I’m feeling very chuffed with myself just right now. I finished my latest test crochet, which involved a sideways (pun intended) way of looking at regular crochet. It’s a lovely shawl using lacy interlinked stitches, plus the colour, for once, is harmonious. Take a look.

Doing its thing on the lawn.

I love how the lace opened up after a nice bath/pinning within an inch of its life/steam killing. Here’s my Ravelry project page if you want to take a look. (I think that link should work even if you are not a member of Ravelry.)

Oddly, while I’d used linked stitches before, I’ve never gone beyond a dc (UK single crochet), and it never occurred to me that actually it is a form of Tunisian, only sideways. Now I know and I want to try it out on a whole load of things.

I haven’t been blogging much, I know. The latest excuse is that I’ve been busy with work, and also been bitten by the sewing bug. Sewing is often so much quicker than working with yarn or thread. So my daughter’s got a couple of dresses (she’s not reached the stage yet where she protests at wearing what I make – on the contrary, she thinks whatever I cast on/begin/cut out is a “down” (gown = dress) for her), and I made some other things for gifting. I have pictures of those on my Flickr and hopefully will get around to blogging about them some day soon.

Anyway, this shawl. I used 3-ply acrylic sold by the hank, and it worked out beautifully. I got 6 hanks and only used 2.75 of those, about 151 g (822 m) for this large shawl. Despite it using Tunisian stitches, the shawl can be (and was) made using a regular short crochet hook, which makes it more accessible to those of us who do not get Tunisian hooks easily.

I anticipated that blocking it out right would be a challenge and it was, and in the end I did not get quite the shape that the schematic in the pattern showed, but it’s close enough. I used my usual brake wires and a ton of pins. Soaked the piece first in shampoo and vinegar, then wrung it out (yay for acrylic!) spread it out, and began pinning from the centre out. Threaded the wires through the row before the picots and shaped it. Concentrated on the ruffles caused by the increases and stretched them out as far as I could.

A useful tip from the designer: Pin the picots in the row before the edge and not into the picot itself. Much neater that way.

Then I filled up the steam iron and got to work, running the iron as close to the surface as possible several times, until the shawl was almost totally dry (it had halfway dried anyway under the fan as I was pinning it). If your iron touches the surface, the stitches get flattened, which you may not want to happen. Once I was happy I couldn’t do any more, I just had to leave it to finish drying. And then wait for morning to take “live” pictures.

On me.

And just to illustrate how blocking makes a difference, here are the before and after shots.

Before blocking

After blocking

Worth the backbreaking blocking, I think. Please excuse the odd placement of pictures, I’m not able to figure out how to wrap the text around them.