I’m very pleased to day to introduce Missed Kingfisher shawl from The Shawl Project: Book Two to you. On The Crochet Project blog I have told you all about how the shawl fell as a fully formed design idea from my mind. And here I will tell you how having a fully formed design idea doesn’t necessarily make for a quick and easy design process.
I knew exactly how the stripe pattern was going to play out. I knew how the shaping and the short rows worked. I knew the stitch pattern I wanted to use. I had the yarn sourced and wound. I grabbed a 4mm hook, the size I normally use for a 4ply shawl and started. No, too dense. 4.5mm? No too dense, 5mm? Nope! 5.5mm? No! Finally at 6mm a very shocked Joanne was happy with the fabric and the drape achieved. Through the process of so many swatches I had refined little details like the increase placements and the short row hole closing technique so it was all good. I wrote the pattern out and set too.
As I carried on working, at about two thirds in, I became a little bit uncomfortable about how the shaping was working out, it seemed to not really want to lie flat properly. I vacillated for a day or two between “that shit will block right out!” and “this isn’t quite right.” In the end I decided to see what happened when I blocked it. It did improve things but it seemed really sloppy to produce a design, in a solid fabric particularly, that needed help to be what it was supposed to be, and even blocked I wasn’t 100% happy with the shape. So back we went to the second section and fixed what I knew the error must be. You see in the knitted versions of these shawls you do the increasing only at the ends of the rows, they all need blocking to the right shape or a hump occurs but blocking magically fixes it. Crochet is not as good at borrowing yarn from neighbouring stitches as knitting is, and there lay the problem. The design needed occasional smoothing with increases placed around the curve to allow the stubborn crochet stitches the freedom they needed to move.
I love design realisations like this. While frustrating at the time, they push my understanding of crochet and make me a better designer. There are relatively few studies of how crochet fabric behaves and how it differs from knitting and a lot of the understanding I have is from considering carefully as I work and using these observations to inform my design practice.
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