A new journey begins! Laura from Made in Oxford and I are going to be sharing our journey while we both work on the Freyja shawl by Aoibhe Ni. Everyone is invited to join us or to follow our progress through both our blogs, starting today with yarn choices and and introduction to the pattern and designer.
I wrote a post a while ago about Aoibhe Ni’s designs, her tunisian shawls are stunningly beautiful and I have already done three of them: Pax, De Dannan and Phoenix (in that order). She creates patterns so that you can use a normal crochet hook instead of a long tunisian hook and she has a unique way of writing her patterns and charts that I have not seen done by any other designer. Her construction is also quite unique and very different from the way I design my own tunisian patterns.
Even though I adore her patterns I am not that crazy about her charts and I do remember struggling with them quite a lot for Pax, which is the first pattern I tried since it is a free download on Ravelry. If you are thinking of working her designs I would actually advice not to work Pax first… in my opinion it was the hardest of the three I have tried. If I were to do it again I would work Phoenix first, then De Dannan and finally Pax. This is mostly because Pax has some quite confusing short rows that when worked in lace can drive you a bit crazy. I am afraid all my shawls were given away as presents for family members so don’t have any pictures but I really loved how they turned out, especially Phoenix, that one is my favourite so far.
So you may wonder why keep working on patterns if they sound that difficult? Well, they are really not that difficult once you get used to the charts (Phoenix was actually a breeze) and the finished object is so stunning that you forget how long you stared at that chart because at the end it was all so worth it.
I am not sure why but I believe crocheters don’t challenge themselves as much as knitters do. This is of course an absurd generalisation but all knitters I know are usually trying techniques like cables, short rows, steeking, lace, difficult cast ons, provisional cast ons and so much more. Now, I don’t knit so I can’t say I know what any of these things mean but I do know that they are considered difficult by knitters and that to me they look crazy difficult. When it comes to crocheters somehow I get the feeling we are not as brave, we stick to our double crochet and trebles, our granny squares and easy projects. I may be completely wrong but when I look at what is popular in Ravelry I don’t see many challenging techniques in the patterns that are “hot right now”. If you are trying to get out of your comfort zone and want to invest love and effort in creating something beautiful, I truly recommend tunisian crochet (check my Free Patterns page for a few of my own designs in this technique) and Aoibhe Ni’s designs. The amount of projects done with her patterns is proof that we can ALL work tunisian, we just need to give it a try!
Ok, so a bit more about the pattern. Freyja is a pattern classified as advanced in difficulty so it is definitely not one to try if you haven’t worked any Aoibhe Ni pattern before. Even if you know tunisian crochet her way of working it (and writing it in the pattern) is very unique so I would try something a bit easier first. It is worked sideways so it starts with a VERY long chain and then each row is worked perpendicular to this attached to each chain. We believe this first part will be quite a big challenge to get through, we will let you know how it goes!
About the yarn, I had picked Fyberspates Scrumptious Lace, even had it winded but I changed my mind over the weekend since this lace is very thin and not very bouncy. I believe this shawl would look better with something with a bit more air in it so I chose this Rooster Delightful Lace I purchased at the EYF, it is a blend of merino and silk and I think it will be perfect. The colour is called Machu Pichu and it is this really nice champagne colour which looks a bit pink depending on the light.
So all ready to go! Laura and I have our hooks ready and we will be back soon with an update on our progress 🙂