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!

A new wheel

Today my new wheel arrived and was promptly whisked out to a craft group meet-up.  I took her to bits, gave her a polish, put her back together again and put on a new drive band. 

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I then wondered what to spin on her.

I fished out of my stash some white, grey and “black” Shetland tops took a length of each and thought about a marled yarn.  Then Secret Spinner walked past and said that she was planning a gradient yarn with her Shetland.  What could I do?  I decided on a quick spin of a small amount of gradient yarn.

I put the tops into groups working from white to black.  For the transitions between white and grey, then grey and black I held the two adjacent tops together and drafted them together.  This produced a marled rather than carefully blended single.  If I was going to do this on a larger project I would go to the effort of blending the transition colours together before spinning.

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This evening, once I’d got the wheel set up at home, I checked the assembly instructions (they can be found on Ravelry).  I discovered that there are two bobbins for spinning singles and one bobbin for plying!  I checked my bobbins and found that two have a whorl that is slightly larger than the remaining bobbin’s whorl, so assumed that the odd-one-out is the plying bobbin.

I’m planning on Navaho plying my blue BFL.  But I don’t want to learn on that project.  So this gradient spun Shetland was the ideal candidate for practicing on.  I got in a tangle a few times (I think leaving the singles to set for a day or two would make things much easier).  However, I ended up with a beautifully balanced skein:

skein

It’s now soaking to set the twist.  What shall I knit?  A winter hat, a beret, a small scarf or a Mobius cowl?  It’s not a huge skein, but I should be able to get something useful from it.

As for my new wheel?  She is a delight to spin on.  I’m about to upgrade the flyer on my Traditional to a lace flyer, so the Haldane Lewis will fill that gap and provide me with a lovely wheel for spinning 4-ply to DK thickness yarn.

Progress on the Tomten

O.K.  I know progress has been very slow – but the end is now in sight.  I’ve been working the edges (cuffs, etc) in a coordinating yarn, and I’m currently working on the button bands.

I’ve been putting off finishing the hood for ages – scared of doing “weaving” which Elizabeth Zimmermann makes look so easy.  I was even contemplating crocheting the two halves together and making the join a feature.  Anyway, I sat down at the kitchen table on Friday night and concentrating really hard (I had to send my husband out when he came to do some tidying up) I finally managed to weave the two edges together.  The final result is wonderful.  I’m so pleased I did it this way!  I held the stitches on some bamboo sock yarn, which ensured I didn’t drop any stitches but allowed the stitches to lie flat.  The bamboo yarn was nice and slippy – so was easy to remove afterwards.

I’m now trying to find some suitable buttons before I work the button holes.

Tomten jacket

This is Elizabeth Zimmermann’s design and it’s the first EZ design I’ve followed.  I’m working it in DK wool by Twilleys called Freedom Spirit. I’ve had the yarn for quite some time, but couldn’t find a project that would work for it (I wanted something that would show off the variegated colours and thought a moss stitch may work). Then I saw EZ’s Tomten jacket knitted in garter stitch, and realised that it was the one.

This project is actively in progress. I’m really enjoying it – it’s a good contrast to the fair isle jumper, which isn’t difficult but does take some concentration. Garter stitch can be whizzed along without much thought.

By the way, I originally saw the Tomten jacket in EZ’s “Knitting without tears”. It didn’t click as interesting. Then I saw it in “The opinionated knitter” with lots of photos of different variations. That’s when I knew I had to knit it.