Family day with a twist and a plain shawl

17 June 2013
Saturday started out well although it was cold and very windy. We invited some of the family over for lunch so I spent the morning tidying up and preparing for that. When Jens and Cathy arrived they told us a tree had come down in the front yard and it was perched, swaying, on the electrical lines on the road.  Energex was called to deal with it, Kerry and Jamie arrived, we closed the doors to keep the wind out, then settled down to enjoy our lunch. We spent a few very pleasant hours with them and when they left at 3.30pm, we cleaned up and settled in for an evening in with the wind still blowing outside.

In the evening I went into the bedroom to turn on the electrical blanket. Unfortunately for me, my foot caught up in the blanket's electrical cord and when I went to walk away, I tripped and fell in the dark room, smashing my face against the floor and crushing my glasses into my nose. Luckily it was carpeted. Now I have a gash between my eyes, a bruised nose and knees and two black eyes. That's me below yesterday.
Not a pretty sight.

I'm feeling a bit silly about it but I'm a tough old bird and although I look like I've gone three rounds with Mike Tyson, I'm fine although I am a bit sore. I'm giving a talk at the Beerwah CWA on Thursday so I hope I don't scare the ladies.

A few emails arrived after the last post on knitting dishcloths asking for another project for beginners. I also had a few ladies ask about my shawl at the Blackheath workshop so I thought it was a great second project for all those beginner knitters. I know it looks complicated but it isn't and if you know how to cast on and knit garter stitch, you'll only have to learn how to increase and decrease. Simple! 

I have several links below to either patterns or blogs of people who have knitted their own version of this shawl. I love mine and I'm really pleased I knitted it. I used organic cotton and made it in one piece, not using the I-cord that some patterns mention. I used circular needles, size 5, but used as you would normally use two needles. This allowed me to keep a lot of stitches on my needles.

If you don't want the back a triangular shape, don't increase as much.

You'll find the start edge will be straight and the knit front and back edge will be slanted. From the third row you'll increase one stitch in each increase row and every second row is just plain stitching to get back to the straight edge start. If this slant is too much, instead of increasing every second row, increase every fourth row and plain knit three rows. In addition to the cast on and knit stitches you already know, you'll have to learn knit one front and back (K1 f&b), and knit two together (K2tog).  Look at this link to see how to do those two stitches. I didn't want a triangle back so when I got to the back, I stopped increasing so much and only increased about every eighth or twelfth row. If you do this, write down what you do because you'll have to do the exact reverse on the other side when you're decreasing.
This is the start of the shawl.

TOP TIP: Write down your pattern as you knit because when you get to the half way point, you have to mirror what you did on the other side. By writing it all down, you can accurately mirror the decrease side to the increase side.

This is how I did mine, it is all in plain/knit stitch with the increase stitch:
  1. Cast on two stitches.
  2. Knit two stitches - you're now back at the start.
  3. Knit the first stitch, then knit front and back (K1 f&b), knit to the end.
  4. Knit the row back to the start.
Keep knitting in this way until it looks like it might be about half way. Measure the shawl on yourself and when the pointed end hangs down low enough and the back feels comfy, you're half way finished and need to start decreasing.

To do that, at the half-way point:
  1. Knit your next row till you have three stitches left on your left needle. Knit two together (K2tog), then knit the final stitch.
  2. Knit the row back to the start.
Continue those two rows until you're back to your pointy end, then cast off and bind in your loose ends.

I hope you'll try this or one of the other patterns. It's quite a big project but it's easy and fast and doing something like this will build up your knitting skills. Remember, as in everything in life, it doesn't have to be perfect, it just needs to be as good as you can do it. My shawl has a couple of uneven edges but it just serves to show me that I should improve on my next project.

As usual, if you have any problems with this, come to the forum and I, or one of the other members, will help you. Click here to go to the knitting forum.