I have a brand new nephew. He's only a few months old and I am completely and utterly in love with him. He loves me too. I can tell.
I didn't really know what kind of gift to give my sister. She has most of the baby things she needs already. Then, I saw this post for a shawl and I really liked it. Vera Shawl by Katie Grady
This isn't a big, bulky, old fashioned shawl. It's made with light, sock yarn, and I liked the subtle pattern. I also really liked the way she was wearing the shawl in the picture. I thought my sister could use it as a nursing shawl.
I used Cascade Heritage yarn. I am absolutely in love with this yarn. It is amazingly soft and feels so good. It's even machine washable. I have seen this yarn before in some nice yarn shops. The price stopped me from getting it, but then I found it on Craftsy.com.
So, I got to work. The stitches are not difficult. just a rhythm from single crochet to triple crochet and back again. It makes a very nice, wave pattern. I also really like the way the colors fade from one to the other.
The pattern, however, is incredibly difficult to follow. And, I have to say...the most obvious flaw...the gauge is almost impossible determine. As seen by the fact that this is quite honestly one of the biggest shawls ever. I may not be the tallest person (1/2" above the national average), but seriously. It goes down to my ankles! And the way the center portion is done, it adds lots of fabric and volume around the neck.
I didn't even finish all of the rows. I left off about 15 rows because it was just getting ridiculous. Just for comparison, I laid my shawl over this one. Can you believe the difference?
Typically, gauge is written as "so many stitches and so many rows per inch." If your stitch count matches the pattern stitch count, then you have the correct yarn, the correct hook, and the correct tension. If they don't match, you can adjust accordingly. This pattern, however, uses the pattern repeat as the gauge. So, you don't know where you stand until you are twenty rows into the project. Remember me mentioning that the pattern is a rolling wave? So, where do you test the gauge? I checked it at the center point. I was fairly close. (Assuming I was testing it where I was supposed to.) It was supposed to be 2.75." I was at 2 7/8." Seemed close enough to me.
I guess I was wrong. My shawl was a good 10" larger than what the pattern listed.
One of the things that turned out very well is the shawl pin. My husband's aunt, Leslie Macon, is a very talented artist. She recently started doing bead work, and I asked her to make a shawl pin. All I sent were some pictures of the shawl in progress. What she came up with is absolutely beautiful, and it works with the shawl perfectly.
I was happy to send this to my sister. I imagine she can use it as a blanket while she's sitting on the couch. It is incredibly soft, and I made it with lots of love. (Only a little cursing...and doubt.) It's killing me that I can't see my niece and nephew very often. My loving sister sends me pictures of her snuggling with them...just to make me jealous. She's like that some times.