Sunday, September 27, 2015

2015 State Fair Projects: Crocheted Shawl with Beads

One of my proposed entries for the State Fair was to be a crocheted shawl. I have a skein of yarn of beige, tan, dark brown that I've wanted to make into a scarf or shawl with gold beads. I love the combination of colors and the feel of the yarn; however, more than halfway through my work on it I realized that it was going to be too small to be a shawl. The amount of yarn I had would make a crocheted scarf or a knitted shawl, but definitely not a decent size crocheted shawl. So I needed to make a decision: don't enter a crocheted shawl at all or find some other yarn to make into a shawl. Since there are still a couple of weeks left before entries need to be turned in, I decided to go ahead and find another way to complete the project.

Going through my stash I found several balls of ribbon yarn that I'd acquired from another knitter's destashing. This is Artful Yarns' "Celebrity" -- a discontinued ribbon yarn that's a mix of 40% polyester, 30% acrylic, and 22% nylon. The color is colorway #35, a blend of purple, cream, yellow, light olive green, and brown. I haven't had much experience knitting ribbon yarn, beyond a couple of simple garter-stitch scarves back when "railroad" yarn was the rage several years ago. And I have no experience crocheting with it. It's a bit stiff to work with and the overall look is mixed. Some areas nicely show the width of the ribbon and some areas, particularly chains, squeeze and twist it so you can't even see that it is a ribbon yarn. I decided not to worry about what the yarn was doing and focus on getting the stitches right.

The pattern I started with was "Bonsai Shawl" by Marty Miller in Interweave Crochet Accessories Special Issue 2011, pg. 127. After completing rows 1 and 2 to get the top edge established, I modified the pattern by changing all the single crochet stitches to double crochet stitches to make the shawl larger and airier. 

Here's the shawl on the blocking boards. Based on the fiber content, I'm not sure what blocking will accomplish, but I thought I'd give it a try anyway. The odd lines are yarn tails that I have woven in but not yet trimmed off. I like to do the final cut of tails after blocking in case there's any shrinking or stretching that might affect them. Stretched out, the shawl is approximately 47" by 41" by 41" or 120 cm by 104 cm by 104 cm.

After I finished the body of the shawl, I was pretty pleased with the outcome. However, I remembered that I had already registered my entry as a "crocheted shawl with beads" ... so where were the beads? I suppose I could have ignored the "with beads" and just submitted the shawl as is, but what if that threw the piece out of the competition? (It's hard to outguess the judges on how picky -- and overly judgmental -- they will be. Next year, I'll try to be less specific with my entry descriptions in case I have to make a last minute change.)

So I decided that some beads were needed and started rummaging in my stash. I would need about 55 beads, and they had to be (1) large enough for the yarn to fit through their holes, and (2) able to compete with the busyness of the yarn and not get lost in the piece. I had about 60 of these metallic-colored beads which looked like they meet the criteria. I strung all the beads on the yarn and attached them to the shawl by a series of chain stitches along the edge of the shawl. 

One of the things I liked about the original pattern was the points on the shawl edges. Unfortunately, these were rather lost in the application of the beaded edging, but the alternative would have been to start over and incorporate the beads as I crocheted...and I was able to talk myself out of that pretty quickly.

All that's left now is to wait till the shawl is dry and to snip off the remainders of the yarn tails. I'm not sure I'd ever wear the piece, but it was an interesting challenge to crochet with ribbon yarn at least one time. Although I have a couple of balls left, I don't want to do anything with this yarn again. I plan to donate what's left to my knitting group. It's always fun to see what other knitters do with yarn that I no longer like.

1 comment:

Jane McLellan said...

An interesting project. I hope the judges like it!