Through Instagram I have seen so many examples of amazing knitting talent. Seeing some of the awesome examples of sock knitting was what eventually persuaded me to give it a go, even though it looked incredibly intimidating. So when I saw some of the gorgeous lace knit shawls, I knew that was a challenge I wanted to take on. One big problem presented itself immediately on looking for shawl charts, I had no idea how to read them.
After looking at a few patterns on Revelry and being completely baffled, I decided I would see if I could find a tutorial pattern. Luckily enough I came across the Ashton Shawl. It had instructions on how to read a chart, detailed instructions on how to knit and block the piece and great lace knitting tips. After doing a complete read of the instructions I felt I was ready to give it a go. I had some blended lace weight yarn in my stash, picked up the correct sized needles, cast on and made a start.
At first I really enjoyed knitting this until I discovered that as the piece increased in size the needles I had bought caused me huge problems. The transition between the needle and cable wasn’t gradual, so the stitches became extremely difficult to get onto the needles. I got so fed up with the situation that I hopped online and purchased a set of a KnitPro Karbonz needles and it was the best decision I ever made. Not only is the transition between the cable on needle incredibly smooth but the nickel plated tips are nice and sharp for lace knitting. The crabon fibre body allows the stitches to glide, effortlessly on the needles.
The other major issue I had was that I kept making mistakes in the lace pattern and had to rip it back, I had to do this about 20+ times!! Eventually I realised that this was being caused by the fact that I kept trying to watch something while knitting, big mistake when every even row is different to the previous. Once I started to just work on the patterned rows with no distractions I stopped making errors.
Even with these issues I really enjoyed working on it and have added a large number of lace shawl patterns to my to-do list. The yarn I used is a 75% wool 25% acrylic blend lace weight yarn from a local store. The acrylic potion meant that this had to be steam blocked, which actually was really interesting, as I was blocking this I could see the yarn relaxing and moving, which you don’t really see when you wet block. I bought a set of Pro Knit T lace blocking pins, there were 50 in the box, which I thought would be plenty, but I ran out so I had to use some regular pins but that wasn’t a major issue. I do plan buy another box for further projects, as they aren’t very expensive. I ended up using cotton yarn for the top straight edge as I didn’t have blocking wires, which worked well enough but I think I will probably invest in a set of wires at some stage just to get that edge a bit straighter.
I absolutely adored this project, despite all the difficulties I encountered. I found that following the charts was actually a lot easier than I thought it would be, once I understood the process. The pattern that I used was brilliant, perfectly clear and easy to follow. Now that I know how to use these charts, a whole new selection of knitting projects has opened up.
You can follow along with my progress on all my craft projects on Instagram and Facebook, links to which are at the top right of the page. Dont forget to check out ths amazing pattern here, it’s easy to follow and free to use.
Leave me a comment on what new types of projects you decided to give a go.