Off The Needles: my latest knitting project

Like many knitting and crochet devotees, I am exceptionally good at starting new projects. But I am less accomplished in the finishing-off department. That is why it is always cause for celebration when I do actually manage to cast-off, block and start using a completed piece.

This is my latest creation, the Dimitri Shawl by Steve Rousseau Designs:

 

Here it is spread out along our king-size bed so that you can see its full extent:

 

I have used one ball of Scheepjes Whirl in Green Tea Tipple plus the majority of a ball of Whirlette in Frosted.  The pattern called for 1400m of yarn and the Whirl is only 1000m. The Whirlettes are designed to complement the Whirls, as this project shows. I used the Whirlette in the middle, allowing the gradient colours of the Whirl to speak for themselves on the edges.  It worked out just right, as you can see from this picture of the left-over yarn:

 

It is a very large project, but I like wraps and shawls which give you a big hug. This is definitely in that category! The yarn is beautifully soft and the whole thing is light and airy. It will be lovely to wear later on in the year as temperatures cool.

And it was an absolute delight to knit. The pattern is my favourite combination of easy knitting, with just enough stitch variation to keep it interesting. I love the geometric end result.

I blocked it pretty tightly to maximise the stitch definition. This meant blocking in two halves as you can see:

 

 

You can also see from this picture the benefits and impact of blocking:

 

It is in no way ideal to block in two goes, but needs must and the end result has come out fine. I will, however, get a few more blocking mat squares so that I can make some more of Steve’s designs. I have my eye on one of his blankets….!

Another adjustment I will make with my next pattern will be to go down a needle size. In this case, I used 3.5mm needles, which were fine and have contributed to the airy nature of the shawl. For a blanket, though, I would want the final fabric to be a bit tighter and denser, so will go with 3mm needles, especially as I tend to knit on the loose side.

Meanwhile, I have resumed work on my Hourglass throw. Knitting with 5.5mm needles feels like working with tree trunks!  As you can see from this picture, there does not look to be that much of a difference between the two sets, but it feels really strange:

 

Overall I can highly recommend the Dimitri pattern, and the Whirl yarn. It’s a cliché to say that the journey is as important as the destination, but it fits perfectly here. I really enjoyed the knitting, and am really pleased with the outcome. Result! 🙂

39 thoughts

  1. A fabulous piece of work Liz. The shawl is so beautiful and what an epic undertaking (speaking as one who has taken two years to finish the the back and half a front of a cardigan!). Your blog is very interesting and the photography is excellent – worthy of a magazine entry on all counts, the process and the finished beautiful article. x

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  2. Such an enormous project Liz, and yet only 2 balls, admittedly big ones of yarn. You never cease to amaze me with your skill and patience.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you Melissa – that is really lovely to know. Knitting (and crochet) looks both back to the past as well as forward with new developments. So many facets to enjoy! 😀

      Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you Ann! I can sympathise about not being able to crochet – a few years ago I had a neck and shoulder problem which meant that I could hardly do anything which involved holding something for any length of time. I had to cut out all my craft activities, singing (could not hold the music or stand for long periods), even holding a book. I realise how lucky I am these days to be able to do all of these things again – your comment is a helpful reminder not to take that for granted. X

      Liked by 1 person

    • You are very kind, thank you! Blocking is a tedious but important part of the finishing process. If you look at the third of the three blocking photos in the post, you can see the green portion as yet un-blocked, compared with the rest of the shawl which is stretched and pinned on the mat. It makes a big difference and is particularly effective for lacy patterns like this one.

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    • Aw thanks so much Kerry! I’m really pleased you like it. It’s a bit of a monster size-wise – about 2m long and 85cm wide. All the better for snuggling!

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  3. Oh my goodness, this is gorgeous! I love the colours; you’ve been very clever, Liz! It’s also very helpful to see the positive effects of blocking. I’ve never blocked anything. But then, I haven’t finished anything in decades. One day!

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    • Thanks so much Sandra, you are very kind. I empathise with you about finishing – it feels like I hardly ever do. But I can highly recommend blocking if you ever get that far!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Liz – your creativity is amazing. Remember when you introduced me to Future Learn? Currently I am in a course on fashion and sustainability, which noted that we are losing “craft” – that is, we are losing, as a global society, the ability to create craft. My grandmother knew how to tat and tried to teach me. I lost the knowhow. You are a valiant knight in the mission to keep crafts alive. I think of William Morris’s call to action “So long as the system of competition in the production and exchange of the means of life goes on, the degradation of arts will go on; and if that system is to last for ever, then art is doomed, and will surely died, that is to say, civilization will die.” I believe that every time we embrace our creative spirit, whether craft, music, poetry, art – we build resilience and hope. Hugs coming your way.

    Liked by 1 person

    • It always brings joy to the heart when one hears about someone keeping a traditional craft alive. It is also very real for organisations like heritage railways – Steve and his colleagues are having to deal with the conundrum that very few young people are learning how to mend and maintain steam engines. So they are working to set up apprenticeships to redress the balance. Otherwise, there will in a few years be no-one who knows how to keep a steam engine running. Isn’t it great to have access to things like the Future Learn courses so that we can all keep learning and sharing together. xxx

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  5. Nice work, maybe for the winter you could knit one of those blankets with sleeves in to keep your reading warm without having to abandon your nest whenever you want another cup of tea.

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