Monday, 15 August 2016

Amulet and Talisman: The Shawl Society

"I read in the Sunday papers what lovers’ tokens are There’s amulets and talismans Like a ring or a lucky star. It says that half a sovereign Is a thing they use a lot But sixpence is the only thing I’ve got..."

"Half a Sixpence", sung by Tommy Steele and Polly Nash in the 1967 musical film of that name.

A strange thing has happened.
I signed up to join The Shawl Society, six months and six patterns from Helen Stewart
of Curious Handmade.
Three months in, and so far I have finished the first two and cast on for the third.

This is unheard of, people!

In past subscriptions, (to sock clubs... ahem) I have kept up for one month or so and then...
Nose in the dirt.
Pattern left unprinted and yarn unloved in the darkest corner of the stash.

This time, I can't explain it - my imagination has been captured and I am merrily matching
patterns to stashed yarn like there is no tomorrow.

I think a lot of it is down to the reliability of Helen's patterns.
No typos, no head-scratching moments.
Calm knitterly bliss.
And her "percentage" system keeps me motivated when the rows get longer and the garter
section starts to drag.
5% a day? No bother! And in 20 days, I am guaranteed a finished object.
10% and I am finished in 10 days... or less, as I always speed up when I can see the finish

And so it is that I can present you with two finished shawls.


The first is Talisman, knit using the recommended yarn: Urban Hints from The Wool Kitchen.
I had this in stash, so it was an obvious choice for me.
The colourway is Indigo and I purchased it from Wild and Woolly.

I am besotted by the yarn - so soft, silky, drapey!
And the colours are stunning.

The pattern itself is simple but effective, and the medium size is designed to make the most
of the full skein.


I chose to knit Amulet in the LARGE size, using two skeins of yarn from Abstract Cat and The Knitting Goddess.

And beads.


This was a new adventure for me and I was quite frustrated by the process until I discovered towards the end that I could use a simple piece of bent wire to lever the bead over the chosen stitch.
Until then, I had been rejecting 3 out of every 4 beads as being too small to fit over the 1mm crochet hook I bought for the purpose.
The Boy's girlfriend spent a few idle hours at my kitchen table, sorting beads for me - she found it meditative.  I just found it annoying.

The finished piece is LARGE indeed!

The Abstract Cat yarn has a fair dose of alpaca in it, so those sections are really fluffy.
The Knitting Goddess yarn is on her Sparklynne base, which has a subtle silver glint.
The beads fall on the sparkly sections.


And next in the series comes Asana.

I have just cast on, using a beautiful indigo gradient set which was a gift and has no identifying features.  All I can tell you is that I have 5 skeins, totaling 270g and I am therefore going to knit the large version.

With beads?

Wait and see!


  1. wow - these are both really beautiful roo! you have such patience. i wish i was more of a shawl person - i love looking at them but i can't see myself wearing them. i think i should stick to cardigans!

  2. I think these are just fabulous, but I can't see how you keep them on? You have the patience of Job to knit these lovely things. Maybe I'm just not made for wafting around in gorgeous draperies.

  3. So very beautiful! What a pleasure to see and to wear.

    Inspired by your very lovely creation I was tempted to sign up for a beginning knitting course in October, to held during the Fall Folk Art Camp, the brainchild of a retired Bishop who wanted to share his own joy in woodturning, etc. Over ten + yearold now, held at the Summer Camp and Conference Center owned by the Diocese but also rented out. Have you been to a center like that for any of your works?

    People also come and do "individual" projects. Good food - participation and conversation, your choice. You might like it, or not.

    I do not think I will get an ok from M.D. this October to be trekking around the North Georgia mountain in October or with a bunch inside - so I'll hope for next March and enjoy your beautiful works in the meantime.

    You -enjoy them, too.


  4. both so beautiful, I really don't have the knitting skills to try such intricate patterns. But spured on by your wonderful knits am off to a knitting group with a few friends from my WI!

  5. Your shawls are lovely! I discovered the Shawl Society from you And I finished the Talisman (just shared on my blog) and I'm about 35% done with the Amulet. I agree with that Helen's pattern are superbly designed. I'm excited to see the latest shawl you're making with the beautiful set of gradient yarn. Have fun! Pat xx

  6. These shawls are beautiful and good for you using stashed yarn. Enjoy wearing them in good health.

  7. Ooo! This is gorgeous, I love the verigated colours. Also the idea of percentages on a pattern is brilliant. Wouldn't it be great if they all had that?!

  8. Wow! Huge applause! Your work is gorgeous.

  9. These shawls are lovely! Whatever you're doing, keep it up!