Tunisian Shawl

The Tunisian Crochet Shawl continues to grow. So far it’s proving to be a fast project.  I’m finding time everyday to spend working on it, and the yarn and technique make for quick results.  So, I’m already on ball six of eight.

It is being worked in Paton’s Eco Wool Chunky in three different shades.  I love the way that the Tunisian Simple Stitch makes the colours work in the yarn.  However, I had to laugh when I read the inside of the ball-band:

“… has a unique Home Spun character with a soft and lofty handle.”

Here is the shawl with all the stitches picked up ready for the return row:

shawl 

I’m now desperate for the hook that goes on the knit-pro cable.  However, it hadn’t arrived before I went away for a few days.  I don’t know how much more I can crochet without it:

shawl-picked-up

… and changing plans

I started tricoting (I may have just made that word up) a scarf last night, and really liked it.  This morning I wasn’t so sure.  It lacked something, but I liked the way the stitch and yarn worked together.  I was also concerned about the number of balls of yarn I have (8) and the likely length of the scarf (very long).

I tried a wider scarf, but still wasn’t struck.  However, I liked the look of a shawl in the book I’m using (though there isn’t a pattern for that shawl), so thought I’d try that instead.

shawlinprogress

I started with five stitches (see notes on casting-on below) and I’m increasing in the same places I would if I was knitting this shawl – increase at each edge and two increases round a centre stitch.  The increases are worked on every forward (pick-up) row (including the first one).

Now then.  I do have an impending problem:

stitches

I don’t know how big I can make this shawl before trying to cram all the stitches onto the needle becomes too difficult.  Now I’m a huge fan of circular needles and interchangeable circulars and own a few tricot hooks to which a cord can be added.  So I didn’t think I had a problem… but the maximum size of hook that knit-pro do is 8mm.  Or at least that’s what I thought – but I’ve just found a supplier who does 10mm and 12mm in the acrylic… so I now have those on order (I wonder when they’ll be shipped).

Hazel’s Tunisian cast-on

To cast on Tunisian crochet the books all say work a chain, and then pick-up stitches along the chain.  Not having done much crochet I find I sometimes twist the chain when picking up stitches from it (which I find results in a messy cast-on).  However, there is a knitting cast-on that uses just one needle (and it’s a cast-on I use regularly).

casting-on

Here’s the 10mm tricot hook with a 5.5mm knitting needle held next to it.  I found this gave a good size for the initial stitches.  The cast-on I’ve used is long-tail cast-on.  Once the first row is completed (the reverse or cast-off row completed) the tricot can be pulled to open up the cast-on stitches:

first-row-complete

Work can then proceed as normal!

Getting distracted

Today some new reeds arrived for my new 24” rigid heddle loom.  Have I mentioned my new loom? Here it is, being put together a few weeks ago:

loom

An additional reed for my 16” loom also arrived.  With two looms empty my mind turned to getting the next projects on them, so I fished out my boxes with my “weaving” yarn in (I don’t think I’ve got a good criteria for it being weaving yarn – just that I think it’s more likely I’ll weave with it than anything else).

I played around with some colours together (I’m thinking cushions for the lounge) but wasn’t feeling inspired.  Then I spotted some “knitting” yarn in another box and my tricot hooks/needles (are they needles or hooks? nooks?  heedles?), and before I knew what was happening I was running up a quick sample (and liking it).

So, that’s one scarf in tricot from chunky eco wool in various subtle colours in the queue.  The weaving’s still on the starting blocks.

I’m also liking this Sherlock Hat in the latest edition of Knitty.

A finished object

Now here’s a rarity on here.  A finished object.  Well, at the moment it’s an almost finished object as I need to trim the fringe, but close enough!

Last night I did the last few picks, hemstitched and removed from the loom a shawl made from bamboo sock yarn.  Today I tided up some ends and washed/finished it.  This is the first proper project I’ve made on my 16” rigid heddle loom.  And as a first project here are some things I’ve learnt:

  • Don’t be too ambitious.  A first project should be quite short, a scarf or a cushion cover perhaps.  As a first project it’s likely that the gauge of the weaving will change (on this shawl there’s a noticeable difference in the number of picks I was working at the start of the piece and the number at the end).  I, however, ignored this advice (it’s in all the books) and put a warp on for a long shawl.  When I removed the shawl from the loom, I was shocked just how long it is.
  • Despite the fact that weaving is fairly quick, I can still take well over a year to finish a piece.
  • I should place markers as I go, so I know how long the piece is and can make a sensible decision on when to start the end border design (if that’s what I’m doing).  In the end I sort of guessed at how much was still on the back roller (knowing the length of the paper wound onto the roller helped a bit here).
  • Placing paper into the front roller (as the finished weaving is wound on) really improves the tension and makes subsequent weaving easier.  However, once the weaving is finished (i.e. washed), there’s no noticeable difference – but it does look better on the loom.
  • Sampling is a good idea.  If I’d sampled the pattern I was planning, I may have chosen to work the leno in a different way (there are some very long threads in the leno section that are quite likely to catch).
  • A dessert spoon is just the right weight to use when repairing a broken warp end.  It’s also the perfect shape!
  • Make better notes.  In fact make much, much better notes and also take lots of photos, just in case.  Here are my notes, written in my weaving book (yes, that’s really all I wrote down):

shawl notes

  • Some things I should have written down:
    1. Length of warp
    2. How many ends of warp
    3. The DPI of the reed/heddle
    4. Notes on the yarns (including composition and washing instructions – keeping the ball band would do)
    5. Which yarn I’d used for the hemstitching (e.g. warp or weft)
    6. Both the number of picks and ends that the hemstitching is over (a photo would also be helpful here)
    7. How long the section of weaving was before the first leno section (at least I’d noted the number of picks)
    8. Kept a photo of the leno work (and printed it out for easy reference).

I’m sure there are other things I have learnt and more things I should have written down, I may add to the list later.

In the meantime I bet you’d like to see a picture of my shawl?  Well, as soon as I’ve finished the ends, found some sunshine (hmmm, it’s 4 days to the shortest day of the year…) and made a decision on whether to drape the shawl gracefully over a chair or model it myself (which will require finding a photographer) I’ll post up a photo…