My first knitting project of the year is a triangular shawl. The pattern was the Lavalette Shawl by Kirsten Kapur. I haven't made one of these triangular shawls yet, somehow. Okay, I admit, for a long time I thought of it as one of those kinda weird thing that knitters like to make that looked like a bandanna. But I've come completely around. I'm a little tired of rectangles, and I've done a lot of people watching. I've noticed people wearing (knit or not) things that kind of looked like triangular shawls and noticed that they can look quite cute and useful. Now that I've finished one I don't think I would mind having several more, and there are a lot of cute patterns out there...
The Yarn: I grabbed some very cheap & on sale yarn at Joann's a few weeks back. At $2.50 a ball with no sales tax in Oregon? Worth it just to play around! It's Deborah Norville's Serenity Garden in Hibiscus, which is "100% Dralon Microfiber." There are two things I don't know in that last sentence, who the heck is the lady staring at me from the yarn labels and what the heck is meant by Dralon microfiber. Regardless, I enjoyed working with the yarn, which I was doing on US size 7 needles. The recommended needle size is US 3-5, and I found that the larger size made the fabric feel light and drapey. It reminded me just a little of working with bamboo yarn, which is soft and a little slippery, although obviously, not as luxurious as bamboo.
First a Sock Attempt: I actually attempted to work on a pair of socks and got a pattern repeat or so through the cuff before deciding the project was a little too frustrating and not enough fun with the tools I had. US Size 1.5 needles in wood. I've broken too many wood needles this size and smaller. I guess that's not a hugely common problem, but for me it either comes from checking my progress by trying socks on too many times, attempting tricky patterns that end up making me bend the wood til it snaps, or the fact that my hands are a little sweaty from time to time, wearing down the strength of the wood. I have some other theories about that too, but none of these things are habits I plan on changing. So, I decided with that attempt that I was going to officially give up trying to use wood needles below size 3 or so. So no more socks for me for a bit until I get myself some metal needles. I suspect this will lead to a mad hunt for metal needles in the near future because of an overwhelming desire to make some more socks, but so far so good.
About the Yarn Color: I wasn't sure if I was going to like this yarn in the end. It was a little splitty and difficult for the sock pattern, but I have gotten kind of used to yarn that's a little splitty, so that didn't bother me much especially with the larger needles. I'm also usually skeptical of any variegation or striping yarns. With one solid color, I know what that's going to do in a pattern: be solid! So throughout this project I was trying to decided if I was going to like the diminishing stripe effect. Now that it's done, I do think it's nice:
The other day I took the shawl out for a stroll. I found more reasons to like the triangular shape, it tucks right into the front of your jacket so nicely. Or, as used by bandits, is very easy to pull over your face if your face gets cold. Or you could just flip it around and show it off, as I've done here; for a knitter, that's pretty satisfying thing to do.