Saturday, September 18, 2010

Blue Shawl Beginning

I am my sister-in-law's Secret Santa this year having drawn her name at the family Christmas get-together last year. This is the third year we have done it this way. Not only does it make shopping easier for everybody but each person gets one very nice gift (minimum $50) instead of a dozen or so inexpensive items (under $10).

I've been planning to crochet something for my sister-in-law ever since I drew her name but until today I had not settled on what. She is not a reader so my specialties, bookmarks and book covers are not an option. She loves to cook and likes clothes and purses. Her favorite color is the same as mine--blue. I considered doilies, a drawstring purse or a set of four place mats with napkin rings and coasters crocheted out of the size 10 thread I use most often for the bookmarks. And I considered a scarf, a shawl, a handbag or an afghan made with yarn.

Today Ed took me shopping for the thread or yarn and I settled on the shawl. If I get it done in plenty of time, I may add one of the other smaller projects like a set of coasters, a purse or a doily. Or I may add something bought, most likely something she can use for cooking or table-setting.

I've chosen to use the cross stitch that I learned for one of the bookmark patterns last February. I was going to work a large triangle, adding two X stitches to each new row, but I couldn't figure out how to add them. I suppose I could have found out online but I realized I didn't have the patience today to learn a new skill like that, I just wanted to get started. So I decided to make it long and narrow--maybe 1/3 the length of an afghan or three times the width of a scarf--between 20 and 30 inches.. And about 60 to 70 inches long, counting the tassels on each end, so that it reaches both wrists when wrapped around the neck. I carefully counted out my chain in threes (each X stitch uses 3 chains with the legs of the X on either side of a blank one) until it looked about right. It's approximately 28 inches.

The yarn that I settled on today is one of those textured yarns, a Lion product called Homespun and the color is called Windsor which is a blend of blue and lavender. I'm not sure how much it is going to take but I estimated 4 to 6 of the 185 yd skeins based on the directions on one for an afghan that called for 15. Ed said to pick up two today and get started and he'll pick up the rest over the next two weeks. Once I finish with one skein I should have a better idea of how much I will need total.

I haven't crocheted with yarn since highschool when I made two afghans at the time my mom first taught me how to crochet. Whether for embroider, needlepoint, or cross stitch, I've always preferred to work with the threads over the yarns so I'm left wondering now if I might of got hooked on crochet back then if I'd learned on the thread instead of the yarn.

I've never worked with a textured yarn. It is a bit of a challenge but it was getting easier by the end of the first row so I'm hoping it will get even easier as I progress. The trick--as always--is in controlling the tension on the yarn and the size of the loops.

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