Kiwiyarns Knits

A blog about New Zealand yarns, knitting and life



At 3am this morning, Sylvia came into being.

It was a bitter-sweet moment to cast off.  I seem to have put so much of myself into this shawl that it’s almost a part of me now.  On one hand, I was delighted to finally be rid of this project (and finally be able to wear it!) On the other hand, I was sad to see it coming off the needles.

This is my tribute to Wovember.  100% wool top, 75% wool skirt, 100% wool shawl.

I have to admit I didn’t quite know what I was getting myself into when I started this design.  I thought it would be an 8 ball project. 16 balls of Stansborough Mythral 100% wool later…  What I thought would take me a week to knit ended up taking nearly four.

There’s something about hand knitting that is intensely satisfying.  To look at a project and think that the entire project was made by you, that every detail was crafted stitch by stitch with your own two hands.  The fact that I planned and put together all the elements of this shawl adds even more to my happiness.

I have to tell you about the blocking bit too.  Cheryl at Stansborough informs me that to get the best out of this yarn, you need to soak it in hot water after you’ve finished knitting.  She also advised that you can spin it on a regular spin in the washing machine, and hang it (!) up to dry.

So… with bated breath, I filled the tub with what I figured to be hot water (I measured the temperature after I’d put the shawl in: 38C/100F).  I left it soaking with wool wash for 10 minutes.  Then I drained it, and put it in my front-loading washing machine on a 800RPM spin.  9 nervous minutes later… it came out light, soft, and perfectly beautiful.  With even more lustre and drape than before.  You’ll see post-blocking photos when I release the pattern.

I was too chicken to hang it on the line to dry though, so it’s drying on a rack on my deck.  I can tell already though that I should not have been worried.  This wool has a durability and strength to it that will allow it to keep its shape well, and I doubt a hanging on the line would do anything bad to it at all.

Pattern will be released soon!


Author: kiwiyarns

Welcome to my blog where I talk about knitting in New Zealand and the beautiful yarns you can find here.

35 thoughts on “Completion

  1. WOW! that looks gorgeous! It does look like you’ve put a lot of love into it and it paid off in the end.

  2. Beautiful! I wish I weren’t on a yarn diet after seeing that.

  3. I never thought I would fall in love again, but … What a thing of beauty this is. Absolutely stunning! How very gifted you are. Was this very difficult? I’d love to do it but I just seem to do lots of stocking stitch!

    • Thanks for your lovely comments! 🙂 In general response – yes, I saw that video with Hazel. Isn’t she incredible! Actually, colourwork is quite simple. Most of it is only two colours per row, so you are just working stocking stitch, but changing colour every now and again. Fair isle is often amazingly repetitive – each row has a definite rhythm. It looks a lot harder than it actually is. You should pick a simple pattern and give it a go! The trick is to strand your new yarn loosely when you pick it up again so that your knitting doesn’t pucker. You soon get the hang of it. Don’t use machine washable yarn – you need yarn that has a slight ‘cling’ (100% non-machine washable wool is perfect) to make the colours blend together seamlessly. Re my pattern… it is not hard. It’s just a very long rectangle. There is no shaping or tricky cast-on technique. It does require concentration though, and an ability to follow charts. Once you get the first repeat done, you can see what you’re doing for all the panels, and following the charts will become unnecessary except for the central panel which needs special attention. I’m going to recommend it as an intermediate level just because there are several cables to memorise, and it can be difficult for a beginner (but not impossible). I have no idea of your level of skill, as stocking stitch patterns can be complicated too! But these are my comments on it for what it’s worth. 😉

  4. ABsoLuTeLY GOrGeOuS!!!! You knitting is amazing. It looks so beautiful on you. xoRobin❤

  5. That is an heirloom piece, and stylish to boot! Congrats!!!!!!!

  6. Brilliant – it looks so warm – well done.
    I’m tempted now to go buy 16 balls – yikes

  7. Sylvia is absolutely STUNNING! This piece is gorgeous and you should be very very proud of all of your hard work and energy. What I wouldn’t give to wrap up in that at my desk at work. Your skill is inspiring 🙂

  8. That is just beautiful. Looks really soft and cosy. I was interested in your blocking. I am starting a shawl but was wondering about blocking it. What do you do it on? My only experience in blocking is pins and the ironing board.What are blocking wires? I’ve been looking through a book. The Loving Stitch and there’s a photo of an elderly lady blocking a shawl on the beach with sticks! I thought of my lawn but did abit of a giggle as I’ve got freerange chooks, I think not a good idea,

