FO Friday: Fairy Godmother Shawl

In case the rainbow explosion I received in the mail hadn’t been enough of a sign, I picked up the skein of Yarn Enabler’s Sock Monkey at the bottom of the envelope and heard it say: Make me something marvelous, darling… Make me a lovely lacy shawl.

 

A couple of weeks back, I discovered I had a Knitting Fairy Godmother, who in her wisdom had been waiting for the right moment to pass on some epic knitting mojo in the form of interchangeable needles. As I took all this gear out of the envelope I suddenly felt that there was nothing I couldn’t knit – and when the yarn asked to be a lacy shawl, I didn’t panic, I just knew that this is exactly what I’d make.

 

What I didn’t know, and should have given my previous experience with shawls and lace, is that this was some next level knitting. I needed to get to a different level of understanding to get over my fear of lace and figure out what pattern would do this lovely yarn justice.

 

I approached this the same way I’d been taking on all my knitting challenges: I went to Ravelry, opened up My Favorites, chose a beautiful pattern and jumped right in. The yarn was not best pleased and neither was I. As I tried a few patterns, I discovered that my missteps with lace have had less to do with my skill level, than my ability to understand how the patterns work. My next attempt involved casting on the BLT Shawl pattern, only to discover that this was not a pattern for self-striping yarn. Like the shawl before it, the pattern worked vertically and it just didn’t suit. After trying the Zaubershawl, I discovered that I was on the right track with a pattern that worked diagonally and was designed with self-striping yarn in mind but I couldn’t deal with that much garter stitch and the yarn wasn’t having it…possibly due to the way it mangled the color transition or the complete absence of lace – oops!

attempts

I almost chickened out of the shawl part at this point– the Friendship Scarf and the Noro Bias Scarf met all my conditions after all, but one look at the yarn had me back on the hunt for a pattern. Then I came upon the Rickenbaker Shawl and I knew the week of reading patterns and experimenting had paid off. I never buy patterns when I’m experimenting with a new kind of project, but after all that research, my intuition told me that this was absolutely the right thing to do.

Image result for rickenbacker shawl

I wish I could say that I was off immediately, but that didn’t happen because deep down inside I was still kind of scared of lace and I let that trip me up a bit. It took three tries, before muscle memory took over and little by little, I saw a shawl start to appear on my needles. I was actually making a shawl and that brought me no end of joy – despite having to rip back whole inches sometimes. I’m going to blame me fancy new needles. Wooden needles have always felt good in my hands but these had this enthusiastic warmth to them that I’m convinced is Paula’s knitting mojo and who can be grumpy in the presence of such an awesome thing? Yeah, not even me, so I kept going.

 

The skein of Sock Monkey came in two parts, the self-striping part and this gorgeous pink that I was tempted to keep for the exclusive purpose of Kitchener Stitching all my socks. That lasted until was getting close to the end of the self-striping hank, and then I knew I needed to use every last scrap of this skein. To that end, I was going to need more yarn. The way that this pattern worked, had me running out of each hank in the first fifth of the last row, so I went to the yarn bin thinking Two For Joy and reached for the charcoal yarn that I’d been using for Joy in the Mood Scarf. It was perfect, as it kind of matched the grey in the self-striping hank and looked really nice against the pink. Also, every time I’ve introduced myself as Maggie in the last week, people have responded with some variation of: “Maggie… Oh, like Magpie!” So now I’m owning it with this shawl 🙂

[Working with this charcoal yarn has inspired me to finally kick off the Mood Scarf. I think it would be fun to knit up my first official/legal year as Maggie this way, but that’s a whole other post.]

When I got to the end of the pattern, it asked for me to knit the last six rows and bind off loosely with a US 7 needle. This was easier said than done. So I switched out the US 5 tips to US 6’s and knit those last six rows, making the bind off with the US 7’s a bit easier. I’m not sure that I bound off as loosely as they probably meant… It didn’t feel exactly right, but I decided to go with it and moved on to the next instruction: “Block aggressively”

 

closeupkfgshawl2
Lace close-up

Now, I’ve never once blocked a project before and I have zero blocking gear so this was going to be an adventure. In the end, I used a nice fluffy blanket and safety pins, and though I can tell this needs to be blocked a lot better, I’m pretty amazed with the results. At long last, I have a shawl! Which is weird. I’ve never thought about purchasing one but every time I’ve gone star-gazing, I’ve seen folk wearing them and would then remember that this article of clothing was in fact a thing. But no more! Come late evening, the Missus and I are going on a walk, and I’ll have just the thing to keep me warm.

