Aran Pocket Shawl: Pattern Notes

On Monday, Lorraine asked me to do a FO post on the Aran Pocket Shawl. This morning I found out she tagged me for a meme. I hear and obey! However, I’m going to do the FO post first, as I need a little time to think of 7 random facts about myself (no need to dwell on that difficulty). So, here is the Aran Pocket Shawl without pockets!

Aran Pocket Shawl in Morning Sun

The blocking went very well. I soaked it for 15-20 minutes in water (I have so many detergent sensitivities that I usually block in water) in a big tub (which can double as a light diffuser!) and then threw it in my fancy-shmancy frontload washer with two large, dark bath towels for a low speed spin. I had trepidations (and the shawl palpitations), but all came out well. I didn’t pin the shawl but just laid it flat on towels on the floor and let it dry. It came out at nearly 7 feet long by about 2 feet wide.

Aran Pocket Shawl

The Berroco Ultra Alpaca worked well, although I would sometimes hit a stretch of yarn several inches long that was thicker than the rest. Only once was it bad enough to break the yarn and bypass it, but I didn’t like it all the same. The color is very rich and there was very little bleeding when I blocked it. I also thought it was a nice yarn to show a knit-purl stitch pattern well. I knit 25 of the 28 repeats called for, and Ultra Alpaca is a worsted weight yarn as is the yarn called for in the pattern. However, the pattern calls for 7 skeins at 220 yd/skein, and I used about 4.5 skeins at 215 yd/skein.

stitch pattern detail

I have the second printing (copyright 2000) of Folk Shawls by Chery Oberle. The pattern is very well written, but this printing has an error. To make both ends of the shawl look the same, you need to do rows 1-15 only of the last pattern repeat before the seed stitch border; the text tells you to do rows 1-16 (it’s an 18 row repeat). I enjoyed the pattern; it was easy to memorize but not tedious. I went a little seed stitch/basketweave crazy toward the end, but it was all worth it.

This is my seventh completed project for 2007. I have the chevron scarf done too but for weaving in the ends (personally, I think it unwove the ends, as I was sure I had already done that), but that will have to wait until after I do the meme. Lorraine is the mother of two teenagers, and several of my friends here are also the mothers of teenagers (I’ve been offered many teenage children to take home–no give backs!). It’s best to keep the moms happy I’ve found.

Blocking Tomorrow, the Mai Tai Tonight!

Life has been a social whirl this past week here at Molecular Knitting: three dinners out last week! This did not leave a lot of time for knitting but I did manage to get the Chevron Scarf off the needles. So tomorrow (Monday) evening is dedicated to blocking both it and the Aran Pocket Shawl.

“Block me, baby!”–Chevron Scarf.
“What’s to become of us?!”–Aran Pocket Shawl.
“We’re gonna be blocked, straightened out, my YOs opened up, your welts flattened out.”–CS
“Oh, Mr. Chevron, I have such palpitations when I think of the blocking! Will you be with me and protect me, Mr. Chevron, dear?”–APS
“Look, Doll, you’re a shawl and I’m a scarf. No one wears a shawl and a scarf at the same time, not even on the pages of VK. I’ve got a date with a coffee-colored, wide wale corduroy pea coat. We’re kismet. We’re destiny. We coordinate. You need to find yourself a nice shell or blouse in a nice navy blue or plum.”–CS
“Oh, dear! Oh, dear!”–APS

While my handknits prepared for blocking, M whipped up the quintessential Tiki drink: the Mai Tai.


M as usual did a stupendous job on the bartending front, however, I was not fond of the Mai Tai. It was very sweet, and the orgeat (almond) syrup was over-powering in my opinion. M liked it better, considering it the “ultimate” Tiki drink, but agreed with me that the Mojito and Hemingway Daiquiri were tastier. I guess they can’t all be winners. We’ll just have to try again next weekend!

I hope all of you had a great weekend!

It’s a Wrap

It’s late, but she’s hot off the needles, ends woven in, ready to block (I’m going to spin it in my “I can spin delicates safely” washing machine, but I’m not worried–much).

“Can you believe she’s going to make me, the Aran POCKET Shawl, without pockets? It’s a travesty of knitting! I’m made of 50% alpaca yarn! I don’t deserve such an indignity! My poor nerves! She has no consideration for my poor nerves!” Aran Pocket Shawl.

I am so glad this knit is off the needles! I knit seven repeats this weekend just to finish her up. I like the shawl, but it’s one big rectangle. Now, for just a little attitude adjustment on the shawl’s part (50% alpaca?!–has it not seen the 100% suri alpaca in my stash?). Well, it’s nothing that a good blocking can’t straighten out. Pattern notes to follow. Now I can go back to my pink sock. Yay! And my Victorian lace. Yay! And my barely cast on jacket. Yay! Yays all around!

I hope everyone had a great weekend!


When work takes up so much time that knitting progress slows to the proverbial crawl, I find it soothing to use an alternative measurement system. A shawl or scarf requires far too many inches to be complete to make two inches seem like much to crow about. Therefore, I have made use of our red couch-o-meter (or sofa-o-meter, depending upon your region of upbringing).

Three couch-cushions and your scarf is complete! 3.5 cushions makes a shawl!


Almost 2 complete sofa cushions of Aran Pocket Shawl knit! The chevron scarf isn’t so far along, but it is much narrower, so it may catch up. Can we stand the suspense?! Has putting in 12 hours of work today made me silly?! Is the damage permanent?! Can I relearn ending a sentence with only one punctuation mark?!

Tune in later this week…!

WIP Revisited

“I may not be multi-colored, cabled or lace, but I still think I am a good knit.” Aran Pocket Shawl

Poor intermittent WIP! How low its self-esteem has sunk since I started it last November. I’d pick it up every once in a while, knit a half-repeat and then put it back down. It watched from its basket as other WIPs became FOs and never complained. But it is a good knit. The Berocco Ultra Alpaca is softer than just wool, but still has a lot of sproinginess, which I don’t usually find in alpaca. The stitch pattern is pleasant to knit, easy to memorize, but not boring. It is now over a third complete and is over 2 feet long unblocked. In the photo above it is basking in the last rays of the setting sun on a maple log M just split for firewood next autumn. I think this WIP has ripened, because I want to get it done. It was fine as an intermittent WIP for quite a while, but now I hear it calling whenever I knit. This may be due to the sock fiasco of last weekend, which is still too painful to write of in detail (so many high hopes dashed on the rocks of gauge!), but it may also just be that it is this knit’s time. Does it really matter?

Yesterday evening after some brief late afternoon showers, the sunset was very grand. I had a meeting in a neighboring town, and as I drove north, I kept glancing at the sun and clouds mentally kicking myself for not having the camera with me. Then I thought to call M, and he kindly took this photo.


Happy Knitting!