Venation Shawl

Sometimes one eschews the pressure to create. One simply wants to “make”. Preferably while sitting on one’s front porch in the mellow Autumn sunshine watching the birds.

That’s a reaction to a lot of things.  In this case I put it down to isolation due to COVID-19 and my severance from the usual stimulus of friends.

It’s Monday (20 April 2020) and I want a sort of instant project. I look in my files and see I have purchased and downloaded a pattern from Ravelry. It’s the Venation Shawl by Ambah O’Brien (https://ambah.co). I liked it because it looked simple to knit while being very drapey and light.  I live in the relatively warm west of Australia so my knits need to be not too heavy.

https://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/venation-shawl

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As it happens, I had also bought some time ago a box of fingering weight pure merino yarn from Canada called Koigu Pencil Box. Spotting it on a walk through my studio, it seemed ideal, notwithstanding the fact that its yellows are not part of my personal palette.

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So  I decided to leap straight into making up Ambah’s Venation scarf with the Koigu box.

First, of course I had to turn the mini skeins into balls:

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20200420_220733Then I rearranged the balls into my desired shading order:

20200420_221924I am a relatively loose knitter so I decided to use a circular 3.5mm needle rather than the recommended 3.75mm needle.  I did not do a tension test as I rely on my own judgement and, besides, a wrap’s dimensions are not as critical as those of a worn garment.

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After two days I was on my second colour exchange and enjoying the ease of the instructions.

Thereafter progress was simple. At this point I must praise Ambah O’Brien for the clarity of her instructions. As an example: when doing a recent Stephen West project I came across the instruction “ssk”.

Stephen West’s instructions for “ssk” in his pattern Marled Magic Shawl were simply “ssk: slip slip knit ” where Ambah O’Brien says “ssk: slip, slip, knit. Slip the first stitch as if to knit, slip the second stitch as if to knit, then slide the left needle into the front part of both stitches and knit them together”. While making the Marled Magic Shawl I could see that slipping two stitches then knitting the next as implied by Stephen West’s pattern was not going to end well. However, it took my friend Liz, sitting in a cancer chemo centre, to tell me what I should do.  That was lucky.  If Liz had not been there I would have probably had to trash the whole project.

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It’s now 8 May 2020. Australia is doing very very well so far in managing COVID-19.  Today our new COVID- 19 institution, called the “National Cabinet” and composed of our 8 State and Territory Premiers and Chief Officers and the Prime Minister, agreed to a staged and careful relaxing of our social restrictions and a reopening of businesses and other public places.

So since I have been steadily working a bit each day on the Venation Shawl, it seems appropriate that today I finished it.  Of course, it’s not yet blocked so officially it’s still a newborn. But I’m pleased with the marriage of the pattern and the yarn.

Here’s what I have left so there is another project or project element waiting….the weight of these leftovers is 108g so I used 250-108= 142g of the yarn. Below that is the unblocked scarf.

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20200508_184454Here, on 12 May, is the fully blocked scarf.  I’m pleased.  I hope whoever gets it will be too!

Ford Venation wrap after blocking

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