the hilo shawl
Meet my 2014 summer holiday yarn project. I made this! I actually made this. I still can't quite believe that me, so clumsy and a bit fat of finger can manage to turn a ball of yarn into something as pretty as this.
This shawl has been on my 'one day' list for an age. I always quite fancied it, never thought it would happen though, there always seemed to be other things to do and easier projects to be getting along with. Plus I'm on a 'not allowed to start any new yarn projects until I've finished the bag of incomplete ones' year and so far I've been really good, purchased hardly any wool at all. Hardly. Any. Wool. At. All.
I had my eye on the pattern ever since it graced this front cover. You can see why I wanted to make it, how pretty?
To make sure I could do it, I swatched it (yes I swatched! I'm a goddam crochet hero!), this was to check I could understand the pattern (sometimes it's like reading Greek!) and to see how it looked. Well it looked nothing, NOTHING like the finished article in the magazine. In fact it looked a bit shit.
I was thinking that I'd completely buggered it, rampant thoughts of under achieving swirled around my head but I was reassured (by the powers of instagram!) that it just required the blocking of it's life. Block the hell out of it woman, BLOCK it like MAD!
Thus off I went to the south of France with my bag of silky yarn and every night I sat and happily crocheted (rock and roll), following the pattern like my life depended on it. After a while, a really long while (probably because of my excessive consumption of French red), I fell into the rhythm of the pattern and it became quite meditative, soothing, I didn't want the shawl to ever end.
But end it did, unlike other shawls I've made, this one is constructed long edge first so it is a set length, you can't make it any bigger unless you do the maths and start with a longer opening chain (too much brain work for me). I finished it on our last night in France and it sat in a bag for a few weeks while I plucked up the courage to block it.
I swotted up on 'aggressive' blocking and found out it means submerging the whole piece in warm water, wringing it out in a towel and then stretching the piece into the shape and size you want it to be. It sounds so harsh, too much room for error and I was convinced I'd bugger it up. Sometimes you've got to take the bull by the horns and just do it, so I did, fretted about it the whole time, even once it was all stretched, pinned and sitting up on the dining room table to dry.
Then tick tock, tick tock, waiting, procrastinating and pretending not to see it for a few weeks. Kept telling myself I had to make sure it was dry even though it probably dried that first day I did it. One day I woke up and knew that it was shawl reveal day. I faced the challenge, unpinned it, held my breath the whole time and after all that drama I needn't have worried at all, it came out lovely and I'm already planning another one in black.
The best bit of this story is that I've now got a lovely new shawl to wear. Brilliant.