Both Clare and myself have be overwhelmed by the response we have had to our Pwani Shawl KAL. The official cast on date was August 1st although we were flexible in this as we realise August is a busy month for many of you with school holidays and family vacations.
Already many of you have cast on and in some cases finished your shawls! The Ravelry Group is buzzing with chatter and a few questions have arisen. We thought it might be helpful to post our answers here.
1) HOW DO I DO THE GARTER TAB?
There is a handy photo tutorial showing you the garter tab in one of our previous blog posts.
2) DO I HAVE TO USE THE SMALLER NEEDLES FOR THE INITIAL SECTION?
No, you can use the same needle throughout however using the small needle for the first section will help you to achieve as straighter edge when you block the shawl.
3) HELP, MY TOP EDGE DOES NOT LOOK STRAIGHT, HAVE I DONE SOMETHING WRONG?
No, as you work the top edge will seem slightly rounded, this is due to the nature of the knitted fabric. The final edging of this shawl is very stretchy so when you block the shawl you will be able to pull the top edge straighter and this improves the overall look of the top edge.
4) I AM NOT ABLE TO MEET THE SUGGESTED NUMBER OF ROWS IN THE PATTERN, HAVE I DONE SOMETHING WRONG?
This pattern is designed to use the yarn you have, you do not need to knit exactly the same number of rows as the pattern states. If you gauge varies slightly from the designer it is more than likely that you will knit fewer rows than stated. As long as you always knit rows in pairs then you will have a multiple of four when you get to the end of the shawl as needed for the border.
5) I DO NOT LIKE DOING THE M1R AND M1L, CAN I USE A KFB INSTEAD?
You can do this if you prefer the KFB increase. I like my KFB to be symmetrical on either side so would work my increases as follows:
K1, kfb, k1, then work as pattern states for chosen row to last 3 sts, kfb, k2.
6) I AM FINDING THE KNITTING HARD ON MY HANDS, ESPECIALLY THE LACE SECTIONS. WHAT CAN I DO?
The cotton in this yarn is wonderful to work with but can sometimes be a little harder on our hands and wrists than pure wool (which has more bounce). Try to keep the stitches loose and opt for metal needles if you can. The slick surface of a metal needle helps the stitches to glide along instead of “grabbing them” like wooden needles do. You can always go up a needle size too if you think your stitches are a little tight. Remember gauge is a very personal thing – the recommended needles are a suggestion, you should choose the needle size that works best for you and matches the required gauge.
7) I AM WORRIED ABOUT DROPPING STITCHES IN THE LACE SECTION AND NOT BEING ABLE TO PICK THEM UP EASILY.
If you want some added security you could always add a lifeline after a section of lace, or every (x) rows depending on how much security you feel you need. A lifeline is a thin strand of cotton that runs through your live stitches and then remains in the knitting as you continue working. It means if you drop a stitch 4 rows after you place the lifeline it can only run as far as the life line and no further. This is far better than a stitch running for many more rows. If you need to rip back your knitting you can easily pick up all your stitches off the lifeline too.
There will be a step by step photo tutorial very soon. If you are ready to cast off now you may find this video useful.
9) DO YOU HAVE ANY HINTS AND TIPS FOR BLOCKING?
There will be a step by step photo tutorial available very soon. You might be interested in an earlier blog post about blocking in general in the mean time.
It's not too late to join in with the knitalong, I've added more Pwani Kits to the shop today! You may however prefer to do your own colour combination or use one of the Coast Ombré packs with an extra ball of Coast.
Here are just a few finished shawls so far:
Mandy's has used On the Shore which includes Cocoa, Ivory, Clove, Tawny Owl & Nutmeg
Denise opted for her own colours and has used one of the Coast Ombré packs with Passion Flower
A huge thankyou to Clare for taking the time to answer all those questions. If you have any more please post them here and we will do our best to answer them for you.
About the Author
Rachel Owen is the owner of Tangled Yarn. As a mother to two teenagers life is never dull! When she's not knitting can be found wandering the Pennines with her faithful cocker spaniel Bailee. Her favourite colour is blue or is it green? And she could sink a ship with the amount of tea she drinks!