One of the fun things of writing blogs about handwoven projects is that it encourages me to think about the story behind the project. There is almost always some aspect about the project that I can use as an angle to write the blog post. Yet, sometimes a handwoven shawl is just what it is: a pretty shawl that was fun to weave. This was the case for the shawl I made for my aunt as a birthday present.
I made the shawl in one of my go-to yarns using a variation of a pattern that I have used before while applying a technique that is familiar to me. So not much new under the sun there. But sometimes it is good to take a road that is tried and tested, especially if you want to make sure that the project is gift-worthy. Experimenting is great fun, but it can be equally enjoyable to rely on the outcomes of those past experiments when working on a new project.
I settled on weaving technique and yarn type first: a shawl in echo-8 made of thin mercerized crochet cotton. I chose a sett of 10 ends per cm for the warp, referring back to an echo-8 shawl I previously made in this yarn. So, all that remained was a choice of colors and pattern.
My color combination was also inspired by a previous project. For my first echo-4 shawl, I used a color sequence including pink, green, blue and purple. For my aunt, I left out the bright pink and used a nice denim shade instead. I also went for a marine weft instead of burgundy red. This gives the shawls very different appearances, even though they have a lot of warp colors in common.
The star-shaped pattern of the shawl is based on the design line of my first echo-8 shawl. I shortened the design line a bit, so that the width of the shawl could accommodate 1.5 repeats of the pattern. Designing with ‘half motifs’ does not always give pleasing results, but I like the look in case of these star shapes. It reminds me somewhat of a hopscotch court, moving sideways from one star to the next.
Even though the ingredients were all familiar, it was a joy to weave the shawl. The end-result does not look like the projects that I took my inspiration from. It is interesting to see how seemingly small changes in color can make quite a difference. For example, I used a beautiful shade of Tyrian purple in both this shawl and in my echo-4 shawl. In this latest shawl, the Tyrian purple is quite bright and striking. In my echo-4 shawl, the Tyrian purple lives more in the shadows due to the inclusion of bright pink.
A color that looks quite bright on its own can move to the background when paired with an even brighter color. I find that there is so much room to explore in every project that I weave, even when I decide to stick to familiar ingredients.