Recently I have become accustomed to getting up to sunny skies, flinging open the back door, treating the garden as an extension to the living room and generally living a rather outdoor life. It was a bit of a shock to the system this Saturday to wake up to grey skies and heavy rain which was clearly set in for the day. At times like this there is only one thing to do - dig out a favourite skein of yarn, make a pot of tea, settle down on the sofa and spend the day learning a new skill. Several friends have made the Pax shawl by Aiobhne Ni which uses a technique of Tunisian crochet that is entirely new to me.
So the first thing to do was select my yarn. I chose one of my last precious skeins of Crannog,by the Yarn Yard, a heavy lace weight merino sadly now discontinued. These things are made to be used so I set to and placed it on the swift. I'm not sure what happened but half way through winding I got into one of those tangles where you end up taking the ball off the winder and winding the rest by hand. Not an auspicious start.
The next task was to make an awful lot of crochet chain. More on this later...
After much ripping back and starting again I have finally mastered the techniques for the body of the shawl which includes short row shaping. Things that I learnt include:
I needed a much larger crochet hook than I thought I did.
I sometimes can't count up to four
Crannog stands up very well to being manhandled.
This technique is very useful for showcasing multicoloured hand dyed yarns
The stitches don't look anything like knitted or crochet stitches
More irritatingly, I have yet to work out how to make a crochet chain that is loose enough not to create a tight edge, but open and even enough not to create a ragged looking edge. I'm still not happy with this one so more ripping may ensue.
Does anyone have any advice?
Overall I'm really pleased with my day's work - I haven't perfected the technique by any means but I have done enough to know that I enjoy the process and with a bit more practice should be able to produce interesting and attractive fabric. Not bad for a rainy Saturday.