An important element of the forthcoming shawl 'Make-along' is trying something new. I've already knitted a lot of shawls but a crochet shawl - which I have yet to try - has been on my mind since I spoke to Joanne Scrace about The Shawl Project at Unravel.
I'll back up a little here for anyone who doesn't follow Joanne (Not So Granny) already - The Shawl Project Book One is a new collection of patterns which she recently published with Kat Goldin. Through The Crochet Project, this talented pair have been working to change the perception of crochet, bringing it up to date and making it more wearable. The book continues this tradition, but with something extra.
In addition to six designs - each constructed in a different way - the second section is a guide to designing your own shawl using the same construction methods. The book also contains great advice on choosing the right yarn, achieving beautiful drape, how to swatch (yes, that again!) and how to block your finished item and care for it for years to come. In short, it's fab! I caught up with Joanne this week, and asked her a few more questions about the book. You can read her responses below, where you'll also find an exclusive discount code for Make-along participants.
Here are the shawls, all designed by Joanne to be beginner-friendly single-skein projects...
|Cherry Pi by Joanne Scrace, photography by Kat Goldin|
|Never Black by Joanne Scrace, photography by Kat Goldin|
|Northmoor Lock by Joanne Scrace, photography by Kat Goldin|
|Spirographical by Joanne Scrace, photography by Kat Goldin|
|Transposition by Joanne Scrace, photography by Kat Goldin|
|You Mileage May Vary by Joanne Scrace, photography by Kat Goldin|
I love the patterns and the 'design your own' aspects of TSP, what was the inspiration behind it?
Back in summer last year I became mildly obsessed with crochet shawls. I was wearing Hilo and Silene to death and getting so many lovely comments. I knew that I wanted to explore crochet shawls and learn how to shape them. When I began looking into different shaping methods I found that the information was relatively sparse for knitters and almost non-existent for crocheters (because of different stitch heights we have to understand the shaping more deeply for it to work). So basically, I wrote the book I wanted to buy.
When you were writing the book, who did you think would buy it? Was your prediction right? (I ask this as you seemed surprised when the print copy sold out so quickly. )
I was pretty afraid that no-one would but I hoped that it would sell to people who wanted to start creating their own designs and also to people who wanted to make some crochet shawls.
I've been bowled over by the reaction to the book. Its selling to everyone from designers, as a resource, to novice crocheters, using the patterns as a progressive way to build their skills. - I love this aspect of the book that it will take you the whole way through your crochet journey.
As well as the community aspect of the 'make-along' I'd really like people to take the opportunity to try something different - this is the reason I'm going to try a crochet shawl and I'm hoping other "knitters" might try too. What are your top tips for making a gorgeous crochet shawl?
- Choose some beautiful yarn - each shawl uses just 100g of 4ply/fingering. Using a quality, slightly drapey yarn will make even the simplest stitches sing.
- Practice the stitch before you start. Its much less frustrating to learn the stitch pattern over 40 sts than over 200!
- Pick the shawl you want to wear - I find this gives me better motivation for finishing than picking one because its the right difficulty level.
- If you are a novice crocheter I recommend Northmoor Lock, Your Mileage May Vary or Spirographical. Cherry Pi and Transposition are not too much more difficult but will require a little more concentration and knowledge. Never Black is the trickiest because its such a large repeat.
- Block it when you finish - just like knitting, crochet shawls need a jolly good block to look their very best.
Finally, when can we expect 'Book Two'?
Its in the planning stages and you can expect some beautiful shawls with a more autumnal feel and some new constructions explored. Its slated for Autumn 2015.
As I mentioned, the first print run sold out in a single weekend but don't worry, you can download the ebook right now from Ravelry if you can't wait for a hard copy (which should be available in May). Even better, participants of the Make-along can get 20% off using the code CFTCMAKEALONG - it can also be used for the other shawls linked in the interview and can be used more than once.
I have some other great shawl patterns from designers offering a discount for our make-along (both knit and crochet) to share with you in the next week or so, and will also be announcing some generous giveaway prizes. Stay tuned here and on the (renamed) CftC Community Ravelry group so you don't miss a thing!