Fresh off the needles: Melanie Berg’s Nangou Shawl

September 14, 2016

As a new knitter, I was looking for a simple project to work on that would boost my confidence by being easy, yet would still result in a beautiful piece of work when done. I found out about Melanie Berg on Ravelry. She makes the most beautiful patterns for knit shawls and her Nangou pattern is made with only knit stitches. That sounded perfect for me!

Pattern: Nangou
Needles: US 6 – 4.0mm with 40 inch cable
Yarn: Sublime Yarns Baby Cashmere Merino Silk 4 ply – 3 balls Huggles, 1 ball White

I started this project sometime in April. And it was working up great. But towards a point in the middle of my shawl, the rows were starting to get super long, progress was sluggish, and it felt like I would never be able to finish. Damn you, skinny yarns! I was discouraging myself by looking too far ahead at the distant finish line. I needed a break. So I put her away in my ottoman for nearly 2 months until I participated in a local yarn crawl, when the inspiration to start back up and finish came back.

Once that happened, finishing took about 2 weeks. I ended up needing an extra ball of the main color so I ordered that from Jimmy Beans Wool.

There were about 4 times in the making of this shawl where I genuinely thought I was doomed to frog the entire project due to dropping a stitch here and there, trying to fix it, and making it worse. Another time was when the yarn in the ball had been cut and knotted halfway through a row and I had to try and fix it which ended in another frogging disaster. I cried a few times, watched countless YouTube tutorials, and almost took my botched up shawl to my local yarn store for help. Can you imagine? I’m sure they see stuff like that all the time, people walking in red faced and teary, holding out their ruined WIP, weeping ‘help me! help me!’ But what I ended up doing instead, was frogging my work until I got to the row before the error, without a lifeline, and re-threaded the loops back on my needles very very carefully. That was so scary! I don’t recommend it. But I went into it accepting the fact that this might very well be the end and I was ok with it. I didn’t want to make a lifeline because I just couldn’t stand to watch one more video tutorial, and I had a few wonky stitches with increases where I had no idea where to thread in my lifeline. So I just yanked it out.

I finished off with a stretchy bind off and after soaking and blocking, the shawl grew in size and settled into a perfect shape. It also became nice and slinky too, which I love. Blocking is like magic, I tell you.

Anyway, despite the scares and extremely long time it took to finish, I am completely in love with it! I can’t wait until it gets cooler out so I can wear it. My next knit project is going to be another Melanie Berg shawl called Solaris.

I’m still pretty terrible at color changes and weaving in the ends of these color changes. I wish videos would actually cover that. I still have yet to find one that goes over HOW to weave in the yarn from the color change. Because it looks all uneven when you get close up. Regardless, I’m happy with the outcome.

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