Friendship shawl

Today I had the immense pleasure of a day-long visit with a dear friend I hadn’t seen in three years, and to celebrate I made her this shawl! I only picked up the yarn on Thursday, so it was a real race to the finish — I worked on it for 1-3 hours every night, and ended up doing the last three rows in front of her while we chatted. It got done just in the nick of time. My right thumb is feeling cranky and will definitely need a rest, but that’s ok. I’m just glad I managed to pull it off.

The yarn is Lion Brand Shawl in a Ball Metallic, in the colourway “Prism”. It’s got beautiful long transitions between sort of peacock-y colours, and a strand of blue metallic thread carried through the whole thing. Pictures don’t show how nicely it sparkles! The yarn is pretty soft to work with despite the metallic element, and it doesn’t fuzz and fray as much as regular SiaB; I had some of the non-metallic version a few years back and it was a nightmare to work with and impossible to frog. Whether this is a difference between the two related product lines or just a general improvement, I’m not sure.

This is a “virus” pattern — so-called because it expands in every row, and you just let it grow until it’s the right size. This particular one is often just called virus, although technically I think it’s German shells. It’s a simple four-row repeating pattern, and once I reminded myself how to get started it was pleasantly mindless. (I’ve done the same pattern before for another shawl and a baby blanket.) For this I used a size H hook, which gave me a lot of drape.

Fun fact: someone once pointed out to me that the centre line of the pattern looks like angry owls. I can’t unsee it and now neither will you.

Fiesta Virus Shawl

No, not “fiesta virus” … although that sounds distinctly more fun than corona virus (olé!). This is my latest finished project, a virus shawl made with Red Heart’s It’s A Wrap (Rainbow) in the colourway Fiesta.

When I made my mini-lotus blanket back in April (now lending my nightstand a splash of colour), I still was left with an entire second skein of the same yarn. I didn’t want to make another lotus — it’s a great project but doing two of anything in a row is pretty boring — so I set it aside for a while and worked on other things.

The virus shawl pattern has been around for a while, but as you can perhaps imagine, it’s gained a lot of popularity recently due to the name. What’s more apt than spending your quarantine/self-isolation crocheting something with a viral name. As my feed filled up with virus scarves an shawls and blankets, I figured, hey, why not hop on this bandwagon too?

There was only one problem: there isn’t a written pattern for the virus. There’s a printed pattern, and there are a lot of videos, but that’s it. Now, I far prefer written patterns to printed ones, which I still have trouble deciphering. And I’m not crazy about video tutorials because you’re always either rushing to catch up or waiting around for the next step… not to mention how few content creators include useful things like timestamps for their videos. But what can you do? Sometimes you just have to bite the bullet and… watch the video. I know, I know, the sacrifices I make!

Much to my (pleasant) surprise, the pattern turned out to be much easier than it looks, consisting of a simple four-row repeat that was easy to memorize. It’s also seriously customizable in terms of yarn weight (any will do) and overall size (since you just keep repeating until you either decide to stop or run out of yarn). This is definitely a pattern I’ll keep in my back pocket to make again.

(With many thanks to my model, Perpetua, who loves to be fancy.)

Stripey prayer shawl

I (finally) finished my second offering for the prayer shawl ministry at church, which took significantly longer than the last one since I was starting from scratch rather than adapting a mostly-finished project. Here’s a look at the final piece:

It’s not so bright under more natural lighting — this picture was taken under fluorescent lights — so imagine it looking a bit more muted. I didn’t count when I made my initial chain, just went until it seemed like the proper width. I counted later on; it ended up being 99 stitches across (working with a size G/4mm hook and an allegedly worsted-weight yarn). At 72 rows to completion, that comes to 7,128 stitches. And in my trusty triple stitch, that meant nearly 50,000 individual loops of yarn, including the turns at the end of each row. So no wonder it took a few weeks!

The yarn I used was Red Heart Unforgettable in the “Gossamer” colourway, which I both loved and hated. It’s extremely soft for acrylic and felt good on my hands while I was working it. I also love the peacock-y colour scheme, and the self-striping, occasional ombré effect that comes from having yards and yards of yarn between the slow changes. What drove me absolutely up the wall, though, was that it is extremely unevenly spun.

You can see that in the photo above; compare the width of the strands in the yellow-orange and the dark purple at the bottom. The yarn would sometimes get as thin as fine-weight, or as thick as bulky, which made things like keeping a consistent gauge and tension a real challenge. Would I use this yarn again? Maybe, but it would depend heavily on the specific project I had in mind. I certainly wouldn’t recommend it to a beginner. 

At any rate, the thing is done, and I hope it will go to someone who will love it and use it.