Crochet ahead for Christmas: Shawls
With only 42 sleeps left until Christmas, it’s time to get your hooks out and get your gift crochet projects underway. Merion has sought out a beautiful selection of shawls to make before the big day…
I love making handmade gifts, especially at Christmas. It’s a wonderful way for me to show how much I care – by my choice of gift and my choice of yarn – choosing a shade that is perfect for someone, that matches their favourite colours, their home or even their winter coat. Crochet is such a wonderfully speedy craft, that it’s perfect for gift makes – whether a scarf, a hat, mitts or if you’re super speedy, a blanket – and choosing a yarn is great fun too!
This week I’m looking at shawls – the unsung jewels of the yarn craft world. Shawls are the new scarf accessory – perfect for any weather. Make them in cosy wools and alpaca for colder weather, and in deliciously cool cottons and linen to provide elegance and summer shade. The word shawl, in days gone by, might conjure up for some, a fuddy duddy old garment – but throughout history, shawls have been elegant, shimmery for evenings, or delicately woollen for cold days. In our modern world, shawls have made the most fabulous comeback – worn by anyone, for any season, and crochet designers have responded by creating a wonderful world of gorgeous patterns to choose from.
I’ve chosen some shawls for all abilities here – if you haven’t tried making a shawl before, grab your hooks! If you can crochet basic stitches, you’ll be able to make one with relative ease. For those of you who are experienced crocheters, not to worry, I’ve included shawls with a bit of a challenge to keep you interested.
When you choose yarn for a shawl, there are a few important factors to consider, especially if you are giving your shawl as a gift.
- Budget: you could spend a fortune on luxury yarn, so start off with a clear idea of how much you want to spend on someone.
- Sensitivities: is your gift recipient allergic to any natural fibres, or do they have sensitive skin? If this is the case, you yarn choices are limited, but still good!
- Colour and style: these are are the big questions – what colours does your recipient wear, and will they wear a shawl? Do they prefer a bright accent shade, or something gentler?
We have hundreds of shawls to choose from, but I’ve selected a few that I think are speedy makes, and good choices if you’re new to the world of shawlery!
If you love crocheting shawls, this is a wonderful e-book from Joanne Scrace and Kat Goldin, aka The Crochet Project. There are six patterns in this book, all suitable for beginners. I can say, hand on heart, that I have made them all, and I love the way the patterns are written. If you’re more adventurous, try The Shawl Project: book two, that contains more complex patterns and some Tunisian crochet too.
There are so many ways to wear a shawl – with the point down at the front, or swathed around your shoulders. This darling shawl with its cluster flowers would work as a summer or winter garment – make it in cool cottons if you’re over on the Southern side of the earth for Christmas, and in delicious wool or alpaca for those Northern Hemisphere hookers.
What is fabulous about this gorgeous Goldberry shawl, is that it comes in two sizes – so you can make it the size pictured above, or, if you want a really swirly wrap, you can increase it by a sizeable chunk – and this can make all the difference, especially if your recipient is very tall.
Let us not forget that shawls, albeit smaller ones, are also fantastic gifts for men. Pictured here is the Metro Shawlette, which, strictly speaking, is entirely unisex – so don’t be restrained with your choice of yarn if you love a shorter shawlette style.
I love this beauty – just the right amount of solid texture and open feather and fan lace. Perfect for a beginner – choose a semi-solid yarn to show off the ebb and flow of colour in the beautiful curves of the fan shapes.
Let’s talk about yarn…
Most shawls are crocheted in 4ply or DK yarn – and what you’re looking for, is a yarn that will drape. A lot of patterns will only call for 100g of yarn, so the field is wide open for buying the best yarn that you can afford – and believe me there is a lot of scope.
Special treat yarn
Fyberspates Vivacious 4ply is a glorious merino wool that comes in some glorious semi-solid shades. Shades below, from left to right: Spiced Plum (600) and Deep Forest (605) are both absolutely delicious for winter – but you may fancy something brighter, like Lavender Haze (610).
Cascade Heritage Wave is a beautiful semi-solid yarn, as is Malabrigo Arroyo, and if you love wool and alpaca blends, Baa Ram Ewe Titus is a dream of a super soft, warm 4ply yarn spun in the Yorkshire Dales.
BC Garn Silkbloom Fino is a glorious blend of merino wool and silk that has a beautiful drape that is perfect for shawls. There are over 20 shades to choose from – I absolutely love the jewel-depth of these colours, with a shimmer from that dash of silk! Below, from left to right a rich red (IX04), a jewelled teal (IX16) and a fabulous mustard gold that is bang on trend (IX21).
Debbie Bliss Rialto 4ply is a superb option, in signature muted Debbie Bliss shades, and for a little bit of sparkle, Cascade Sunseeker is a cotton shot through with a tiny spritz of tonal glitz – perfect for parties and evenings out.
One eye on the budget
King Cole Merino Blend 4ply is a fabulous value, soft and cosy yarn that comes in over 25 shades. It has plenty of loft and bounce, and will crochet into a beautiful shawl. The colour palette is varied and modern, and I love, from left to right, Amethyst, Silver and Rose – all great choices!
King Cole Bamboo 4ply is another good option, especially for summer shawls – the bamboo has masses of drape, and you might find yourself crocheting a shawl for someone who is either vegan, or isn’t able to tolerate animal fibre. Italian brand Adriafil has some really competitively priced yarns that are gorgeous to crochet. Adriafil Azzurra is a wool and acrylic blend that comes in a huge range of colours, some of which are melange or semi-solid – have a look at the deep emerald Green (35), and Bordeaux (41) – both beautifully seasonal!
Get those hooks out and crochet for Christmas! And don’t forget to share your projects with us in the Community!