 

kfgshawl2
Don’t worry, I’ve since woven in the ends.

Fairy Godmothers are the best!

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14 thoughts on “FO Friday: Fairy Godmother Shawl

  1. OMG, OMG, OMG, OMG!!!!!!!! That turned out so freaking beautiful! Kudos on finding the perfect pattern for the self-striping yarn. I can’t believe how well the stripes worked with that pattern. I am so inspired right now and want to cast on another project just so I can do this too!

    I have lace blocking wires and t pins that I use when I block shawls and they work so well. You definitely want to get the kind that do not rust. I also have the Knitter’s Pride Knit Blockers Set. I picked up the foam mats that you buy for kids to play on to stretch everything out on because the ones that are sold for knit blocking are way more expensive. I purchased everything on Amazon. One of my knitting buddies goes to Lowe’s or Home Depot and buys foam board to block on and that’s even less expensive than the mats. Just a few dollars for a piece of foam board.

    Again, I am super excited for you to have finished a beautiful, gorgeous, lacy shawl! I hope it keeps you warm on these chilly evenings we’ve been having!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. My Fairy Godmother comes through once more! I’m absolutely checking out the hardware store for blocking mats first! I do actually want something with measurement marks on it but the hardware store is a magical and never fails to surprise me with their stock 🙂 I’m pretty stoked about my fab shawl but I bet it would look even better properly blocked – I mean I couldn’t believe the way a little bit of blocking transformed the whole piece and now I’m excited all over again!
      If you’d like the pattern, I can absolutely send it to you – it’s a quick fun knit and I’m sure you’d totally rock it!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Aww…thank you for the offer; however I will purchase when I’m ready to make it. I’ve already added it to my favorites on Ravelry so I can come back to it at that time. I think they do make foam boards with measurement marks; however I can tell you that I just stretch until I can’t stretch anymore…or until I feel it looks right and don’t worry about exact measurements.

        Liked by 1 person

            1. Thanks – I think I’m a big fan of sweaters knit in one piece but you know I have to try a jig-saw type pattern at least once 😉 They might even be helpful in putting sewing patterns together if I ever get myself together enough to make some pj bottoms….

              Liked by 1 person

    2. Also, I took the shawl on a test drive and it is absolutely THE thing to wear in the fog! It’s cozy but not too warm while walking (yes, there was actual walking!!!) and people could not only see me from a ways off, they had lovely things to say about it when we crossed paths. Wearing it makes me feel hella fierce! Thank you 😀

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Sweet! I’m so happy that you are able to get out and go walking again. Isn’t it awesome when people compliment you on your knitting? I wore three hand knits to the ZZ Top concert Saturday night and got so many compliments. I even took my knitting and people were amazed that I had something to do during intermission 🙂 It was so chilly that I got a lot of people asking how soon I would be finished with my hat so they could wear it…LOL.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. OMG – you were at the ZZ Top concert?! That’s SO awesome! I just discovered them – and by way of a book of all things! How was the concert?

          I know exactly what those poor non knitting folk felt like! I’ve been star gazing enough times when the weather gets on the wrong side of chilly and have totally coveted other people’s knits -even unfinished ones 😀 I’m never again leaving home without a couple of completed projects and something on my needles.

          Liked by 1 person

          1. Yep!!! They played at the Mountain Winery in Saratoga with the Dave Matthews Band opening up for them. Let me tell you, that was one scary ride up the mountain with no guard rails :-O The Mountain Winery is an open air venue. Both bands were so awesome, but it was crazy expensive for drinks and food.

            We got there a couple of hours early so we could eat and enjoy a bottle of wine (and not have to be behind a trillion cars trying to move up the mountain). I was amazed that people had not looked at the weather report before going. I saw people in shorts and t-shirts and it got down to 55 before the concert was over. I just stuffed everything in a bag and added layers as it got chillier 😀

            Liked by 1 person

            1. Oh that sounds like a fantabulous double bill and the perfect date! You guys are so cool 😀 Personally, the scary ride over sounds totally worth it, but I’m with you on going early and well prepared. There is no such thing as bad weather, just bad gear – or in this case lack there of. Seriously?! Shorts to a place who has built an industry on this kind of weather? Smh.

              Liked by 1 person

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