Friday, April 24, 2015

Prayer Shawl

Here's a project I haven't shown you at all yet.

There is a family who attended our church until recently that is helping their son through cancer treatment. Of course we all have been praying for them, but someone at church suggested (strongly) to me that I should knit a prayer shawl for them. Her logic was that although she would like to do so, she can't knit. So I should make it.

I guess I couldn't argue with that.

I knew some of my raveled cashmere would be ideal. I know it's hand-wash but other than that, it is light, warm and compact. I didn't want to knit a huge thing that would be hard to carry around or take with them as they travel to another town to go to the hospital.

With that in mind, I searched for a smallish shawl. I wanted something pretty (of course), pretty but not too fussy, and preferably a crescent or semi-circle shape just because I've been intrigued by that lately. I found an option I liked and I would have to use two strands of the cashmere to get the right thickness.

Since there was lace in the pattern, I decided that I would ply the two strands together. I've done some lace with two loose strands, and I don't like how it separates in the yarn overs. So I estimated how much I would need for the shawl and plied it on my drop spindle. I turns out I ran out with only about four rows to go, plus the I-cord bindoff. But I had plenty of the yarn, it just wasn't plied. Since there was no more lace, I finished the shawl with two strands that were not plied. I can't see a difference in the stocking stitch.

Part of why I liked the pattern was its interesting construction. You start by knitting the wide border that will end up along the bottom edge of the shawl:
But as you go, you increase one stitch at one edge, but leave a stitch on the needle that you don't knit. As you go along, this gives you a whole series of stitches on the one edge. Once the border is done, you have all those stitches ready for you--you don't have to go along and pick them all up. I thought it was brilliant.

The picture above shows the border just after I finished it, and you can see the stitches on the right side all ready to go, as soon as I bind off the stitches on the needle. (I was knitting it at a Coffee Break conference at that point. I was very happy to finish the border during a break so that I could move on to the stocking stitch section for the afternoon. No more looking at charts!)

(You can tell I knit the lace while I was at the conference, at meetings and at small group because there are two places where I lost my place in the chart. It's a 16 row repeat and I either skipped from row 8 back to row 1 or skipped from row 16 to 8. So I was still following the chart, but it doesn't flow quite like it should. I didn't notice until after I had the shawl blocked! But don't worry about looking for it, there's no prize if you find it. :)

Once the border is done, you knit across all the stitches and then start some short rows from the center.
 This makes a nice crescent shape:
 Well, if you block it right. A lot of the projects on Ravelry look rather triangular and I tried to avoid that.

The shawl is finished with an eyelet row and then an I-cord bind off, which you can see very well in the first picture above.

It was a lovely knit and of course handling cashmere is always a treat. The shawl would be easy to throw over your shoulders over a shirt or sweater for a little extra warmth. Or it could be worn around the neck, either tightly wrapped or in a longer, looser loop.
I hope it wears like a hug.

Project Stats
: 31 Mar '15
Finished: 13 Apr '15
Pattern: Regina Marie by Sara Burch
Materials: Raveled cashmere, 47 grams ($3)
Finished Size: 44" point to point / 14" top to bottom centre

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