teaching sewing confidence, tip by tip

Friday 12 February 2016

Nordic Wind Shawl

Hard to believe but it's almost ten months since my trip to Vancouver, BC, and what a busy trip it was - you can read all my posts here.   While there I visited the yarn store, Three Bags Full, and one of my purchases was five balls of  Istex Lettlopi from Iceland - it's an Aran/10 ply 100% wool.  

I've discovered, though now discontinued, it was also marketed in America as Reynolds Lite-Lopi but it's still available as Lett-Lopi.  There's also a chunky version called Lopi Yarn.

The pattern I fell for at Three Bags Full is Nordic Wind shawl by cabinfour - available here on Ravelry and finally, in November at Narita airport waiting to board the plane home from an incredible trip to Japan, it was a miserable grey day brightened only by casting on my shawl and enjoying my Yarnit and Knitpick needles.

By the time I got off the plane the shawl was almost finished, I'd knitted the whole journey home and hadn't slept a wink.  Ready only for the final colour change, as soon as I got home I took a quick glance at the pattern again, I'd memorised it before take off.  Oh no, I couldn't believe my tired eyes, I'd knitted the whole thing incorrectly.  I read the pattern again and again and there was nothing for it, I had to unravel the whole thing and start again; no time like the present so that's exactly what I did.  

Here's a pic of the shawl before I unravelled it.

 What a pain but that's okay, I knew I couldn't live with knowing it was wrong, I'd enjoyed knitting it and it knit up pretty quickly so before I could get fed up with the project and cast it aside I started it again.  

Cast on again and this time Chris remember to check the pattern before you knit Row 1, then recheck before you knit Row 2, same for Row 3 and Row 4.  Chris! Chris!! what the heck have you done?  This pattern is exactly the same as you knit last time!!!  Yes, that's right, I hadn't knitted the pattern incorrectly the first time around, the pattern changes for the final colour and that's what I'd read and assumed I'd done it all wrong when up to that point I'd knitted it perfectly after all.

Good job I had enjoyed knitting it first time round because that's exactly what I did again over the next two nights and didn't stop until it was finished and I could be rid of my frustration with myself.  Lesson learnt - don't trust your judgement when you haven't slept for almost two days and you're jetlagged.

Best to mention now, just in case you decide to make your own Nordic Wind shawl, the ladies at Three Bags Full amended the pattern slightly and added a fifth colour - here's a link to their pattern amendments.

The finished shawl was a bit scratchy and the bottom garter stitch edge curled up at the point where the stocking stitch ends.  Here's how I fixed it:

1: I washed it in my best quality hair shampoo.  I mixed a good dollop of shampoo into warm water and soaked the shawl in it for two hours.  Then I gave it a good rinse.

2: Next I mixed a good dollop of my best quality hair conditioner in warm water and left the shawl to soak for ten minutes.  Another good rinse then I rolled the shawl up in a large fluffy towel and pressed hard to squeeze out much of the moisture.  

3: Finally I took a brand new dry fluffy towel and laid the shawl out flat on it, shaping it and placing weights along the garter stitch edges to flatten them and left it until absolutely dry.

 The end result - a beautifully soft shawl with a perfectly flat garter edge. 

Above is the reverse stocking stitch side which looks good too, in fact, my husband prefers it.

After all that, the finished shawl is too large and thick to wear as a scarf, it just won't squeeze under my down coat and travelling by subway, when one minute you're freezing and the next you're way too hot, it's too bulky to be pulling it off and on and popping in my bag.  However, I do like to put it around my shoulders at home when it gets nippy and, trust me, that happens plenty living on the Hudson River!  

So my Nordic Wind shawl now lives on the back of one of my sofas 'ready to wear' as it were.

I love how I get to admire the colour gradation this way too.

The only problem is my two troublesome pups ...

... we've seen before how they love to play fight and snuggle on my makes, rest assured it's only things destined for my own home that make it out of my workroom and into their playful grasp!

If you're new around here they're my Havapoo and Havanese, Thatcher (known as Tatty) and Watson - butter wouldn't melt!

So have you used Lett-Lopi, did you soften the yarn and if you did how did you do it?  Or have you made the Nordic Wind shawl, did you make any changes or use another yarn? Share your experiences with us in the comments.

