What a difference a yarn makes

I haven’t been very creative over the past few days… the gum infection transformed into an abscess, the antibiotics made me feel extremely unwell and I had to have emergency dental treatment last Friday. It’s the first time a dentist has ever had to take my pulse and that treatment has had to be suspended whilst I’m prevented from fainting! Oh well… I’m feeling somewhat better today and I’m waiting for an appointment to have a root canal, although I’m back at the dentists for a review tomorrow. Anyway…

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My Yarndale haul

Before all this happened I started (and it seems like ages ago now) knitting a shawl using the beautiful Little Grey Sheep mini-skeins that I bought at Yarndale last autumn. I realise now that I never shared with you much about my visit to Yarndale with my dear friend Mrs Robinson. We decided to go with specific projects in mind and one of mine was to get some interesting colours to use for a shawl pattern I’d had a hankering to make for ages – the Leftie Shawl. In the end I selected six colours: green, pale yellow, bright yellow, orange, pink and purple (for some reason the orange is obscured in the picture of my Yarndale haul – that gold with the big band is for a different project).

I already had a ball of Little Grey Sheep wool left over from the Poison Oak top that I made last year and I thought that this would be perfect for the main neutral colour, allowing all those bright yarns to shine. So, I started off, using the size of needles suggested… and quickly became disillusioned: the colours seemed diminished and the material I was creating stiff and not at all drapy, as I envisioned the shawl

At this stage of creating anything it’s hard to stop – you’ve already put some work in and it feels like a waste to give up. But I didn’t like it. This thing that I had wanted to make for months and months wasn’t turning out well. So, taking a big deep breath, I started again, still using the coloured mini-skeins, but this time with larger needles and some of the fabulous Milburn yarn from Eden Cottage yarns. I had too much of this for the project it was bought for (one that’s currently on hold), so this was going spare. Milburn contains some silk, so it creates a fabric with much more natural drape than pure wool.

And I wasn’t disappointed, the new shawl looks and feels much more like my vision. The coloured wool helps it to keep its structure and the soft silk and wool means it should be a joy to wear. Here they are for comparison, new on the left, original on the right.

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the two versions

Sadly the picture makes them look much more similar than they actually are, but, take it from me (and the Knit Night gang) the one on the left is much more striking than the one on the right.

Despite no progress over the last few days, prior to that I had done quite a lot and I’m rather pleased to be creating something with colours that I wouldn’t normally choose, but that I really do love. I’m so glad that I started again.

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28 Comments

  1. Ann Pole

     /  May 28, 2019

    Wow! That looks beautiful. My first thought is that you are making some wings, but you don’t need to do that as you are already an angel.
    So glad the pain has eased with your gum, it’s no fun for sure. I have problems with anaesthetic if the dentist uses the one with adrenalin in. Makes me almost pass out. Hope you get the rest of the treatment soon. X

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  2. Do glad to hear you are on the mend but sad you had such a time of it. The shawl looks lovely. I know what you mean about not wanting to undo so much work but sometimes it is worth it.

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  3. Kate Mcdonald

     /  May 28, 2019

    Oh poor you, dental treatment is horrid.
    I love the shawl, especially since I am knitting the same pattern myself at the moment! But yours is much tidier than mine because your have finished off all the “leaf” ends,I would be interested to know how you did that! I have used a dark darkish lilac textured yarn for the background and a multicoloured yarn for the leafs. Not completely sure about the colour scheme but have definitely done too much to start again! But might make another one in other yarn and colourway.

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  4. I’m sorry about your dental woes. I hope the rest of your treatment goes as painlessly and quickly as possible.
    Your shawl is stunning! I’ve had that pattern in my mental queue for ages. Seeing yours makes me want to cast on.

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    • My friend Jude made a version of it a while ago and, although I rarely make shawls, it really appealed to me. It’s just taken a while to cast on. I do recommend experimenting with needle size… I’m told that northern European designers often aim for a rather dense fabric, hence the suggested fine needles but for me, some drape was important.

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  5. Oh Snail, what a horrible experience! And dentists wonder why we don’t like visiting them much – it’s the possibility of stuff like this happening! I prescribe something delicious and soothing, like strawberries and cream, or chocolate mousse, or salted caramel icecream. Anyway, back to the knitting, which is super-gorgeous, and I quite see what you mean about the lack of contrast in the first one. The purple is too intense, it drowns the others, and I can envisage what you mean about the ‘hand’ of the yarn with silk. It’s going to be a beauty!

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    • Strawberries and cream – what a perfect idea. I think I will go and buy some right after this morning’s next dental appointment. After which I will settle down to read all the blog posts I’ve missed in the past few days… I see there’s lots of lovely teal to catch up on.
      I think part of the problem with the original yarn I used is that it’s slightly variegated, and draws the eye away from the coloured stripes, and it’s even worse in reality than in the photographs. Anyway, there’s no point in dedicating hours and hours of work to something that isn’t right, so I know that I made a good decision to give that version up as a bad job. I have to confess, I haven’t actually frogged it yet, but I will do because the yarn can be put to a much better use.

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  6. Gorgeous knitting. Always best to ‘bite the bullet’ (sorry!) and undo, as it is worth it to get something you will love and enjoy for many years to come.
    I had terrible trouble with teeth for years, as did my Mum before me – you have my deepest sympathy – I do hope it all gets sorted soon and you give yourself some lovely soothing treats.

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    • I am so pleased that I started again with the shawl. I’m back off to the dentist again this morning for a ‘review’ and then I have to wait for an appointment for a root canal with a specialist dentist (I have decided to pay for this particular treatment as it’s much more likely to be successful with someone who specialises in such things).

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  7. Oh my that is so pretty.

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    • Thank you… I wanted to do something completely different. I rarely make a shawl and those certainly aren’t my usual palette of colours, but sometimes it’s good to leave your comfort zone.

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  8. I’ve just been trying to decide whether to rip out some crochet and start over and you’ve given me the motivation to do so! You so clearly made the right choice! Good luck with the dentists–there’s nothing worse than tooth/oral pain, to my way of thinking . . . .

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  9. Gorgeous pattern – is there a crochet version??

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  10. I feel for your poor gums – I am petrified of the dentist!

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  11. Sounds like a tough time. Hope you are feeling much better now.

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  12. Wow looks awesome! Your shawl is amazing.

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  13. I hope you heal quickly.
    Your shawl is perfection! I love the colors! This pattern is one I have wanted to knit, but dread all of the ends to weave in. Seeing yours, is making me want to knit it, despite the finishing. Lovely!

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  1. Waiting around | The Snail of Happiness

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