Wednesday 22 February 2017

My attempt at the Anansi Shawl by Aoibhe Ní

On 22nd February 2017 I decided to go on a Tunisian crochet journey and attempt to make Aoibhe Ni's Anansi Shawl.

I'm over the moon that I managed to complete it, it took me about a month in all.

The yarn I used, Stylecraft Senses Lace is beautiful and soft, it is like being wrapped up in a soft cloud. 

A couple of close ups of the finished design are shown below. There is a chevron design and a sweeping row of 5 lines which spiral around the shawl.

Hard to hold up but here are some close ups with the light shining through the pattern:

I really hope you will have a go yourself and if it helps you I've logged my thoughts and some tips below, all these were added as I went along the journey.

This is how it all began that cold February morning ...........

Well here goes, I've only dabbled in some Tunisian crochet so this is going to be a learning curve for me, however armed with Aoibhe's excellent written pattern, charts and YouTube video I hope to be able to make this beautiful work of art.

I hope you will join me on my journey.

I'm beginning today, February 22nd 2017 and will update this page as I go on.

My first stop was choosing a yarn, I looked through Ravelry at what other people had used and some had used Double Knit and some the recommended Lace/2ply.

Unsure what to do I had a walk to my local shops, sadly all the yarn/craft shops are now gone but a few high street stores do still sell yarn. I was thrilled to find that Boyes were selling Stylecraft Senses Lace yarn at just £1 per ball in their sale. It was like it was meant to be! So here I am about to begin in a beautiful mullberry, slightly varigated colour called Hawthorne:

23rd February 2017

Well today has been a learning curve and I've found I've been doing it all wrong!

First thing I discovered is that you can't really do this pattern with the soft grip handled crochet hooks, they do not give you enough room for the stitches, so I swapped to a proper Tunisian crochet hook.

That wasn't much of a problem and the worked started to look lovely:

I must admit I was a bit uncertain though about the jagged edge, it was hard to tell from the pattern photos but I was sure that they did not have that effect.

I had watched Aoibhe Ni's video tutorial on how to do the 'uple treble' stitches:
and had been using this same technique to make the Lt1, 2 3, etc. stitches as mentioned in the pattern, i.e. I was chaining the said number of chains then working the uple trebles on them, each time on top of the last. As I went along I realised that if I continued I would have the final 24 stitches, which I needed to then carry on with chart A and B, but as I had been working on top of the previous 'uples' I would have had far, far too many stitches along the working edge.

A search of Ravelry took me to a forum thread which, although 3 years old, gave the explanation of what I should actually be doing. You can see the forum posts here:

Vivian-pearl explained it excellently on how to work on the foundation chains.... after doing the 2dc increase (note: being in the US Vivian-pearl uses the term 'sc' which is the same as a UK 'dc'):

After you have your 2 sc in the same chain:
YO and hook into the next chain and return. (creates a Ltr)
Hook the YO loop and hook into the chain, then return. (1st Ltr in ch)
Hook the line, hook into the same chain, return. (2nd Ltr in ch)
YO and hook into the line, hook into next chain, return. (creates L2tr)
Hook the YO loop, hook the line, hook into the next chain, return. (1st L2tr in ch)
Hook the 2 lines, hook into the same chain, return. (2nd L2tr in ch)

Continue in the same manner until you have made all your increases.

Once I had masted this everything began to look better and I think I am now on the right track, thankfully I had not done too much work. Let's see how things go from now on!

24th February 2017

Well another little set back but nothing that can't be sorted. I got to the end of the first section ready to do the first of the charts but realised I did not have enough chains left to work the charts on. On closer inspection I found that I had worked happily away until I had the correct number of stitches but had been missing some of the YO (yarn overs) which meant things had gone wrong.

All my fault for not counting stitches and being careful! So my advice is COUNT, COUNT and COUNT again and watch out for those yarn overs, they can get hidden amongst the other stitches (see photo added further down below). You need good light and concentration.

