5 Shawls 5 Days Challenge

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

Day1_TriangleSince 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.

Examples of triangle-shaped shawls that I love on Ravelry: The Oaklet Shawl by Megan Goodacre (free) and Canopy by Megan from Mandarine’s.

Day 2 – Crescent

Day2_CrescentI 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…

Examples of crescent-shaped shawls that I love on Ravelry: Kaipuu by Tiina Huhtaniemi (free) and Aisling by Justyna Lorkowska.

Day 3 – Asymmetric Triangle (and scrambled eggs)

Day3_AsymmetricI 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!

Examples of asymmetric-triangle-shaped shawls that I love on Ravelry: Zaria by Shannon Squire (free) and Iraira by Francoise Danoy (Frenchie, aka Aroha Knits!).

Day 4 – Half-Pi (and a pizza slice)

Day4_Half-piOh 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!

Examples of half-pi shawls on Ravelry (there are not so many!): Sleeveheart by Alyssa McFarland (free) and Gradient Half Pi by Ann Weaver.

Day 5 – Square

Day5_SquareWell, 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…

Happy knitting!

Erika (LoareKnits)

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…

Happy knitting!

Erika (LoareKnits)


FO – Lace Leaf Hat

I just finished knitting my first lace pattern hat (really my first lace garment whatsoever) and I have become addicted. I chose the Lace Leaf Hat pattern by Sophy Ting that I found on Ravelry, which is a free pattern. Ravelry, for those of you who are not familiar with is basically yarn and pattern heaven. If you do not have an account there, I strongly suggest you make one, because there are thousands of patterns and it’s the perfect place to look for inspiration. But talking about Ravelry would be a post on its own, so I will leave that for another day…

I chose this pattern to begin my journey into lace knitting because I really wanted to learn how to make those tiny leaves that I kept seeing everywhere, and because it was designed to be knit in worsted weight yarn, which happens to be my (current) favourite yarn weight to knit hats… Those of you who follow me on Instagram might have noticed that I have been in a hat knitting frenzy this autumn/winter season!

I made this hat for my colleague’s mom, who just underwent surgery for a breast cancer and is going through chemotherapy now. I really can’t imagine what she’s going through, but if I could help her feel a little better I would be really happy. So I thought I could knit her a hat!

I happened to have two skeins of Drops Big Merino in the Marble (08) colourway in my stash, that I thought would suit the pattern perfectly…


Drops Big Merino is a superwash-treated 100% Merino Wool yarn. It’s amazingly soft and so fluffy, and warm but airy. Combined with a lace pattern… perfect for the begining of the spring! And even though I wasn’t convinced the lace would show well with such a thick thread, you’ll see what convinced me below…

I also wasn’t sure about the twisted K1/P1 ribbing (knitting and purling through the back loop) but I stuck to the pattern and I think it goes really well with it. A classical K1P1 ribbing (my favourite) would shrink the edge and the lace pattern would not show so well. As I was knitting it, which was totally addictive because the lace pattern alternates easy increases and decreases with all-knit rows, it seemed to give quite a textured fabric. But the leaves were there, and that made me oh so happy!

But, as you can see, it seemed too bulky! I knew that wearing it would stretch the fabric and make it look more even. But of course that was before blocking it… Normally I wouldn’t block my hats very aggresively, because I like the ribbing tight. So what I would do is place it in a balloon and dampen it a bit, but not fully immerse it. The hats that I have made for me, with superwash wool, I have indeed put in the washing machine and laid flat to dry.

But I have never seen this much difference before… Today I saw the magic of blocking appear before my eyes!

And what a difference! A picture speaks a thousand words… So judge for yourselves! Yes, it’s the same hat. Before and after blocking. I just put it in the washing machine, in a short cold program and then laid flat to dry, making sure I wasn’t stretching the ribbing.

The only thing I’m not very happy about is how the cast on looks, I usually like this for my K1P1 ribbed hats, but I’m not convinced about it with this twisted ribbing… I might try another one if I ever knit this again.

So, what do you think? Have you experienced any miracle blocking too? How do you usually block your hats?

If you want to see my project on Ravelry, click here.

Happy Sunday and happy knitting!

Erika (LoareKnits)


Hoy os enseño mi primera prenda acabada en el blog. He tejido el Lace Leaf Hat de Sophy Ting, un patrón gratis en Ravelry. Otro día hablaré más sobre Ravelry, pero si no tenéis una cuenta… ¡Deberíais hacerla! Porque hay miles de patrones (muchos de ellos gratis) y es mi sitio preferido para buscar inspiración. Es el primer gorro que he tejido con un punto calado, pero me ha encantado. Tenía muchas ganas de aprender a tejer esas “hojas” que veía en todas partes, y no ha sido tan difícil como pensaba. Lo he tejido en mi lana preferida para los gorros, la Big Merino de Drops. Y lo que más me ha gustado es ver cómo cambiaba el patrón después de bloquear la prenda (que lo único que he hecho es meterla en la lavadora en un ciclo corto en frío y secarla en horizontal, asegurándome de no estirar mucho el borde). Es una prenda muy especial porque es para la madre de una compañera de trabajo que acaba de ser operada de un cáncer de pecho y ahora empieza la quimio… ¡Pensé que un gorrito tal vez le ayudaría a sentirse un poco mejor durante la recuperación!

Puedes ver mi proyecto en Ravelry aquí.

¿Y tú, cómo bloqueas tus gorros? ¿Has experimentado la magia del bloqueo recientemente?

Feliz domingo, happy knitting!

Erika (LoareKnits)