Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Winter's Whisper Shawl MKAL

I am a sucker for KALs. MKALs doubly so. Free MKALs? Sign me up! Don't care that I have a handful of WIPs and I just started a new job and I have another KAL I signed up for already.

Ok so I was really crazy to try to do all of that in February and I was not 100% successful. It took me a while to get adjusted to the new job and that really cut into my knitting time. This MKAL won, however, because I was having a really great time knitting it. It had elements that were completely new to me and a couple I hadn't done in a while.

This is decidedly not my style, but was still a lot of fun to knit. It's in my stash of things to be gifted someday. It's a beautiful combination of lace and cables. The pattern is Winter's Whisper from Designs By Mesha. I used some yarn I had that I had purchased from someone on Etsy as a destash. I got three skeins of the yarn for a steal. I had to dip into the second skein to finish this off, but I have a ton left. It's a wool/silk/viscose blend and feels delightful.

This pattern had beading which is something I have never done before. There was a bit of a learning curve to figure out the best way to do it. I went with the crochet hook method. Finding a crochet hook small enough was a bit hard. I ended up finding a set of small hooks on Amazon.  I naively went to Joann's for beads. Never again... They were very inconsistent as far as hole size, which made stringing the beads on with the crochet hook very difficult. I think I wasted nearly as many beads as I used.

I ended up adding way more beads to the pattern than were called for. I added some in the first clue because I wanted to get the hang of it before we got to the section that would have a lot of beading. I also added some at the end just because I still had a bunch of the beads left. 

I have done cables before, but nothing as intricate as this one was. It was a very fun one to do to get back into those. I ended up adjusting the pattern a little bit to bring the end of the cable section to a point. They ended a bit suddenly and I wanted to make it smoother. I wish I had known enough to do that at the beginning as well.  

You can see in the pictures above that the YOs between the center panel and the wings is a little wonky on the left. That is due to the YO being between a knit and a purl on the WS. I didn't realize that it was making a much larger YO until a ways into it. I found that switching the direction of the YO on the RS helped to pull those tighter. So instead of doing the YO by taking the working yarn from the front of the needle to the back, I brought it from the back to the front. This was only necessary on the one side where the WS had the last knit stitch of the cable panel leading into the purling of the lace sections. The one on the other side worked just fine as normal.

Overall I'm very happy with how this one turned out. I will probably never wear it myself, but I'm sure I'll find someone that will! 

Things I learned from this project:
  • Beading - I'm not a huge fan of sparkly things, but I do like the weight that beads can add. I used a crochet hook to add the beads to this one. I've since acquired a fleegle which i pretty darn handy. I'll have a post about beading tools later.
  • Cables without a cable needle! - This only works over small cables. This pattern is a four stitch cable. You slip the first two stitches with the yarn in front or behind depending on the cable and then knit the next two and then swap it around again. I watched a couple great videos on youtube that helped with it. 
  • YO direction is important - Nice even YOs make things much prettier.
  • Pulling yarn from the outside of the cake - I had a major yarn barf moment with my caked yarn... I had to rewind it and learn how to pull from the outside of the cake. I think I may be a convert on that front. Not having the cake collapse as you get to the end is kind of nice. 
No, that is not three separate balls...

  • Joann's beads are not good for knitting - The beads were insanely inconsistent on size. I've since switched over to using Toho beads in some other projects and they are leaps and bounds better and pretty comparably priced if not actually cheaper.
  • I love lace knitting! - I want to knit all the lace things. I don't want to wear them, but I want to knit them.

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