Formal Lace Shawl

SONY DSC SONY DSC SONY DSCSONY DSCSONY DSCSONY DSCSONY DSCPicMonkey Collage   It’s finished! It’s been blocked! And my toddler didn’t eat any pins off the blocking board.  I call this a win, win, win situation.  The lace is shiny and lustrous and has a beautiful drape, perfect for frolicking in meadows (or my backyard).  I hope it’s also perfect for formal events but I can’t be sure until Saturday.  The result is totally worth the crazy, struggling process of making it (click that link if you want the gory details). Now I’ve just got the issue of styling and accessorizing to worry about.  Wait, what do you mean a shawl is an accessory? No, no, no, the shawl is the main event!  Everything must compliment the shawl.  I’m not going to tell you all how many times I’ve tried on my outfit, thrown it back into the closet, and dragged it back out again so that I could glare at it better. I think I made the classic error of investing so much love and excitement into this shawl that there isn’t an outfit in the world (or my price range) that can measure up to it. So right now the shawl, dress, and I are in a cooling-off period. Mister Lace Shawl is buried in the back of my closet with the evening dress and I’m not going to look at either of them all day.  This is good because I’m actually very busy today.  I’ve got an important meeting to attend, a toddler to occupy, a potluck dish to whip up, and a good book to read.  Speaking of books, have you heard of Women Are Scary?  I literally just held back tears through the first chapter because I felt so much hope while reading it.  Nobody really tells you how lonely motherhood can be, and if they do you don’t believe them because babies. Babies are cute. Pattern notes if you’re interested:  Pattern is Maia Shawl by Lisa Naskrent. I used an entire three balls of Lace Lux by Lana Grossa and had to cut out a border repeat to make that happen. I would caution against using Lace Lux if you tend to make mistakes because it is nearly impossible to rip out.  The wool surrounding the metalic thread gets tangled very easily and I may or may not have used a seam ripper to frog my swatch for extra yarn… I used a size 5mm hook instead of the recommended size because I’m cool like that and I wanted a lacier shawl. Well, have a lovely day, all!  I hardly know what to do with my hands now that I’ve finished my shawl but I think I recall having one or five works-in-progress to keep me busy… Talk soon!

How (not) to crochet a lace shawl

SONY DSCStep 1: Spend at least one hour carefully choosing yarn to match an evening gown that you haven’t tried on yet. Do not have a pattern in mind while you shop.  It’s much easier to find the pattern after you’ve limited yourself by the amount and type of yarn you’ve bought.  Bonus points for bringing your fussy toddler and exhausted husband with you to the yarn shop.

Step 2: Try on dress.  When dress does not fit properly, have a small meltdown. Consider sacrificing knitting hours for extra jogging hours in order to become both shorter and less lumpy. Have a good laugh when you come to your senses.

Step 3: Pick a shawl pattern after no less than three hours on Ravelry.  You should make sure to take into account how many meters of yarn you’ve purchased so you’re sure to have enough. Or just pick any pretty pattern you like and ignore all pattern notes.  There’s no way this shawl can take 1,000 meters and you’ll most definitely be fine with the 600 you’ve bought.

Step 4: Begin crocheting.  Choose any size hook you like!  This is supposed to be fun! Bonus points for starting the shawl in a moving car while riding down a winding, country road while simultaneously trying to sooth a toddler and balance your ipad with the pattern on one knee.

Step 5: Frog first 20 rows because you did not read the pattern all the way through before charging blindly ahead.  Instead of a triangular shawl you have started to crochet a lace amoeba.  Since your yarn was rather expensive, frog what you’ve created and start fresh.

Step 6: Come to the terrible realization that you can’t rip back the amoeba because the yarn you’ve chosen has fused to itself.  Narrowly avoid meltdown by breaking yarn and tossing your lace amoeba into a cupboard.

Step 7: Crochet madly for a few hours until you have a nice chunk of lace.  Feel smug and confident that you’ll have this shawl finished in plenty of time.  Only work on the shawl when you’re bored of other projects or need something fancy for your Instagram.

Step 8: Panic. You’ve run out of yarn and the shawl is puny.  Raid your stash.  When you realize that nothing in your stash goes well with “shiny”, come to terms with the fact that you just need to suck it up and buy another ball, even if it is rather expensive. You’ve already come this far, don’t wimp out now. Maybe you can find a good deal on the Internet.  Bonus points for choosing a colorway that has been discontinued.

Step 9: Procure yarn from local yarn shop. Hope the dye lots aren’t horrendously different.  Crochet leisurely.  Now that you’ve purchased a whole new ball you will be able to make a huge shawl and have loads of wool leftover to crochet something fancy like earrings. No worries.

Step 10: Panic. You are running out of yarn.  Do some math, cut out repeats, crochet quickly.  The faster you crochet, the less likely that you will run out of yarn.SONY DSC

Step 11: Cry.  You have run out of yarn on the final row of your border.

Step 12: Go and find the lace amoeba that you weren’t able to frog.  Procure seam ripper.  Gently pry stitches apart until you have salvaged enough yarn to finish the border.  Bonus points if you have a toddler who will destroy your house while you do this. Watch as she hides your credit cards and driver’s license under the rug.  Hopefully you have a backup seam ripper because she will hurl the one you’re using (lid on, thankfully) into the oblivion.SONY DSCSONY DSC

Step 13:  Rejoice! And block. Victory is yours.  I hope you have enough pins.

My shawl is finally blocking and I am hiding from my crochet hooks for the night. What a whirlwind.  Thankfully I’ve found an evening gown that matches my yarn and still have four more days to string some pearls to tie it all together.  I can’t wait to show you all what the shawl looks like after blocking! Isn’t it such a mystical process?  Watch this space for sparkly updates soon.SONY DSC

April WIPs and Vintage Finds


Hello my lovelies.  I hope you’re having a fabulous weekend full of tea and crafting.  I’ve been enjoying lots of time with Mr. Pickle and Toddler Pickle.  Yesterday we went to our monthly flea market for some treasure hunting. The mister got some electronic doodads to fiddle with and the little one got a new book of German songs.  I came home with a few tablecloths (one of which is destined to become a Mei Tai or Onbu), vintage buttons, a lovely little painting that looks so familiar, and a load of vintage linens that I’ll be using for sewing projects this week.  I’m very excited to show you what I’ll be making, so please watch this space!

As I was stashing my new treasures away I started rifling through my WIP basket.  The pile of yarn has been growing and when that happens I start to feel a little disconnected from what I’m making.  The obvious solution to this problem was to drag my projects out into the sunlight and take some photos.  My logic is that if I show you what I’m making I’ll be accountable for finishing them!

On the hook I’ve got a granny square cowl from Knit Picks Chroma in Smoothie Fingering (a discontinued colorway) and some fuzzy fingerless gloves in a mix of vintage acrylic yarns.  It’s a bit too warm to think about working on any sort of gloves, which is unfortunate because I’m also knitting a pair of wristwarmers that were supposed to be a Christmas present last year (oops). Also on the needles is my Lonely Tree Shawl in double stranded Tosca Light and my Stripemania socks which are determined not to fall prey to SSS (Second Sock Syndrome)!  Oh, and the pièce de résistance in crochet, my Lace Lux Maia Shawl.  I have less than a week to finish, block, and string a set of pearls to match.  Eek.  Here’s a little sneak peek….Happy Crafting!