This is the blog post that didn't want to be written. Don't ask me why - I love the shawl that I have to show you today, and I enjoyed making it, so it's not down to any lack of enthusiasm. It's been finished for over a month, and I've had the photos ready to go for more than a fortnight, but for some reason whenever I sat down to talk to you about it I wasn't sure what to say. Writer's block is a bit of a melodramatic term to use for this little blog of mine, but that's what it felt like. Has anyone else had that problem?
Anyway, I decided that I needed to just get on and write something, so here's my amazing technicolour dream shawl...
The pattern is the Flower Mosaic shawl which appeared in issue 64 of Inside Crochet. I saw it on the cover when I was browsing the craft/sewing magazines, and instantly loved the riot of colour. I didn't have a crochet project on the go at the time, so I ordered the yarn and got started.
The shawl started off life back in April as this pile of balls of Scheepjeswol Cotton 8. The original pattern uses more colours, but there were some in there that I wasn't so keen on so I decided to limit it to 12. That's the minimum number that the pattern recommends, and I'd agree with that - you wouldn't want to have less than this if you want to not have 2 flowers of the same colour too close together. For reference, the colours I used were turquoise, light blue/green, fuchsia, purple, pink, white, grey/blue, cobalt, petrol, canary, orange and red.
The shawl is made up of 1,035 little flowers, which are joined together as you go. Joining as you go is definitely the best way for me to make projects made up of lots of individual motifs - I have a pile of various crochet squares that were destined to become a blanket which are testament to the fact that I get bored of projects that are going to involve lots of seaming at the end!
1,035 seemed like quite a daunting number at the start of the project, but it was surprising how quickly the shawl grew. I mainly worked on it in my lunch breaks, so lots of fairly small chunks of time, which were perfect for this because it was easy to pick up and put down and each flower was finished pretty quickly.
I had a self-imposed rule that I had to weave in the ends from each day's flowers before I could start doing more flowers the next day, because if I'd finished crocheting and then had to weave in 2,070 ends then the shawl would have been left neglected in a corner with the offending ends staring at me in an accusatory manner whilst refusing to weave themselves in.
I had to go up from a 3mm hook to a 4mm one to get the gauge used in the pattern, but I think my gauge might have decreased as the project went on because my finished shawl is still smaller than the dimensions stated. That's no surprise though - I obviously take all my stress out on crochet and make it super tight. When I did my crochet course, everything I made turned out smaller than it did for everyone else in the class! Hey well, better to transfer the stress to the crochet than having it fester inside of me!
I just have one problem with this project - I need to work out how to wear shawls more elegantly! Whenever I put it on, it just looks a bit of a mess. I need get better at that though, because I seem to be drawn to shawl patterns much more than scarves for both knitting and crochet. Has anyone got any tips for me?