A knot in Scheepjes Whirl and I have a meltdown
People have been going nuts about the uber long graduations of Scheepjes Whirls and what you can make with them. So much so I’ve finally succumbed and started knitting one up into a shawl. My pattern of choice for this being a Stormy Sky Shawl, by Life is Cozy in the Lavenderlicious colourway.
Now I love shawls, but I love them to be wrap-aroundable, snuggleable, around my neck and dangling down the front rather than draped over my shoulders. I guess I wear them more like huge scarfs than anything else so prefer patterns that work with that sort of styling. Much as I admire beautiful large intricate patterns they tend to be wasted as you can never see the decorative patterns once I put them on. So I was looking for something appropriate which would also fall into the ‘TV Knitting’ style of pattern. If I’m honest, most of my knitting is done on the sofa with one eye on the TV and one ear listening to any conversation from my husband. So I don’t really want a complicated pattern most of the time, enough variation to keep my interest but easy enough to go onto autopilot as well. Enter the Stormy Sky Shawl by Life is Cozy. It’s a free pattern which you can find online here.
Yarn wise I had a ball of Scheepjies Whirl in the Lavenderlicious in the stash which was bought as a treat to cheer me up a while ago. It had been waiting there for the right project to come along and what better than a pretty shawl. I had reservations about the yarn at the point of purchase because it’s a 60/40 blend of cotton and acrylic. I don’t knit with cotton much, in part because it doesn’t tend to suit most of my projects and in part because of environmental issues over its production (and the plants are often treated with a lot of pesticides). Although it’s a natural fibre its production involves a lot of water which is problematic in some parts of the world. As for the acrylic, that’s a bit more of a where do I start. Manmade from oil, it isn’t biodegradable, can release tiny plastic particles when washed and has even been linked to cancers. So given all of this, you might wonder why I’d knit with the yarn? Well, it was a gift, given with love and I’m striving to use up my stash and simply replacing with more environmental choices. Since I already had it, it was time to knit it.
The pattern is clear to follow and I jumped straight in, no need for a sizing swatch with a shawl after all. My tension is rather loose when it comes to knitting so I chose a 3mm circular needle even though the recommendation on the ball band was for larger needles. I always need to go down at least one size anyway. I love watching shawls take shape and grow. Sometimes it’s nice for a grand reveal at the end shaping wise but I rather enjoy watching them grow as you knit. This one is still growing. I’ve been knitting it a little each evening for a couple of weeks along with a new pair of socks for his Knibbs, and I’m probably about halfway through the 1000m you get in each Scheepjes Whirl.
Thoughts so far? Well, I’m loving the colours and how they gradually change. Wasn’t loving the near fit I had when I read the ball band and saw a reference to knots. Honestly, I nearly went into a full blown hyperventilating meltdown. I’ve very aware that knots in yarn is a first world problem but I really wasn’t expecting it given how people rave about this yarn. Fortunately, the wonderful knitters of the internet calmed me down, explaining they were more like russian joins and not an issue. Took me a while to reach the first one but when I did I was reassured even further when it was exactly how they’d described it and not a problem at all. With a smile on my face, I ploughed on only to be confronted by a proper knot. Yup, a real one. Cut off ends and everything! If you could have seen my face when I found it you’d have been able to stick in it the dictionary for the definition of an upset knitter.
So I guess you could say I’m loving the pattern, loving the colours but not loving the fibre and knot. Would I knit the pattern again? Absolutely! Would I buy another Sheepjes Whirl? No. To be fair the knot has only put me mildly off, it’s the fibre. If however, Sheepjes were to do a version without the acrylic and from organic cotton then absolutely. Or if they were to use some other more environmentally friendly yarn I’d definitely buy more. So come on Scheepjes, lets have some other yarns to play with and spend my money on. (I’ll add that I have contacted Scheepjes for more information about the yarn, its manufacture and the origin of the fibre, I’ll let you know when they get back to me and what they say).
If you’re interested in reading more about the environmental impact of different fibres I’d encourage you to do some research into the subject. To help here are a few links to get you started. I’m also planning a blog post and video vlog specifically on the subject at some point.
take care till next time…