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My thumb’s officially up

After about a year of preparation, I’m ready to hit the road, thumb outstretched.

Yep. My Hitchhiker shawl is done!

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My taking so long to complete it was purely a function of slow knitting and lots of distraction between stitches. The project itself was a ton of fun to make.

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The yarn is SMC Select (Schachenmayr) Highland Alpaca Fino, a 50/50 alpaca-merino that I picked up for a song several years ago and had absolutely no plans for until I saw everyone blogging about the Hitchhiker pattern. Apparently this yarn is now sold under a different name/label, so I guess I must have gotten it so cheap because it was pre-rebranding clearance stock. All I can say is, Lucky me! Because this yarn is wonderful. It’s soft and light and delicate looking, yet practical, too–it’s warm enough to make this shawl something I will be very glad to wear in cooler weather.

The beads are plain glass, some leftovers from a scarf I made as a retirement gift for a favorite aunt a few years ago. I put one at the beginning and another five stitches in on the last row of each pattern repeat, then placed one also every five stitches along the bind-off. The result is beads only along the saw-tooth and smooth lower edges, with none on the edge that would lie against my neck when I’m wearing it. (Yay.)

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Beading was a learning experience. I strung the beads first and moved them into position as necessary–which actually is part of what slowed down the knitting. Those beads-in-waiting put significant weight on the working yarn. It was only when I reached the last few pattern repeats (read: much too late!) that I chanced upon a blog post that described the crochet method of adding beads to knitting.

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I’m a crocheter. I’ve added miscellaneous items to my crocheting plenty of times before. I don’t know why it never occurred to me that this would work for beads, too…but I assure you I will be using that method next time! Lesson learned.

Another a-ha from this project: blocking isn’t always a trial. Honestly, I generally avoid blocking whenever possible, but it was clear this project could never reach its full glory without it. I scheduled the blocking for a night I knew the family wouldn’t be gathered around my house’s only large enough surface, the dining room table, for supper. And I prepared for a long, long wait because that’s just how blocking goes in a humid climate.

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But Surprise! Less than 24 hours later, it was done. Turns out this lightly spun yarn lets go of moisture fast! (I actually have another project blocking right now…done in cotton…and it’s on…snore… Day 3…and still not dry…) So while I won’t necessarily jump for joy at the prospect of blocking next time I use this yarn, I won’t dread it, either.

I’m just so pleased with how the whole thing turned out.

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Which of your finishes most thrill you, friends? Tell about them!

Categories: Regular Project

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Annie

A wife and mom, a worker bee, a churchwoman, a reader, and a crafter. What more is there to know? :)

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