    • The mental image of you putting a beautiful shawl on a lawn full of free range chooks was very funny. 😉 Blocking with this shawl is a bit of a misnomer really. This one is super easy. All you have to do with this one is drape it over a clothes rack (making sure you’re not wrinkling any of it). The yarn is very robust. It won’t grow or stretch. Lace shawls need much more work. I understand blocking wires are where you thread the wire through the shawl to hold it in shape while it’s drying, rather than using pins. I’ve also seen shawls blocked on top of or and on sides of beds, which is how I will do the lace shawl I’m planning next.

    • i love it clare

  9. This is so beautiful!!!!! You are so talented!

  10. It looks WONDERFUL (mind you you look very glam in the photo’s too) xx

  11. Congratulations on finishing! It’s a gorgeous shawl and that yarn really is to die for. I’ve not seen wool drape nearly as well as that either.

  12. It’s absolutely beautiful! Congratulations on creating such a wonderful piece of hand knitting. It’s an inspiration to us all — thank you for sharing it.

  13. Wow thats awesome! It looks great, -really classy. Great job sis!

  14. the most stunning shawl I’ve ever seen. I get about 4 weeks of winter cold enough to wear that but am still tempted to do it. Are you going to sell the pattern on ravelry?

  15. Oh my God this is incredible WS, you’ve just excelled this time WOW!!!! Now am I going to make this? I’ve made everything else you’ve designed and shared so far!!! the answer is yes, I think so!! But it will have to be for ME to keep! Congratulations… can’t wait for the pattern, now to have a hunt to see what yarn to use here in UK! love ya xxxx

  16. I wish it would only take me 4 weeks to knit! I’m trying to discipline myself to finish the cabled jacket I’ve been working on for a year before I start it, but it’s just gorgeous! Congratulations!!

    • Thank you. 🙂 I’m so used to quick projects that this felt like forever. However, it is an excellent one for when you’re snowed in over winter. Lots of interesting things happening. You can’t doze off over this one!

  17. I think you have absolutely outdone yourself with this incredible shawl. I’ve been dreaming of knitting something just like this one and I’m soooo happy that you plan to write out this pattern. I’m a huge fan of grey tones so when I cast on, I’ll be choosing a very similar tone as yours. And I also know that you knit this beauty as the weather grew warmer in your part of the world — you are my goddess! xo

  18. So many comments! All saying what I want to say – that this wrap is stunningly beautiful. You deserve to be incredibly proud of this project!! I shall be adding it to my queue when it is available on Ravelry. Congrats!!

  19. This is so beautiful, I’ve got tears in my eyes. Congratulations! And your emotions around casting off almost remind me of the feeling when you give birth — glad the pregnancy is over, but you’ve been at it so long it seems strange not to be. At least the shawl is a lot easier to take care of! lol

  20. Sylvia is indeed a beautiful lady, I’m in awe that you took only four weeks to knit her, the stitch definition is gorgeous and the colour is so easy on the eye………….a bit of a scary moment with the hot water soak and the spin…….you are a braver woman than I. xx

  21. Oh My Goodness…..totally beautiful! How wonderful to know that you have created that from start to finish yourself. It looks wonderful on you with your wooly outfit….Happy Wovember. Can I ask what you were doing up finishing your knitting at 3am??? Better than counting sheep any day 😉

  22. wow that is stunning! I’m looking forward to the pattern release. 🙂

  23. Beautiful!! It looks so cosy.
    I’d be terrified of spin-drying something I’d just finished knitting. 😮

  24. Looks fantastic – It could be lovely warm blanket to I reckon. My daughter has a habit of dragging her crochet blanket (by her nanna) around with her on cold mornings, a blanket version of your shawl could definitely stand up to a bit of dragging around and look really great at the same time.

  25. It’s breathtaking! It’s truly amazing when we finish a piece like that, I guess non-knitters aren’t able to understand that. Every time I tried to explain to a non-knitter how much time it takes to make a garment and how much my fingers and back hurts, the person couldn’t understand why am I doing it than. To me it’s very simple: there are certain things that you can’t buy with money (like the feeling of being able to create).

  26. its so lovely