dark grey lace shawl

Eremophila designed by Ambah O'brien pattern available on Ravelry

 

Eremophila was an impulse knit that ticked a lot of boxes.

It never made it onto the coffee table as it was knitted over New Year when the coffee table is packed away. In fact, it was so quick I could have finished it in 3 days but I under estimated how much yarn I'd need so had to wait until I could get back to the shop.😆

I've had a hankering to knit a giant shawl for a while. The kind you can wrap yourself in whilst sitting on the sofa or grab when you need a quick cover up. Something you can wear bundle up in your winter coat or over just a cardi when it's not quite as chilly.

Years ago I knitted a super chunky shawl in Wendy With Wool Super Chunky.

 

lime yellow shawl

 Decemberist at The Woolly Brew

 

The size and colour made it a real statement piece. The pattern, Decemberist by Melanie Berg, was straightforward and the lace really popped in the thick yarn. 

Sadly the colour was discontinued when Wendy Yarns changed owners. But other shades were available so we kept the sample in the shop.

But just before Christmas I found out all the colours were now being discontinued.

The shop needed a new super chunky.

Referring to my wish list (the list of yarns I'd have if the shop was 10x bigger) I brought in King Cole Big Value Super Chunky in 12 shades.

Now was the perfect time for a new giant shawl.

Although, I did consider knitting Decemberist again especially when no super chunky shawl patterns grabbed me.

Then Ambah O'Brien shared her Eremophila pattern on Instagram. I loved the shape of it. A triangle with pointed. Very Batman like.

The only issue was... it was written for 4ply and DK yarn.

Undeterred, on the last shop day before Hogmanay I took home some balls of King Cole Big Value Super Chunky in Charcoal (really leaning into the Batman shape) and cast on that night. 

I used a 10mm needle. 

The shawl is knitted from the top down. It uses YO and K2tog, SSK, CDD to create and manage the holes and M1R and M1L to add stitches and create the shape. The CDD is a 2 stitch decrease and it creates a lovely raised texture, especially in the super chunky yarn.

All the abbreviations are explained in the pattern and instructions are written AND charted.

 

dark grey shawl

 

I started using the instructions for the DK shawl. Ambah has helpfully written out the row repeats for each size of shawl. I saw I could stop the DK repeats early and have the correct number of stitches for the final edging.

I worked the set up rows as written.
Then worked the Eremophila pattern rows 1 to 45 (ending with 195 stitches)
Then the DK final eyelet rows 1 - 6 (ending with 213 stitches)
I cast off loosely using Jeni's Surprisingly Stretchy Bind Off. I used about 24m of yarn to cast off.

It was huge.

And that was before blocking.

As the King Cole Big Value Super Chunky is 100% acrylic fibres I didn't do my usual Eucalan bath. With acrylic yarns you have to be careful not to stress the fibres too much as they will not bounce back like wool does. When I wet block shawls (soak, squish, stretch) I have a tendency to block hard (not sure what that says about me 😆). So with acrylics I either steam block or use wet tea towels.

First I shaped the shawl on my foam mats -straightening edges and pinning out points. Eremophila has a weird Poirot moustache shape to the top edge which needs straightening.

 

dark grey shawlapologies for the photo - it's winter in Scotland 

 

But the points are easy to find and pin out. If this was sopping wet I can guarantee you I would have ended up pinning it three times as large and it would have ended up incredibly limp.

I then took my iron and hovered above the shawl blasting it with hot steam. Do not touch the fabric with the iron or your hand. Leave it to cool and dry before unpinning.

Another method is to pin out your dry shawl then lay wet tea towels across it. Let the whole thing dry before unpinning. This takes a bit longer.

Before blocking the shawl measured 74" along the top edge and 26" deep.

After blocking it measured 80" along the top edge and 35" deep.

 

dark grey shawlWrapped around a 38" mannequin

 

Re the needles. I am a loose knitter, especially with thicker yarns. If I was an average knitter I'd maybe think about 12mm... I'd definitely use 12mm if I was a tight knitter.

They need to be circular needles to hold all the stitches. Not only are you working with a thick yarn but you are also increasing rapidly - 6 stitches every 2 rows. I started with a shorter 10mm then moved on to 150cm when I had more stitches. 150cm is a bit unwieldy when you've only got a small number of stitches on it. But it's not impossible to use if you just want to buy one length of needle.

The lace is not too tricky but I wouldn't say it was the easiest one to try for your first lace project.

You need to pay careful attention on the YO rows as it is very easy to miss a YO. If you do miss one your stitch count will be wrong and the lace pattern will go wonky. I recommend using stitch makers to mark the repeats and pay attention on the row after the YO row so you can add a YO in if you've missed one out.

The lace pattern is quite 'structural' though. For example, the CDD stitch and the centre stitch are natural markers that are a visual reminder of where you are in the pattern. 

And the large yarn and stitches do make it easier to see what you are doing which also makes it easier to unknit whatever mistakes you make!

 

dark grey shawl

 

To recap

You can buy a copy of the Eremophila pattern on Ravelry. Remember it is written for 4py or DK yarn. If you want a super chunky size follow my instructions given above.

You can buy King Cole Big Value Super Chunky here. I used 5 balls in Charcoal (3552).

You can buy circular needles here. I recommend either 10mm (loose/average knitters) or 12mm (average/tighter knitters).

 

January 10, 2024

make your own Eremophila XL

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