Last week I participated in the 5shawls 5 Days Challenge by Aroha Knits. It is a challenge where you knit 5 basic shawl shapes, 1 shape each day. When you join the challenge you get access to a private Facebook group. The group is very supportive and active. I have learned a lot and am inspired to work on more shawls and maybe try my hand at designing a shawl.
The shape for day 1 was a Triangle and the second Day was the 3/4 shawl. The third day was a crescent shawl, the fourth day was the swirl shawl and day 5 was the asymmetrical shawl. Three of those shapes used a garter tab cast on. It can be fiddly but I am really starting to like it. A lot of shawl patterns use this cast on. Here is a tutorial in case you are curious. With the crescent shawl, I had to do a yarn over on the purl side and I struggled with that but once I found a tutorial I enjoyed seeing the shape come together. Day 4 was a swirl shawl. I really struggled with that shape. It called for using double pointed needles and I am not very comfortable with the technique at all. I tried to do it several times but could never get past the first row so I ended up skipping that day. That is why the photos only show 4 shapes. I think I need more practice on double pointed needles before I try to make that shape again.
The challenge also had the hashtag #5shawls5days on Instagram. When I looked at the hashtag, many people got creative with stitch patterns and used different cast offs. I now want to learn the picot cast off. The host, did a bonus lesson where she shows how to incorporate stitch patterns into the shapes. I haven’t watched it yet but I plan to this week. I may try experimenting with incorporating a stitch pattern into the triangle shawl shape.
I both knit and crochet but recently I wasn’t that inspired by crochet and I was knitting a lot more than I was crocheting. On Ravelry, I am a member of a group called the International Freeform Forum-IFFF. The group is about freeform crochet, knitting and mixed media. Freeform crochet and knitting is making a piece without a pattern and being creative with the colors and stitch patterns. The group will often have have freeform alongs (FFAL) which are crochet alongs* for free form work. The theme of one of their recent FFALs was Everything Old is New Again. The thread on Ravelry said that the theme can be interpreted as re purposing an old project or clothing, using a motif from an old project in a new project or using a classic technique in an updated way. In the thread, a lot of the group members were so talented and creative and that was inspiring to me.
This FFAL made me think of 2 granny squares I had. They were leftover from a blanket I made a few years ago. They didn’t fit in with that project and sat in with my yarn scraps because I didn’t know what to do with them. I read the theme and immediately had the idea for make a bag around those 2 squares. I decided on a light blue, beige and dark blue color theme color theme. I also decided to use yarn leftover from other projects.
I based the shape of the bag on another bag I made several years ago.I crocheted 16 squares and then sewed them together. With the straps, I ended up single crocheting around the top of the bag and then crocheting the straps. I am happy with how it turned out and I had fun making it. I was a long time lurker in the group but this was the first time I had participated in a FFAL. The other members of the group were so welcoming and supportive and it meant a lot to me. It was so encouraging to be able to interact with other crocheters and knitters and have them be so supportive.
*A group of people making piece at the same time and posting their experiences in a forum or blog.
One of my current projects is this scarf I am making using the mitered square technique. Mitered squares get their shape from decreases in the middle of the row you are currently knitting. A lot of knitters will make blankets out of sock yarn using this technique. The book, Knits from a Painter’s Palette made me want to learn how to make mitered squares. This book is well worth checking out. The patterns are lovely and I love how creative the designer was in using mitered squares and modular knitting. I decided to make a patchwork scarf. instead of a blanket.
I didn’t make the squares the way the book recommends. I used the instructions from this pattern. I also found this tutorial helpful. Before I started, I did a web search on mitered squares and found out there are several ways to make them. At first, I was concerned that I wasn’t doing it correctly. I asked for advice on Ravelry and was told to make them the way I feel comfortable. I decided I was most comfortable with the technique listed in the above pattern and tutorial. I originally was going to make the scarf using scrap yarn. I started the project and ran out of the purple yarn I was using and had to buy more. Then I bought some dark grey to add a neutral color.
With mitered squares, you can either make the squares and sew them together later or you can join them as you go. At first I made a bunch and sewed them together. Then I figured out how to join them as I go and I prefer that technique. The video above has instructions on how to join as you go starting at 8:40. The earlier half of the video shows a couple of other ways to decrease in the middle. I enjoy making mitered squares. Once I got the hang of it, they are not difficult to make and I can be creative with how I put the colors together.