Finished: Swedish Spring, or My first Shawl & What's On The NeedlesWhen I was finishing up my latest cardigan (the 1940s lacy chevron stitch cardigan I mentioned in my knitting plans post) and was thinking about what to knit next, I started to realize that I was very tired of only ever knitting cardigans and jumpers/sweaters. Every time the same process of knitting the front, the back and two sleeves and then having to seam it all together - I was just tired of it. I really needed a different project with a little more instant gratification. I have been watching a lot of knitting podcasts lately and when I saw all the shawls that everyone was knitting I immediately realized that a shawl was exactly what I needed to knit as a next project, especially with the cold season approaching.
Ironically, when I started knitting, I noticed how a lot of knitters mostly or only knit shawls and/or socks. And I just didn't understand: how many socks or shawls do you need? I guess you could say I was a bit of a 'garment knitting snob'. I think I even said out loud to my boyfriend that I would never knit socks or shawls. Well I've certainly come around! Not only have I started knitting shawls - I really want to start knitting socks as well. Lesson learned - never say never!
I looked up different shawl patterns on Ravelry, but decided to go for the Swedish Spring shawl by Maria from the Stitched in Sweden podcast. It looked really lovely when she showed it in her video and the pattern was rated as fairly easy on Ravelry so I figured it would be a good one to start with. Also, the shawl is knitted with a fingering (4 ply) weight yarn so I was able to use some yarn from my stash: Berroco Ultra Alpaca Fine in the color Tiger's Eye Mix.
I really, really enjoyed knitting this shawl. It was, as I expected, exactly the type of project I needed. Quick, easy, and most importantly: very different from a sweater or cardigan. It only took me 6 days to knit so it gave me the instant gratification I was yearning for as well.
Although I do really love how the shawl turned out, I'm not happy about the yarn. It is very rough (not itchy or scratchy, just rough), I had 3 joins in a single skein and I had major dye bleed when I soaked it. It is a sock yarn and for actually knitting socks I guess it would be okay, but considering the price of £9,25 per 100 gr skein I think you can get much nicer yarns than this. It's fine for a first shawl, and it will be fine for my first socks, but I would never buy it again. I could live with the dye bleeding and the joins don't bother me that much either, but I really don't like how the yarn feels. Don't get me wrong though - I will still wear the crap out of this shawl!
After my first shawl success I was hooked and I now totally understand why so many knitters knit so many shawls. I immediately started on the next one, which is the Canopy shawl by Melody from Mandarine's. I'm knitting this with Drops Alpaca in dark green (the actual color is a lot darker than it looks in the picture) and I am totally loving this yarn. It doesn't have the greatest stitch definition but it is sooooo soft. With this shawl I'm also joining in with the shawl season KAL (#shawlseasonkal).
The other project I'm about to start is my Christmas Sweater. I decided that a Christmas sweater would actually be better as a first stranded colorwork project, because I wouldn't mind it as much if my tension is all screwed up, since it's just a christmas sweater. So I can practice on this first and then move on to nicer projects. I've swatched with both red & white and navy blue & white and I'm still trying to decide which color I should go for.. there is my analysis paralysis again!