Friday, October 29, 2010


I thought I knew what the definition of Vortex was but went to this place to verify I knew what it meant. Here is what I found.

1. a whirling mass of water, esp. one in which a force of suction operates, as a whirlpool.
2. a whirling mass of air, esp. one in the form of a visible column or spiral, as a tornado.
3. a whirling mass of fire, flame, etc.
4. a state of affairs likened to a whirlpool for violent activity, irresistible force, etc.
5. something regarded as drawing into its powerful current everything that surrounds it: the vortex of war.
6. (in Cartesian philosophy) a rapid rotatory movement of cosmic matter about a center, regarded as accounting for the origin or phenomena of bodies or systems of bodies in space.

With all of those explanations I understand this pattern. It's the Vortex Shawl. When you look at the pattern you will see a few things. One, it's mostly the stockinette stitch with a few yarn overs thrown in to give it the "whirl" look. Two, it's so simple that most any advanced beginner can make this shawl. It truly looks harder than it really was. For me, understanding the directions was the hardest part. There were directions that didn't make sense to me and an error on the last row. It took a fellow knitter (thanks Ashley) to help me get through the directions. If I was going to stress anything about this pattern, it would be to use stitch markers as the directions say to. It will save you loads of heart ache later, ask me how I know...

The whole project from beginning to end took about five weeks. One of those weeks was my vacation in Seattle. I made the mistake of not taking this project with me for fear someone would take my needles and I would surely cause a scene at the airport. Addi Turbos are not cheap needles to be confiscated. I did not bring a SASE with me like a friend suggested. I would have been one very sad camper if they took my needles. Pulling the shawl with hundreds and hundreds of stitches would have just about killed me, so it stayed safely home.

The yarn is from Knit Picks and it's called Bare. This is an odd Bare because it has flecks of blue, red, yellow, and green. It's been discontinued so needing more was not an option. I used a size 7 needle with many different lengths as the shawl grew. I finished up with a 40 inch.

In the beginning, the pattern is a bit tricky but as it grows it gets easier and if you use the stitch markers like you are supposed to, you have very little to memorize. I didn't even print off the pattern.

Can you see what I mean about the beginning? It was a wee bit fiddly but I did manage to get it started. I think I took about three or four times and finally it took off.

Can you see the red, blue and yellow bits in the yarn? It's kind of an oatmeal color. The current Bare is pure white and is promoted by Knit Picks easy for dyeing. This is not the same stuff by far.

I was worried the shawl wasn't going to be large enough for me. When I washed it in the bathroom sink in the wool wash, it got to looking much larger than it was on the needles. Then I took it out and put it through the spin cycle in the washing machine and it got even larger.

It's too large. Look what I saw...
Yup, it doesn't fit on my 9 blocking squares. It sure doesn't fit on my dining room table either. See what's hanging over?? So I did not pin it down. Not enough surface space. I would have pinned it on to my bed but we have an air mattress bed so that won't work.
If you have read the Vortex pattern you know the edging is a picot edging with eight total stitches. I did not like the way that looked so I did mine with a total of four stitches. After doing it that way I could see the shawl was curling horribly. After it was washed, spun out and laid out, it didn't curl as badly as I thought it would.
All-in-all, I really enjoyed doing this very simple advanced beginner shawl. If you have a round dining room table and needle to table cloth, I think this could be done with a cotton of some sort. It would make a lovely gift.


Tina T-P said...

Wow! That is a beautiful shawl, and darn, I wish I'd known you were going to be in Seattle - I would have driven down to meet you for lunch or something -

Seattle is a pretty fun town - I'm impressed that you went all the way over to Port Orchard - looks like Debbie's shop is pretty cool though, and worth the trip. T.

Paula said...

Wow! That is amazing!!

vlb5757 said...

Tina-I didn't think about it until it was the second to the last day and I hated to intrude. The next time the we go out to Seattle, I will let you know in advance and make a trip to see the sheep and the lovely plants you show on the blog all the time. That would be such a treat for me.

Paula-Thanks! It was super easy. It was my "mindless" knitting project.

Tina T-P said...

That would be fun - and we even have a great LYS for you to visit up here!!

The yarn bowl for your friend's husband is really nice - I'm on the lookout for a crocheted yarn bowl pattern - I have been spinning some beautiful brown Icelandic/Alpaca blend up just for that project. T.

vlb5757 said...

Tina-There is a pattern on Ravelry for a crocheted yarn bowl. I made it but did not felt it. It went super fast and it's really a nice sized bowl.

I would love to come and see your fiber on the hoof! Maybe next year?