A couple of weeks ago, when Françoise (or Frenchie, as her friends call her) from Aroha Knits proposed this challenge, I joined without hesitation. I had recently purchased some fingering weight yarn and I was eager to try my luck at shawl knitting, now that the colder days seem to be over. But the planets aligned and before I jumped head first, there was the ever so helpful Frenchie with the perfect challenge/mini-course for me (and for everyone)!
For those of you who don’t know her, Frenchie is an amazing knitwear designer. But she’s really more than that. In her blog, she always shares the most useful tips for aspiring designers. If you’re not following her, you should. Even if you don’t plan on pursuing a designing career, her gorgeous pictures will brighten up your feed!
The 5 Shawls 5 Days Challenge was a mini-course where she taught us the basics about shawl construction, showing us how to knit 5 shawl shapes. Every day she sent us the pattern for a basic shape and we had to knit no more than 30 min. This challenge was hosted as the anticipation or a taste of her upcoming e-book, Forming Shawls and Their Charts, a copy of which we could win by successfully completing the challenge! Which run until today… So, good luck to everyone who participated!
And now, the mini-shawls…
Day 1 – Triangle
Since I had never knit a shawl before, I had never tried the garter cast on. But there was Frenchie, where she perfectly explained it in a video. The markers were a bit cumbersome at the beginning, but once I was familiar with the increases I was confident enough to remove them and knit happily ever after… I really loved this shape and I thought it was perfect for a beginner like me.
Day 2 – Crescent
I was not so thrilled about the shape of this mini-shawl at the beginning, and I didn’t enjoy knitting it as much as the triangle. I had an issue with the YOs in the WS – I had to knit one of them (the first one if I recall correctly) through the back loop in the RS, so that the “holes” would look the same. If not, I would have twisted stitches on one side of the increases. I had never done YOs in the transitions from K to P or P to K so I might be doing them completely wrong and that’s what it was… However, I understood the beauty of this shape and you’ll find out why below…
Day 3 – Asymmetric Triangle (and scrambled eggs)
I really liked this shape. It wasn’t as pointy as the triangular shape at the bottom, so I can imagine it being easier to wrap around, but for some reason it seemed to take forever to grow!
Day 4 – Half-Pi (and a pizza slice)
Oh my! If this wasn’t a challenge… Knitting it was the easy part, so I went all in and added a colour change and a lace pattern. And when I finished I had a mini-shawl the shape of… a pizza slice! I believed in the wonders and miracles of blocking and proceeded to pin the hell out of my mini-shawl… But it was still looking like a hand-fan . What a drama. But then, the ever so helpful Frenchie gave us lots of suggestions and advice, but it was late at night and my head couldn’t get it quite right… Until I saw some very visual tip: to insert a knitting needle on the top edge to make it straight and gather the stitches. So this shape, unlike the others, needed the top edge to be blocked ever so softly and the bottom edge… very aggressively. I was still quite unhappy with it (it’s the one in the bottom), so in the end I decided to knit another sample, starting the increases in the first row, and then it did look more of a half-pi rather than a pizza slice. Surprisingly , it was the sample that got more love on Instagram… Oh the irony!
Day 5 – Square
Well, it was… A square. Quite an unusual shape for a shawl, if you ask me. This was also difficult to knit from the center with DPNs… And I ditched the markers from the beginning. It was also difficult to find patterns on Ravelry featuring this construction, but I think Too Ra Loo Ra Hap by Brittney-Jean Bailey is one of them. As expected, it can be used as a baby blanket… Or folded as a shawl…
And here’s all of them together:
I learned a lot this week. But you know what the best was? Knitting the mini-shawls along with some friends (you girls know who you are), sharing our successes and struggles, helping and encouraging each other… And all the wonderful new people I have connected with through them! Also, discovering how helpful and approachable Frenchie is, you know, despite being a successful designer and all, not only did she organise all this, but she was always attentive and ready to help. Exploring the #5shawls5days tag while having breakfast each morning made this week such an exciting one… It’s the little things!
In case you missed the challenge, you can still do the DIY version by yourself, and I highly recommend it! Indeed, I have been bitten by the shawl-bug and have cast on a full-sized one! I chose to cast on Kaipuu by Tiina Huhtaniemi and you can take a peek at it in my Ravelry project here. I decided to make a crescent-shaped shawl, because even if I loved the triangle shawl, I thought it would be too tall to wrap around my neck, and the asymmetric felt a little too long and to slow to knit as a first project. But more thoughts on that and on my Kaipuu in the next post…
Hoy os explico mi experiencia con el reto 5 Chales 5 Días organizado por Françoise (Frenchie para los amigos), también conocida como Aroha Knits. Un ejercicio fantásico para iniciarse en el mundo de la construcción de chales. Como siempre, sus consejos geniales. He aprendido mucho, tanto que me he animado a empezar a tejer mi primer chal… He elegido el patrón Kaipuu de Tiina Huhtaniemi y podéis echar un vistazo a cómo va mi proyecto en mi página de Ravelry aquí… Pero os explico más acerca de él en el próximo post…