Sunday, 15 January 2017

What's it shawl about?


Way back last summer, I spotted that Melanie Berg was going to be teaching some classes at Loop. There were two that I was interested in taking, and was dithering about which to go for, so Mr JK encouraged me to book both, meaning an overnight stay in London was needed. 'I'll pay!' he said, so I had an indulgent weekend of knitting to look forward to several months ahead. I even thought about cancelling this week as I have been suffering from a rotten cough and cold and having been feeling a bit 'blergh', but thought that a weekend away would do me good. It did feel a bit odd booking a taxi for the station on Saturday, and it was even worse coming home this evening. Previously, I would always be looking out for Mr JK waiting behind the ticket barriers to meet me and drive me home, but of course this time, there was no one there. However I did have a lovely time in London, learning A LOT from one of the current Queens of Shawls. I really like Melanie's designs - lots of interesting shapes and use of colour, and most importantly shawls that are wearable. I've knit shawls in the past, mainly triangular lacy ones, and I just don't feel right wearing them. They make me feel like an old lady, so after all that time and effort spent knitting them, they're unloved and unworn in the back of my cupboard!






Before the first class, I squeezed in a visit to Loop (the classes were being held elsewhere as Loop's basement is still drying out after their flood) and decided to treat myself to some yarn to knit myself one of Melanie's shawls as a memory of Mr JK's weekend gift. Loop is a fabulous shop, crammed full of gorgeous yarn and knitting notions and lovely, friendly people too! If you've not visited before, you should definitely go! I'd happened to spot on their blog the arrival of some particularly luscious yarn that I thought would be perfect for a shawl - Lichen and Lace one ply merino fingering. I even had a completed Loop loyalty card to get discount! The three shades I picked were Beetroot, Pewter, and Teal Tide and I think they look great together. What do you think?




The first class was all about colourwork shawls and Melanie talked us through many of the techniques she uses in her own shawls, with lots of samples to admire and swatches to examine. Then of course we had a go at trying out some of these ideas ourselves. There are several that I really, really like and I went back to my hotel room (after unbelievably bumping into Snoopydog and the younger Miss Snoops in M&S where I was buying something to eat for my tea!!!) with my head buzzing full of ideas! My swatch grew with several more rows of patterns being tried out, but I forgot to take a photo. 




Today's class was all about shawl construction and Melanie went through the different possible shapes for shawls, giving us a basic starting 'recipe' for each one. I especially like the asymmetric triangles and crescent shaped shawls. We then got to cast on for one, a crescent shawl, and knit a few rows just before the end of the class. She suggested that this would be a good one to work on as a 'first shawl' design, and that's what I intend to do! Once my secret knitting is completed, I plan on having a go at designing my first colourwork shawl. I'm feeling quite excited by the prospect.




It was a great weekend and I learnt so much from Melanie. She is an absolutely lovely person and was so generous with her knowledge. I will keep you informed on my shawl design progress, I'm thinking of one with colours of spring in it. Just hope I can get it knit for this spring, rather than spring 2018! I'll be back in the week paying forward some of the kindness I've received, so be sure you stop by. xxx

9 comments:

PixieFoxtrot said...

Well done on your weekend away! Mr JK would be very proud of your dealing with the travel arrangements. I feel for you, arriving back at the station and having to make your way home must be so difficult. But you did well, and managed it, and it sounds like you had a very productive couple of sessions there. It must have been "fate" that you bumped into your good friend snoopydog while you were there: how nice for you!
I look forward to seeing your progress on your shawl, the three colours are beautiful.

zetor said...

Pleased your weekend went well, looking forward to follow your shawl knitting.(is the shawl for Flo?, lol!!) Yes Mr JK would be very proud of you, well done!!

Jenny said...

That must have been very poignant for you but you turned your trip into a success and a boost for your confidence, not just the travelling but starting to design a shawl, impressive. I hope Flo is being consulted about the latter and that she gave you a lovely welcome home. Have a good week.

Cindy said...

Good for you for following through on your crafting weekend, and learning new things and meeting new people. It must have been hard in many ways but you did it! Lovely shawl too.

VeggieMummy said...

Sounds like a perfect weekend away. I love Loop and always try to pop in if I'm in London - we're sadly lacking in yarn shops where I live. I didn't know that they do a loyalty card though! xx

weavinfool said...

So many firsts without Mr. JK. Congratulations on conquering a trip to London. It sounds like you learned a lot and had some enjoyable time. Hugs.

Judy said...

So very glad you went through w/your weekend plans. Your finished shawl will be such a lovely tribute to this special gift from your dear Mr JK.

Lynne said...

That sounds like a brilliant class, I'm glad you went! I've just glanced at Melanie's designs on Ravelry, and they are gorgeous! I get what you mean about them being more wearable, and am going to have a better look at them. Good luck with your shawl.

Snoopydog said...

So glad you were able to enjoy the classes despite not feeling 100%. I love the colour combo you have chosen for the shawl pattern. look forward to seeing the finished item! Hope you are feeling better! XX