Hello! I’ve wanted to chat for ages and I’m making time this Friday evening to tell you about the Echinacea shawl that I’ve just finished. The last few weeks seem to have been a blur. Work, my trip to the Edinburgh yarn festival and various commitments, including my yarn dyeing have kept me busy but when I came into my blog today I realised that I haven’t posted since early February! What??? Honestly, I can’t believe its been that long.
Its now three weeks also since I did a podcast so I’m planning to rectify that this weekend. I have been crocheting away, doing some spinning and knitting, jewellery making and dabbling. Too much dabbling probably! And, of course, it now really is spring so I’m trying to get things sorted in the garden. Getting on top of things at this time of year prevents a lot of grief when things really put on a growth spurt. The last few days have been really sunny and actually quite warm here in East Yorkshire and I’ve spent some time in my little garden room. Wrapped in my big chunky shawl, admittedly, but its so nice to feel the heat and light of the sun and freshly mown grass. That’s one of the best smells in the world I think.
I’ve been outside making yarn jewellery mostly. I’ve been adding some stitch markers to my Etsy shop as making stitch markers uses many of the same techniques used in earring design and production. Its been ages since I’ve had a proper play with all my beads and with charms, and I have got a bit carried away. I love using pretty stitch markers in my crochet and knitting – it adds another little pleasure on top of feeling the texture of the yarn, looking at the gorgeous colours and seeing the project grow.
Having a little charm on a lobster claw clasp is so useful for marking how much progress you have made in a relaxing session with your hook. Its then handy at the end to slip through the working stitch so that your precious work doesn’t unravel as it goes in and out of a bag a few times. I certainly made use of one as I made the Echinacea shawl as the 50/50 baby camel silk yarn that I used for the body of the shawl was very slippery and prone to coming undone. This photo is shortly after I started the shawl in mid January…
The yarn was a Christmas present and its a beautiful luxury and unusual yarn in the natural colour of the camel hair. Its gloriously soft and it suited the pattern perfectly.
The Echinacea shawl pattern is by Andree Anne Marceau and its a paid pattern on Ravelry. I was very kindly gifted the pattern last year when I did a podcast special all about crochet shawls. I’ve been dying to make it every since.
The pattern is easy to learn, very straightforward and well-written. The only thing I would say is that the photo on the pattern doesn’t really do it justice. Its longer and more elongated than it appears in the picture and its going to be really lovely to wear both because of how it feels and its shape.
My early shawl making was often accompanied by my latest tea addiction – Gingerbread flavoured green tea. It smells and tastes just like gingerbread and I got it from a Coop store near to a craft day out at Christmas. I’ve searched for it in other local stores since than but haven’t managed to find it and friends have started to pick it up for me if they see a box in a supermarket! My supply is safe for now… but I have checked if you can get it online and it seems to be available to order from several places, including the Twinings website. While I was checking this I’ve found out they also have a Cherry bakewell green tea too – I need to try that next.
Back to the Echinacea shawl!
I don’t know what it is, but I’m so easily sidetracked and diverted at the moment. This probably also accounts for my startitis – I keep starting off lots of new things and doing a little on them and then starting something else, but never getting on with stuff systematically and finishing them. Its fun but its starting to frustrate me that I don’t get things finished by the time I expect too. I’m beginning to think that focusing on just a couple of projects might be a better idea, but being disciplined in a hobby is quite hard isn’t it?
During February, the Echinacea shawl grew quite slowly. This was often the project that I took to my crochet and chat group in Selby as it was easy to do while chatting away… I kept the yarn under control using my little yarn bowl made by my friend Helen 🙂
This last couple of weeks I have put my mind to it and really concentrated on doing some each evening. The result is my finished Echincea shawl and I am SO pleased with it. The natural camel tones of the main body of the shawl as set off perfectly by the border, which I did in three different colours. A very pale duck egg blue, a deeper shade, almost a turquoise and then a very deep raspberry pink. These colours were all Debbie Bliss 100% silk yarns that I had in my stash. I seem to remember that I bought them on Ebay a couple of years ago as they were discontinued – and I had never worked with silk so decided to snap them up. Its taken until now to find the perfect project to use them.
The border worked up very quickly – I think I managed to do it all in one evening. I made only one slight modification to the pattern. That was because the border I worked was in a DK yarn while the main part of the Echinacea shawl was in a fingering weight and I had to compensate for the extra bulk. It was lovely seeing the patterns emerge and seeing how the colours worked. I love this duck egg blue in the first couple of rows. I was keeping it under control with one of my favourite new stitch markers – with a honeybee and honeycomb charm.
When the darker blue and the raspberry come in, the border really pops. It looks great, even before its blocked…
but blocking really is magic on open lace crochet like this…
And here it is in all its glory… The beautiful Echinacea shawl by Andre Ann Marceau… I’ll be wearing it on the podcast Episode 30! If I can find an outfit that does it justice!
xxx I’ll not leave it so long next time xxx Kathryn