Summer is a time when I gravitate towards certain types of projects: lace (not too hot and bulky), socks (small and portable), shawls (don’t have to worry about fit), and crochet (fast).
Hitting three out of four of my vacation-project favourites, this seems like the perfect time of year to review one of Interweave’s latest compilation books: Classic Crochet Shawls. This book includes 20 shawl patterns from the Interweave archives, so some may look familiar as they’ve all been previously published in either books or magazines. One nice thing about using older patterns is that you can see projects for pretty much all of the patterns on Ravelry which can be very helpful especially when choosing yarn substitutions.
One of my favourite patterns with a beautiful edging: Tiffany Shawl by Jill Wright
Shawls can be a great place for trying a new technique since gauge and size are much less important than for a fitted garment. Whether you’re new to crochet or have lots of crochet experience, there are lots of techniques to explore: filet crochet, beaded crochet, broomstick lace, popcorn stitches, shawls worked with join-as-you-go motifs, or as one giant motif…
A pretty use of broomstick lace: Flying Broomstick Shawl by Brenda K. B. Anderson
Worked as one giant motif from the center-out, this looks like fun to crochet! Parisian Gardens Circular Shawl by Mary Jane Hall
While there are lots of pretty, lacy summer shawls, there are also some heavier shawls suitable for fall and winter wear.
A simple shawl appropriate for cooler weather: All-in-one Shawl by Karen Whooley
Lace in a worsted weight yarn looks both delicate and cozy: Endymion by Sara Kay Hartmann
There’s a glossary at the end of the book which covers all of the basic crochet stitches and a stitch guide for each pattern that includes instructions for any special stitches or techniques. Although the written instructions are complete, the crochet diagrams throughout are much appreciated by visual learners like me.
Stitch diagrams help visualize how motifs are joined: Blue Lagoon Swirling Hexagon Shawl by Kristin Omdahl
All in all, Classic Crochet Shawls is a lovely collection with patterns from some of my favourite crochet designers. The book is cohesive in terms of look and style and brings together a wide variety of projects, simple to complex, in a range of yarn weights from crochet thread to bulky yarn.
Russian grafting is a method of joining live knitting stitches and is used as an alternative to Kitchener stitch in our Argyle Christmas Stocking pattern. It is a good choice here because the stripes on the toe would not align exactly if you grafted using Kitchener stitch, so the decorative Russian grafting is used instead.
This particular method of Russian grafting uses a crochet hook to join the stitches. Use a crochet hook that is the same size or slightly smaller than your knitting needles. Russian grafting can also be used to join two separate pieces of knitting.
Annie, one of our interns in the dye studio this spring, has been documenting her experience so far. Here's a little taste of what it's like behind the scenes from her perspective:
Today, I mixed some blue dye. Like with the other colors, we have to be very careful with the recipe. Mixing colors feels like being in Breaking Bad. With my gloves, my apron and my mask, I probably look like a mad scientist. It’s probably my favorite task, creating beautiful colors.