Saturday, 4 July 2015

KAL Fever

I am a sucker for a Knit-Along, when someone organizes a group of people to all knit the same thing, which is probably why I'm doing two right now with another prepped to start when they're completed.

Back in April Louise Scollay (of the Knit British podcast - confession, I don't actually listen as podcasts don't work for me, but I read her blog and follow her on Twitter) organized a Hapalong in appreciation of traditional Shetland shawls/blankets. I actually knit one before, for Little Djinn, before I knew the history or design. I wasn't sure I even wanted to knit another hap or which one I would knit - a traditional work-a-day one like Gundrun Johnson (Shetland Trader)'s Hansel or a modern interpretation like Kate Davies Hap for Harriet (though I knew I don't have the bandwidth for a stunning lacy christening shawl in single ply and dripping with lace). But by the time the KAL kicked off I'd seen so many beautiful patterns and colour combinations that I simply couldn't resist. Gundrun's craftsy class and pattern for Hansel were on sale at the time, so I pulled some two-ply odds and ends from my stash left over from a fair-isle hat kit and cast on a mini hap. Except I didn't have enough for the main colour so I bought a 100g skein from Judith Glue, which is a lot of wool for a little project. I'm not a huge fan of video tutorials in the same way that podcasts don't work for me, but I found Gundrun's to be very soothing and I'd watch it again just to have her gently nattering on in the background whilst I knit. (I'm really really bad at paying attention to the content of what people are saying; invariably I try to open a book to read at the same time which works with music but not so much spoken word).  My little shawl was a delight to knit so I bought some more coordinating colours and started a full-size version, which is still in progress because I put it down to cast on Gundrun's Mystery KAL, a knit-along where you know what kind and how much wool to buy and, in this case, that it would be a shawl, but not what the finished object would look like. 

A new clue was released each week in June with four clues in total and while I was about a week behind for the whole thing, I now have a stunning shawl to show for it. I used Old Maiden Aunt's sparkle sock yarn in Twu Wuv, Berry Good, and Bramble for an ombré effect. I was betting that the MKAL would count as a hap for the Hapalong and fortunately I was right so it counts for both. I've picked up my Hansel again and was only a few rows from the edge so I'm on the (slow) home stretch. Amusingly, Stephanie Pearl-McPhee (Yarn Harlot, a woman who is about as famous as a knitter can be) is currently knitting a hap - though I don't believe she's used the word - for a niece or nephew who is minutes from meeting the world and she's blogging the frustration of committing to a knit on edging (mine is 9-18 stitches per row, two rows bind off one stitch around the border. Hers looks wider, and we won't know until she blocks it but I'm guessing hers hap will be at least two feet wider, corner to corner, than mine) on a deadline.

For our anniversary, Chris gave me the wool for my next KAL, the Scollay cardigan designed by Karie Westermann (Karie Bookish) for Louise Scollay, co-hosted by her at Knit British and Isla of the British Yarn Shop. This one starts when the Hapalong ends, and I started swatching last weekend.

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