I know, I know. The shawl seems like an unlikely round up topic from me. The other day I found myself spending a couple hours looking for a shawl pattern. For those that missed the rant, I ordered some Australian Superfine Merino Wool yarn from Joann’s only to find out that the colours don’t appear true on the website. I know this is always going to be an issue to some extent with all yarn, but this was worse than normal. What appeared to be a grey, turned out to be a rather pale lavender. Long story short, the yarn wasn’t even close to the colours that I needed for the project I ordered it for. I threw out the packing slip right before the trash was taken out and I found myself with $75 (5 skeins) worth of yarn that I had no idea what I was going to do with.
A family member said to me, “This isn’t bad, right? You can always use more yarn,” then suggested I make sharks out of it. A friend suggested cat toys. Those would be expensive cat toys…
I decided on using to make a shawl. Special yarn needs a special project. Most of us know this.
I always thought that the point of a shawl was to help stay warm. They originated in Persia and Kashmir (this area is now divided up between Pakistan, India, and China) and were originally made from the wool of pashmina goats. Most of us know this wool as cashmere.
Look how adorable that goat is! Apparently their wool is rather warm and makes toasty socks. Maybe I should learn to make socks since my feet are always cold. The word is from a 2014 Fashion Week article that cashmere is “environmentally catastrophic” because China can’t support the grasslands needed for the goats. I don’t know how much truth there is to this (must research) since all cashmere isn’t exported from China. Cashmere is also an expensive fiber. It comes from the undercoat of the goats and because you only get the undercoat wool once a year, and in such small quantities, it takes 4 goats to make one sweater.
I’ve gotten off topic, haven’t I? This wasn’t supposed to be a fiber lesson that starts with cute fluffy goats. Back to the shawls. I always thought they were supposed to keep you warm. That’s not always the case. There are prayer shawls and shawls used as accessories. I am often mistaken for a grown up goth kid because the bulk of my wardrobe is black. I can’t be bothered to match colours. I am also not very good at it. Left to my own devices to match clothing colours I look like I was dressed by a fashion challenged colour blind drag queen. Can you imagine what that would look like? It’s not pretty. It’s best to leave me with my black clothes. I also never learned how to accessorize. I am truly hopeless.
This means I was looking for a shawl that would serve for some added warmth. It took me a while to find something because, despite over 10,000 shawl patterns on Ravelry, most hand made crochet shawls are made as fashion accessories. I amassed a small collection of patterns while trying to hunt something down that was suitable for me. There are some lovely shawls out there that people have used amazing colours on. So, let’s get started before I start going on about the goats again…
The Tidal Wave Shawl from Moogly is what I decided to go with. It looks like it will serve it’s purpose for those days that it’s too warm for a jacket, but I am cold anyway…or just to wear in the freezer section at the grocery store. It’s a non-traditional shape, it’s a simple enough double crochet pattern that it can be worked up quickly (a huge plus as my projects are piling up).
I could have gone with this pattern from Jessie at Home. It’s a similar shape but smaller. I thinks he labeled it as a scarf. Regardless, it’s an accessory. A very colourful accessory. I think it would actually take away from her design to make it in only two colours.
I more than briefly considered the lovely Secret Paths Shawl by Mijo Crochet before settling on the one by Moogly. The only reason I went with the Tidal Wave Shawl over this one is because it was ‘more me’. This one is more something I would make to give as a gift. I wonder if my step-mom would like it. I’ve been trying to find something to make for her for some time…
I also considered this Topelt Shawl. It’s so elegant and is a work of art. Once again, something that I would be more inclined to make for someone rather than for myself as it’s more of an accessory type shawl than a ‘stay warm in the freezer section of the store’ shawl. I am also not convinced that it would look good in two colours.
I love the look of this heart lace shawl. Hopefully someone out there who has more patience than me will feel compelled to make it. I am not the sort of person that can follow youtube tutorials for this kind of thing and the written directions are blurry handwritten charts. I envision myself sitting down to make this, grow frustrated, and doing bodily harm to myself with a crochet hook. Good chance I would throw away the yarn and not pick up my hooks again for some time.
I love the fall colours on this shawl. If I were an accessory person I would so make this, and in these colours. I look at it and wonder how something with so many holes is supposed to help keep you warm.
If you want more shawl ideas be sure to follow my crochet shawl pintrest board. There are more awesome shawls there that I didn’t include here.