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What Are You Working On is a community diary series for all things crafty and artsy, in a variety of mediums and techniques.
I've mentioned in previous WAYWO that I've been working on a shawl to wear for my nephew's wedding in August. It's an evening wedding in Pismo Beach, and the dress I'm wearing has very short sleeves so I wanted something that would help ward off any chill if a breeze comes in off the coast, but that would be lighter and look nicer than a standard sweater.

One challenge -- in my years of (off and on) crocheting, I'd never done a shawl before. The thought was petrifying to me. I'd done tons of scarves and afghans (even won a few prizes at the county fair), had tried and failed to master hats, but that was the extent of my experience. What if I blew it?

Then in going through my pattern collection, I came across this one. (Clicking the link will take you to a page where you can download the pattern for FREE.)

Doris Chan is one of the leading designers in the crochet community. She has written three books: Everyday Crochet, Amazing Crochet Lace, and Crochet Lace Innovations. I've looked at her designs with a mixture of envy and trepidation, wishing I dared to take crochet hook in hand and the finest of yarns in the other and create a masterpiece, but not wanting to risk consigning said yarn to the stash bin if (when) I couldn't get it to work right.

Then I found the All Shawl.

It's not that much to look at at first -- it's a basic half circle of crochet, with a lace border. The beauty of it though is that by adjusting the starting chain length and the border, you can truly make it your own creation.

Here's what I have so far:

All Shawl

Stitch detail:

Stitch Detail

One challenge I've had is the tendency to forget what I'm doing, especially if I'm tired -- that leads to missing stitches, especially the portions where I need to work a V stitch into the previous row's V. Early on in the work it was easy to simply rip back to the messed up stitch and redo, but as I get farther into the work it becomes less feasible to do so while avoiding major tangles. So, I've improvised by working a V stitch in the top of the mistaken single stitch; you'd have to look closely to see the error, and as long as the basic shape comes out properly I'm not too worried about stitch count. Unlike a sweater or shrug, gauge isn't terribly important; I'm more concerned with shaping and making sure the shawl drapes well around my ample curves.

I'm approximately halfway through -- as more rows are worked, each one of course uses more yarn. I have two more balls left for the body, then an extra ball to use to do the border. Instead of doing the border as called for in the pattern though, I'm simplifying it; I plan to just do the picot fan row as follows:

Ch 4, skip first st, (dc, ch 1, dc, picot, ch 1, dc, ch 1, dc) in next sp
between sts, ch 1, skip next 2 spaces, sc in next sp, ch 1, skip next 2 spaces, PICOT FAN in next sp; repeat from * to * 27 times, ending with PICOT FAN in turning ch sp, fasten off.
with a twist; I'm going to work medium sized (4-5mm) amethyst colored beads into each picot on the edging. I'm hoping to get to the local bead shop this week and judge for myself what size would work best.

The biggest challenge will be blocking -- I don't have much space for laying it out to dry, so I may just do it early in the morning and stretch it out on several towels on the bed and hope for the best.

The yarn I'm using is a recently discontinued yarn, Berroco Pure Pima, 100% Pima cotton in purple. I was fortunate to get the last few skeins they had left at the local store that carried it, but I think some online outlets like Webs Yarn Store still have some in stock.

Oh, and this is the dress I'm wearing it with:

Orchid Dress

Still need to find proper shoes, but I should be ready in plenty of time for the event.

So, what's on your hook, needles, or what have you this week?

Originally posted to Just a thought... on Sun Jun 10, 2012 at 05:00 PM PDT.

Also republished by What Are You Working On?.

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