Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Hilo Shawl Finished and Socks Started

I posted about starting the Hilo Shawl back in May in the post Trouble Finishing Anything. Well, it's finished. I actually finished the shawl back in the middle of August, and just haven't gotten around to posting about it until now - mostly because I haven't gotten any good photographs of it yet. The photo here is the best of the lot to date, and it's a close-up of the pattern repeat taken while the shawl was still on blocking pins.

The Hilo Shawl was the pattern featured on the cover of Inside Crochet back in March, and I fell in love with it, buying the magazine just for that pattern (although there are some others in there that I want to do eventually), and starting the pattern a couple of days later, using Madelinetosh yarn in the Cousteau colour. I loved working with the yarn, the subtle variations in colour and thickness worked well for me - but then I do like working with singles yarns I've found (to date, just Bernat Mosaic in a couple of different projects and colourways and the Madtosh yarns for commercial yarn, but also my own handspun yarns).

Anyway, the magazine described the Hilo Shawl pattern as a good introduction to lace-work. If by that they meant that it was easy to get into the pattern repeats and it worked up fairly fast, they were right. It did however, take some attention to detail, making sure I didn't miss any stitches. All too many times it felt like "two steps forward" and one step back as I had to rip back an entire row to find the one stitch mistake in the previous row.

I was surprised at just how warm the shawl was the two or three times I've worn it to date as well. I thought it would be more of an ornamental shawl given how open the lace pattern is, but it kept the summer evening chill off very well.

I don't know if it was something I did in the way I blocked the shawl, or if it's part of the pattern design, but the shawl turned out longer and narrower than I thought it would, enough that I've been wearing it by using one of the two "sides" as the shoulder side rather than the chained base. Still, I'm really happy with the shawl and the way it turned out.

Of course, having finished one project, I couldn't wait to get onto the next. This time it's a pair of socks, and I'm already into the leg of the first one. I think it's about another five rows, then the cuff and the heel and I'll have finished my first sock. The pattern is the Triumph Crochet Socks (Ravelry link), using the Rowan Fine Art yarn in the Kingfisher colourway.

It's a slightly lacy pattern with a simple repeat that works from the toe up, which allowed me to keep trying it on and testing the length as I crocheted it, and the yarn is working up nicely - not too splitty and the colours look lovely. Had to learn two new stitches too: Linked Double Crochet and Foundation Single Crochet.

In the process, I've discovered that I prefer to learn stitches from step by step line drawings rather than photographs, and that the Crochet For Bears To Wear book that I've referred to here before has some of the best instructions short of the Stitch'n'Bitch Happy Hooker Crochet book, which I've packed away for now.

I like crocheting socks, if only because of how portable the project is, but it also makes something very wearable and useful. I only hope that I like wearing crocheted socks as much as I do making them.

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