the smallest size. I expected a scarf, but it ended up huge. I think it'd still be large even without the extra repeat. Maybe because I used 3.75mm needles.
And because I'm a merciless blocker.

Sunday, October 04, 2009

How my hubris was kicked on the butt

I used to think that, since I learned how to purl, nothing was difficult in knitting. Complex, maybe. Requiring attention, counting stitches, needing brute force to stick the needles in (nupps, I'm looking at you), but as long as I focused it would come out allright. Circular cast-on for a center-out shawl was a little difficult, but I got it after 4 tries. This hat, my first all-over colorwork, kicked my butt in severa different levels, though.
The pattern, End of May (ravlink), requires light worsted weight yarn and sportweight for the lining, but I was set on knitting it and I only had Merino Style from Knitpicks, which is a DK (I used Iris and Cornflower). I went up a needle size, to 3,75mm, and started it without swatching, with NatureSpun fingering for the lining. Almost the whole time I was working I felt like it would come out too small. Everytime I tried it on the stitches stretched so bad you could almost see the floats on the inside. Halfway through the hat I kind of found my gauge, so the first repeat was way tighter than everything else. You could even see it narrower than the top of the hat. Look with attention, you really can.
And the stitches on the lighter colour, which I was holding on my right hand, look all wonky and even twisted. They're not twisted. I checked. They just look weird. Everything puckered at all directions.
unblocked close-up
Then I had to sew in the lining.
My handsewing is even worse than my gauge, but I'm content enough that it doesn't show on the outside.
I blocked the hat over a balloon and I'm really happy with the way it looks now. The puckering disappeared, and almost all stitches relaxed a little. Plus, it fits a human head.
If I had to do it again, the only thing I'd change was adding maybe half a repeat to the lenght. As it is, it's kind of a bucket hat with the size of a beanie. I think it's a really cute pattern, very easy and straightforward, regardless of my lack of skills. I also think my lack of skills is a little smaller now, that I got a wearable item at the end, and overcame a childhood shortcoming and finally learned how to tie up a balloon in the process.
The hat will be on the mail as soon as I finish a few other items to send along. (Because a very thick 100% wool hat isn't much Equatorial weather friendly. It's a gift. Wish I could keep it.)