Follow Your Arrow

Follow Your Arrow Shawl

I’m a day late and a dollar short coming to the knit-along game. Or, in the case of Follow Your Arrow, by Ysolda Teague, a few months late. I’m trying to knit through my stash and this looked like a fun experiment to use up the gray Louisa Harding Willow Tweed (40% Alpaca, 40% Merino Wool, 20% Silk: 128 yds/50 g) I had picked up at a clearance sale a while back.

A note on the yarn: the drape and sheen of the Willow Tweed are lovely. If you like tweeds that are highly variable in some places, I’d recommend it. In retrospect, I’m not sure I would use even a shiny, lightweight tweed for what is, essentially, a sock yarn shawl, but I think it ultimately ended up being a decent match for the very geometric lace of the pattern.

Follow Your Arrow Shawl
My blocking might be making the asymmetry worse…

Spoiler: The shawl picture here is what you get from following clues 1A, 2A, 3B, 4A, 5A.

My approach to this pattern was more or less  to take the path of least resistance. Sometimes the resistance I faced was boredom, so I took the chart that looked more interesting for the middle three clues, but for the first clue, I picked based on number of stitches I had to cast on and for the last, I chickened out and went for the option that required 24 rows instead of 663.

Those 663 rows were short rows, and in retrospect were probably designed to minimize long stretches of time spent binding off (a task I loathe), but still. 663 rows feels much more time consuming than 24 when you’re making choices after a long day of work. 🙂

I don’t know if I’d recommend clue 1A. It creates an asymmetric shawl, and when I finished it, I definitely had a panicked moment of “What the heck did I screw up?” The asymmetry is growing on me, a little, but it took a lot of browsing through other people’s project photos to decide if I could live with my decision. In the end, I really only kept it because I couldn’t bear to frog work that was done correctly.

Follow Your Arrow Shawl with Pin
Isn’t the turquoise lovely with this gray tweed?

Overall, I have mixed feelings on this project. I may be too much of a control freak to be comfortable trusting to another designer’s whims, even as talented as designer as Ms. Teague. I would absolutely not waste time and yarn on a mystery project from anyone I had less faith in. But if you’re a free spirit who doesn’t have trust issues, mystery knitalongs are probably fun, not stressful. It did knit up quickly and the instructions were (mostly) easy to follow…and I think the end result is attractive enough to make a nice gift for someone, especially paired with a vintage faux turquoise brooch, wouldn’t you say?

Awesome N00b Hat

While I was trotting about West Virginia with my sister this summer, my mother and I dragged her into The Needlecraft Barn, a little yarn shop in Morgantown. They’re very small as far as yarn selection goes, but I was pleased with what I found there overall, and what’s more, the owner was super helpful and incredibly nice.

While my sister was waiting with infinite patience for Mom and I to stop pawing up the goods and drooling over the local hand-dyed, handspun skeins, she noticed a sample project sitting on the table: a bright pink variation on Plymouth Yarn’s Spiral Rainbow Hat. She fell promptly in love, so for her patience with us, I promised to make her one.

N00b Spiral Hat
This is the hat, obviously not modeled on my sister. 🙂

It was the absolute perfect hat for me to knit last week because I was attacked by a vicious head cold immediately following our return from Niagara Falls. (I swear, I don’t usually jaunt all over the place–this is five years worth of vacation traveling. Life is about to get sane and boring again.) There is almost nothing but stockinette and reverse stockinette going on with this thing, but that little else make this a PERFECT project for new knitters.

Teachers, take note…this is a great opportunity to introduce:

  • Provisional cast-on
  • Kitchener stitch
  • Fun geometry! (You take a parallelogram and turn it into a partially spherical tube, how cool is that?)
  • Gauge and size (not necessary to learn for the project, but it would be super easy to size this down for a baby hat, making it a great option for the Click for Babies project)

Regarding yarn: Joy picked out the electric blue Plymouth Encore. I don’t have anything awesome to say about it, but it could be worse. It’s mostly acrylic and it’s cheap, making it a great choice for people who lose and abuse their hats. It doesn’t have a super nice hand, but it’s got enough spring to be tolerable, and maybe the 25% wool is enough to make it reasonably warm?

Given my druthers, I’d probably have picked a superwash 100% wool and done it in two colors, varying the stockinette reverse stockinette. Next time around!