Anyway, I'm not one to give up (perhaps you'd noticed that :) ) so after ripping it back yet again I am now back where I should be. This time I placed stitch markers on the chains at each point where the section or chart should end and this helped me be sure I was counting correctly.

The top piece is what I had done wrong and the bottom one is correct and ready for moving on to chart A and B - you can see how much smaller and narrower the top one is, it would not have achieved the size required.

You might think that all this means the pattern is not worth trying but PLEASE do have a go, all these mistakes are my fault so don't let me put you off, it is quite easy once you understand what you should be doing and once you have done one segment then that is all there is to it, you then have to make another 10 segments exactly in the same way so it is bound to get easier because of all the practice.

We have the grandchildren to stay this weekend so there will be no updates until at least Monday but I am feeling really good about this shawl despite my mistakes I am learning from them. The yarn is soft and beautiful, although a bit of a pain to undo as it has a slight mohair feel to it and the fibres can get tangled if you are not careful, but fingers crossed this is my last rip back!

Tuesday 28th February 2017

I was able to spend quite a few hours on this yesterday and have completed the first panel. YAY! The charts A and B are easy to understand but you do need to work on it with patience and quiet concentration, certainly not something to do while watching TV - not for me anyway!

This is how it is looking so far, once finished it will need blocking which will help open up the pattern and show it in more detail. I can't fit the whole length on my table so it is folded at the plain end.

My main observation is to watch for those yarn overs, it is very easy to miss them, so remember to count all your stitches - I recommend counting on the first pass rather than the return then if you have missed one it is easy to go back.

Below is a picture of a yarn over, I hope it shows what I mean about how hidden they are, it is vital that you do not miss picking them up from the previous row or the hole which is part of the pattern will not form.

So now it is on to the next panel which is worked onto the side of the previous one, at the end you join the last panel to the other edge of the first and voila, you have a circular shawl :)

1st March 2017

I am as they say over here 'cooking with gas' and everything is working out fine. I've done the first part of the second panel and the last row arrived exactly where it should on the stitch marker I'd placed after counting where it should end. :)

I did get in a bit of a panic when looking at the diagram of the finished shawl and how the panels join together, my little 'wing' triangle was on the top side, not the bottom as in the diagram but after studying it a bit more I think the diagram is showing the reverse, so all is well.

I'm now well into the two charts for panel two and expect to go much faster now that I am fully understanding the pattern and seeing how it looks in progress.

I expect it is going to take me a few weeks to complete, yes I think there are a few mistakes but even I find it hard to see them so I doubt anyone else would and this yarn is quite forgiving as it has a slight mohair to it so hides any errors. :)

3rd March 2017

Panel two is now almost finished and it looks lovely, I am really getting into the pattern and even did a little bit while watch some TV that didn't need too much concentration.

I am really getting into the pattern and finding it easy, it's amazing how once you get into something it all becomes clear.

If you fancy having a go I can recommend it - go for it!

Panel three will begin today, not much point me keep updating unless I have some technique information to share so it might be a few days before there is another update.

10th March 2017

Just a quick update to say that it is still coming along nicely I'm almost half way through - YAY!

14th March 2017

Thought I would add a photo of the work so far, really happy with how it is coming together.

A small hitch when I was working on an area where you work a small triangle by decreasing the Ltrs. I only had the chain stitches worked and had to put it down to let the cat in who was scratching at the door, when I picked it up I must have turned the work and not realised, I ended up running out of stitches and found I had been going back the wrong way. Doh!! Please don't laugh. :) Anyway, it was only about 10 rows to undo and I was soon back on track.

20th March 2017

One panel to go! I'm getting excited now, it's looking good.

23rd March 2017

All finished! There is only a minimal amount of sewing, just join the first panel side to the last to complete the circle and then you are done. I've just pinned it out and left it wet to block and done a little dance of pure joy :)

Here it is blocked:

I hope you have a go, it is a lovely pattern to do and very rewarding when it is finished.

Happy crocheting!



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