I haven’t knitted since my children were little and now my daughter is expecting her first baby. Wouldn’t it be nice to be able to knit her a beautiful shawl for her baby. But can I still do it? Can I remember how to cast on? What a huge project for my very first knitting foray after twenty years. But it can’t be that hard can it?
So one lunchtime I went to the local wool store and spent an hour or so looking through all of the patterns. I couldn’t believe that some of the same patterns I had knitted all those years ago were still available today. Perhaps I shouldn’t have thrown all my patterns and needles out. I am the opposite of a hoarder and sometimes to my detriment.
I finally chose a pattern from the Sirdar Early Arrivals book. I guess I was quite surprised at the limited number of baby shawl patterns t0 choose from but that may have been a reflection on the store and not on shawl patterns in general.
This pattern was quite a nightmare to make. For a start I had forgotten how to cast on! But a quick search online reminded me and I was on my way knitting the first panel.
Oh boy, this pattern is made up of five panels, each consisting of five blocks, some lace and some stocking stitch. Once you have completed the five panels, they are stitched together and a separate lace band is knitted and sewn on to form the lace border. (The picture in the pattern showed five panels of four blocks but the actual pattern was five panels of five blocks. So that was a bit confusing to this “newby”.)
The pattern is done in 4 ply and I chose Shepherds baby merino wool. This yarn is very soft and will drape beautifully around this newborn baby girl when she is taken out in the New Zealand winter months.
The lace panels were not easy to follow and it took me most of the first three panels to be able to “read the pattern”. It is quite complicated and you certainly can’t watch your favourite television program while you are knitting the lace. There are two particular rows that seemed to be my nemesis. Rows 27 and 29. I had to smile when I read a comment on the Ravelry knitting site by someone else who had knitted this shawl and had the same problems with the same row. I think there are ten lace panels and with the amount of unravelling I had to do, I think I must have knitted about fourteen of those panels!
I thought the lace edging was going to take forever but it didn’t actually take too long. Getting the lace edging the right length was not the easiest. Even though I calculated the length I needed and then casted off when I thought it was long enough, it wasn’t long enough. I had to undo the casting off, stitch what I had so far onto the shawl and then finish knitting the last little bit until I got it just the right size.
Even though this was complicated, I love the finished object and I am very happy that I chose this pattern. I don’t think I would do it again. But then again, never say never. My husband asked me if I would make another one the same for his daughter who is also pregnant but I chose her baby a different pattern and I love it just the same but it was a lot easier to knit.
UPDATED July 2103 with photos of baby and shawl.
Baby was wrapped in the shawl soon after birth.
Nice and snuggly wrapped for a winter walk.
Oops. Luckily this is a machine washable shawl.
Details below of the baby shawl in this post.
Pattern book – Sirdar Early Arrivals Knitting Book
Pattern – Design E
Yarn – Shepherd Baby Wool Merino 4ply
Link to Ravelry project here