January 16, 2014

Two Shawls

Do people even wear shawls these days? Like, in public? My mom had (still has?) a white shawl which I remember she sometimes wore to church on Easter Sunday. But despite the many shawls I can find on Ravelry (I'm on Ravelry, but it's pretty pointless following me since I don't queue or show off projects there) and in books, I can't think of a single time I've been out and about and have noticed someone wearing a shawl like it was no big thing. The kid I saw wearing his fuzzy team blanket on the way to watch a Seahawks game doesn't count.

I seem to like making shawls, though. They are big enough to be a satisfying project without getting as unwieldy as a blanket. You don't have to do any fitting. You barely have to think about gauge. And although I'm still trying to figure out how to wear them, especially when I leave the house, they seem like a good idea for me, given my tendency to wear blankets when I'm home. (Don't knock it: a fuzzy crocheted blanket wrapped around you toga-style is perhaps impractical for most things but oh-so-cosy for end of day couch time.)

This shawl started as a pair of socks. I picked up crocheting because it's a portable crafty project to work on in loose social situations or while waiting for Caitlyn somewhere; quilts don't travel well. Making socks seemed like a good, small project that would finish with something useful. I don't know if it was the pattern or me, but what I ended up with, after finishing one sock and starting the next, was a saggy, sloppy thing, with the weirdest bulge at the top of the foot. This was a sock you could wear over a tennis ball sized growth. I gave up and tore it all out.
a greenish shawl
I found this pattern on Ravelry and used up almost all the sock yarn (just some JoAnn branded wool blend). The pattern probably wants a differnt yarn or maybe just a larger hook. My version is significantly less lacy than the pattern photo.

But! This shawl isn't so big that I can't wear it under a jacket. If I wear it "backwards" it works as an scarf accent (maybe?); when I get to where I'm going and the big jacket comes off, the scarf turns around and becomes more shawl like, keeping my shoulders warm in cool restaurants.
a greenish shawl
Now, this next shawl is much bigger and I haven't decided how best to wear it. The yarn came from a abandoned and reclaimed knitting project (I used to knit - who knew?). I'd started a sweater back in the mid '90s and either got the wrong yarn, used the wrong needles, or just didn't get the gauge right. After finishing the back and half a sleeve, and after using up more than half the yarn I'd bought, I was clear I was knitting something for someone maybe half my size. The project lived in a bag for years (and moved several times) until finally a friend ripped it all out for me.
a festival shawl
This is a much better use of the yarn. The pattern is here, and I think I did a much better job matching hook size and yarn weight this second time, too.

Now, if only I could figure out how or with what to wear this one...


  1. Your shawls are lovely! If you learn any tricks for wearing them, share! I've knit and crocheted a few and I do wear them of an evening, but as you say, it always seems like a big deal. I do better with shrugs as they stay in place without me having to fuss with them.

    I have seen people casually wearing shawls as they walk about, but they actually seemed to enjoy the constant attention a shawl requires while any article of clothing that needs attention to stay in place while I'm moving about my day will drive me batty. So I tend to wear shawls when I'm going to be sitting in one place, dining and/or attending some sort of performance. In that case, a shawl is actually a boon because of it's easy on/off nature and the fickle nature of air conditioning/heating systems in halls and restaurants.

  2. I like your shawls! I've never worn one in public but I would try to use a brooch or a giant safety pin to secure it in place or at least keep it from opening.

    1. A large brooch would probably do the trick. I don't have one and should probably look around. I'd want one that was large but rather subtle - is that a thing you can get in a brooch? I did have a "shawl pin" that was a wooden circle with a wooden stick. You sort of wove the stick through the lace of the shawl within the circle. It worked ok until the stick part broke, on the first day I tried to wear it!

    2. Maybe you could try a brooch with something out of fabric on top, like a fabric flower. You'll probably find a lot of free tutorials on the net and could make your own, that looks like an ornament on the shawl.