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  1. This is amazing. Love the yarn you used. Beautiful just beautiful.

  2. Beautiful shawl! I love the gradient gray tones. Stopping by from Freedom Fridays link party.

  3. This is such a gorgeous shawl, Chris - makes me want to snuggle up in it! Whoop whoop!

  4. It IS beautiful! Thank you for sharing!

  5. This is gorgeous!! Thanks for sharing at #HomeMattersParty we hope you will link up again!

  6. It's beautiful! That yarn looks so soft and cosy.

  7. It's beautiful! That yarn looks so soft and cosy. Love those cute puppies too!

  8. This is a stunning make and the finished shawl is well worth all the palaver of re-knitting, though that must have been very annoying at the time. It looks great on your sofa and I think there may be days in Spring when you could wear it instead of a coat. I was interested to read you used hair shampoo and conditioner. Do you think conditioner would calm the fluffiness of natural spun wool? Thank you for linking up with Wool on Sundays :)

    1. Afraid I have no idea Janine, I was only happy to mention my shampoo/conditioner method here because I've done it and know it works. I'd hate to be responsible for something being ruined. I know you can oversoak wool so I quoted my minimum timings here too and, of course, I only give the water a slight swish, no real movement and absolutely no wringing! If it were my own and I was desp to find a solution I'd give it a try but these things are so trial and error and learning from mistakes aren't they. Let me know if you do try it or find another solution - Chris :D

  9. How gorgeous! Makes me almost want to take up knitting! Sweet pups (:

  10. just beautiful! love the idea of using shampoo to take the scratchy feeling off - never came across that before :P how frustrating tho to unravel but glad it didnt put you off! xx

  11. What a beautiful shawl, I love the gradiated colours. You have some dedication to unravel and start again but it does look like it was worth it.

  12. Wow, what a labour of love!!! Totally beautiful. Xx

  13. Omigosh, Chrissie, that is so gorgeous and your pups deserve the spotlight - what cuties! I have NEVER heard of or imagined using shampoo and conditioner for softening knits - really!!!? That is awesome. Thanks for the amazing post!

  14. It's really a most lovely shawl. I was intrigued reading about your adventures in knitting it. But, the yarn sounds heavenly. And, the finished product is so beautiful (as are your little darling dogs). I will have to check it out as my new passion is Finland and anything Finnish. My neighbors in Turkey are from Finland and she has a lovely blanket made of Finnish wool. Have a wonderful week, Pat :)

  15. Oh no, you started again and needn't have! I can't believe you are so upbeat about it, I would be moaning and groaning! It looks amazing though, I've never tried this yarn so I don't have any awesome softening tips but sound like you sussed it out. I think this seems perfect for the back of the sofa, then it's handy for pulling over yourself on a chilly evening.

  16. I myself have done the same thing, I knit a lace weight shawl twice because I thought I had done it wrong the first time. Kudos to you for finishing so quickly. You must be a really fast knitter. I am guessing picker, not a thrower?? ��

    1. Hi Theresa, I'm not a picker or a thrower, I'm a flicker. I'd never given how I knit a thought, I taught myself when I was about four and worked out how I could go faster and faster using my method and I know I can knit incredibly fast. When I moved to the US other knitters in my knitting group were fascinated by my method which wasn't the same as anything anyone else was doing and people always comment on the fact that I don't look at my needles either. I thought no more about it until I went to a Melissa Leapman class to learn double knitting - it was pretty difficult at first given the knitting method I use but I worked out a way to do it after an hour or two. This did make me investigate my knitting method though and I discovered my method has a name, it's called flicking, basically I'm a thrower who never leaves go of my needles and I use the yarn like a continental knitter but using my right hand - I don't think there's that many of us but a couple of people have posted how to do it on youtube here's a link to one - Chris :D

  17. Beautiful, love shawls so handy. The colours are perfect and you have got me wanting to have a go as well.

  18. Oh my goodness, I couldn't imagine having to frog a nearly completed project! But to find on the reknit it wasn't wrong that would leave me in despair lol
    The finished piece does look beautiful though x


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