Monday, 13 June 2016

FO: Spindrift Shawl by Curious Handmade

This weekend I took a day trip on the train to visit my mother for her 91st birthday.
Uh huh.  Fun times.
My take-along knitting was the final section of my Spindrift Shawl by Helen Stewart, of the Curious Handmade podcast.
My version was truly Spun-drift because I made the yarn myself, especially for this project.
I used some beautiful Fuzzlings from Fondant Fibre.  They were composed of a mixture of fibres:  merino, massam, stellina and silk, which made for a really interesting spinning experience.

  • The silk required a longer space between my hands when drafting, as otherwise I got "stuck" and the singles broke.
  • The massam was quite hairy and sticky and needed to be blended well with the merino on its way towards the wheel.
  • The stellina was springy and needed to be kept under close control, wrapped into place by the other fibres.

Keeping all of these elements in mind as I worked was a fun challenge, but meant I lost sight of my intention to spin a fine fingering weight yarn.  It came out slightly thicker than planned, so with reduced yardage.
The joy of a Curious Handmade pattern is that Helen uses a percentage system to allow the knitter to track progress.  As long as you weigh your ball at the start and check it again at the percentage markers, you can tell whether or not you are going to have enough yarn.
I knew at 10% that I only had 70% of the yardage I needed to complete the shawl as written.
So I dug around in my box of odd balls for a good match, thinking I would use it for the five eyelet stripes.  That still left me 10% short of yardage, so I took 10% out of the main stockinette portion to compensate.
So far so good!
But my chosen "match" (leftover Sock Hop from my Chelsea Morning socks) was so bright that it sucked the life out of my handspun, which looked dingy in contrast.
Next up, I tried a light pistachio green alpaca / silk mix from Lioness Arts... very pretty, but again the shawl was dragging around in the doldrums, feeling very sorry for itself, and I knew I would never wear it.
Third time lucky?
Oh yes!
I found the leftover yarn from my Artio Shawlette.  It is a Skein Queen yarn, with some cashmere in the mix, in the colour Spring Lime.
Suddenly the project started to sing - choirs of angels appeared on the horizon and the sun broke through the clouds :)
However, I forgot to weigh my golden nugget...
I settled down on the train and began to knit.

It soon became apparent that I was powering through my available yardage at an alarming rate.
I worked alternate stripes in lime / handspun, until at the end of eyelet section four it was clear my yarn was running out.
So I did the only sensible thing...
Instead of turning my work at the end of a right side row, I shuffled the stitches to the other end of the circular needle and worked the picot bind off, still on the right side.
Smug face ;)

I blocked it as soon as I got home that night.

And here it is!
I am really pleased with the finished piece.  The handspun is soft and sparkly, with a sheen from the silk and a crispness from the massam.
The shape is very evening-appropriate:  just the thing for a Regency Ball!
But failing that, it looks great with denim for everyday.
Lucky, that!


  1. It's stunning. Your colour eye is amazing. Well done you K xXx

    1. Thank you -I got there in the end with the colour!

  2. It's gorgeous - colour, shape and finish x

  3. Very pretty colours, just right for anytime, anywhere.

  4. You have an eye with the colours :) I love seeing the options you knit up and the reasons why they weren't right - I'm not shy to rip out my knitting (I recently knit a sock three times before I was happy with the combo of stitch count, heel placement and pattern - and am now knitting the mate)....but I'm not sure I can always articulate why I need to do so. Thanks for sharing with us!

    1. I am definitely getting better at knowing when it is time to rip and following through with the decision!

  5. As other have said, you are very good with colors! I would love to be able to knit something so awesome!

  6. I am in awe at the beautiful work you do. I like colors ( am sensitive to colors) and can agonize about colors in pants and tops I wear as to if they match, balance, etc. I do so sympathize with you as you struggle with your the colours in your knits working.

    I hope you and your mother had a good day.