Based on a True Sweater

Dec. 21, 2006

Tasty Pineapples

Rowanspun Pineapple Stole

I finished a couple of crochet projects recently. I know I haven't shown any finished projects in a very long time, but believe it, folks: I do still make things with yarn! Both projects incorporate the crocheted pineapple motif, which I'm finding to be a bit of an addiction. All photos are clickable.

The first is a wrap I made from this pattern, using Rowanspun DK in Rush. I changed the border slightly; I started each row with ch 4, resulting in the loops (blocked into points) along each edge.

Rowanspun Pineapple Stole

I made this for my aunt, as part of a trade; she gave me her Serger, and I made her two shawls. I've already sent her the first one, I'll see if I can get a photo of it when I see her at Christmas. It's quite different from this one; it's a small triangular piece, made from gold-coloured hemp yarn and wooden beads.

Rowanspun Pineapple Stole

Rowanspun DK is one of my favourite yarns for both knitting and crochet, and it makes unbelievably beautiful lace. It blocks into a fabric that looks lightly felted and has an incredible drape. I have read complaints about this yarn, and it's true that it is idiosyncratic. It breaks easily and should not be used for seaming, though I have never had breakage problems while knitting or crocheting with it. It also has a different drape from many other wool yarns; a fabric made from Rowanspun DK will not have the elastic reslilience that most other knitted or crocheted wool fabrics will. Its ribbing will not pull in in the same way, for example; it will hang more like this. However, it is extremely light and soft, and I find it luxuriously comfortable to wear. It is dramatically transformed by blocking, so if you're experimenting with this yarn and are initially unhappy with your swatch, be sure to wet-block it before you decide you don't like it.

Rowanspun Pineapple Stole

I absolutely love how this wrap turned out. I need to make one for myself, using the same yarn. I will refrain from showing you how large my Rowanspun stash is. The whole line was discontinued several years ago, so I've been stockpiling it in all four weights. Ahem.

Rowanspun Pineapple Stole

And now, on to the monster shawl.
Several years ago, my Dad was in Scotland with some friends, and I asked him to bring me back yarn (of course). He brought back three 400g skeins of Sirdar Aran with Wool in cream. Now, I don't often work with acrylic blends, and I look awful in cream, but I really do like the yarn (and my Dad had a hell of a time finding it). I started at least 10 different sweater projects with it before figuring out that a) I'd prefer to crochet it than knit it, and b) I didn't want it to be a sweater. It seemed, though, that it would be perfect for a home decor project, which is not the sort of project I am usually attracted to.

Monster Pineapple Shawl

I'd been wanting to explore the pineapple motif since I first learned to crochet, and when I found this pattern, I knew I'd found the right project for my poor, oft-ripped yarn. I initially made the largest size, resulting in a shawl that was about 10' across the top edge. I was thrilled with how it was turning out. It was a bizarre fantasy object, monstrous and absurd. I thought it would live on our big black couch, look odd and pretty, and serving as a 2-person movie-watching couch afghan. Despite my frequent checking and calculating, I ran out of yarn.

I thought about making something else... the thought of starting the same shawl again made me want to tear out my hair. I've so patiently been growing my hair out, that would have been a shame. But after looking around I realized that really, this project was the right one. So after a break, I started the smallest size. (I could have made the second-largest size, there was enough yarn, but I just couldn't face those long, long rows again.) I unravelled directly from the first shawl as I made the second.

Monster Pineapple Shawl

It was worth making twice. I am so happy with how it turned out (though the photos aren't that good). I am still tickled with the idea of a lace-shawl-afghan, even if it is now a more suitable size for watching a movie alone. And the best part is, when my folks visit us for New Year's, I will be able to show my Dad what I did with the yarn he bought me.

I thought I was going to write a rant about how very annoying and stupid that whole knitting-snob anti-crochet bullshit is, but I think this entry is long enough, and I don't really feel very ranty any more. Behold the beauty of well-blocked lacy crochet in Rowanspun DK. I think it speaks for itself.


At 5:56 a.m., Blogger Lolly said...

I adore that crocheted shawl - such a wonderful look to the lace, and the yarn gives it such a texture. I really like it.

Would love to hear that rant about crochet and knitting snobs - I want to learn more about crochet!

At 9:56 a.m., Anonymous Wendy said...

They look amazing!

At 9:56 a.m., Blogger kat coyle said...

Tasty indeed! These are fantastic.

At 10:04 a.m., Anonymous Rachael said...

Oh my gosh! I didn't know you did knitting/crochet! ;)

These are wonderful. I'm glad I get to be there when you give your aunt the shawl.

At 1:36 p.m., Anonymous sivia said...

Your work looks so much better than the patterns themselves... I am amazed by the transformation of these pieces with better yarn! The pineapples remind me of old metal grillework. Ornate and so beautiful. You do marvelous things with crochet. Don't ever stop. One of these days I promise I will give it a try, and it will prob be your felted trellis scarf.

At 2:31 p.m., Blogger Nadia said...

I love the pineapples! You're inspiring me to finish my crocheting projects.

At 3:07 p.m., Blogger Ann said...

Wowee wowee! Prettiest crocheted ANYthing I've ever seen--both of those pieces. What beautiful work you did!

Way to go!

At 1:51 p.m., Blogger knitty_kat said...

ok, I'm a goof. When I read rowanspun I got so excited I didn't read the rest of the post.
I HAVE SOME (dk)! I want to make something - what can you suggest for 2 skeins in orange and 7 in dark grey?!

At 8:46 p.m., Blogger Karen said...

wow...gorgeous mandy...i've been trying to board the crochet bandwagon for awhile and this might just be the clincher that pushes me into it...so lovely!

and merry christmas/happy new year/etc. etc. from the matt-karen machine

At 7:10 p.m., Anonymous may said...

wow...i've never been able to do anything like that with crochet! beautiful!

At 8:21 a.m., Blogger Jennifer said...

Mandy, your work is beautiful. I have not learned to crochet, but the pineapple motifs have always been attractive to me. I love the soft undulations of the main part of the shawl for your aunt.

At 7:19 a.m., Blogger THE KNITORIOUS MRS. B said...


Linked from yarnstorm this morning. Finishing my latest Ballband now by crocheting tidy edges along the sides. Knit and crochet-perfect together!


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