Small and bigger disasters


It took me about 2 weeks to knit my scarf in the Old Shale lacy pattern. I could only knit a few pattern repeats each day and since I wanted the scarf to be long, it seemed to last forever. But finally I made it!

As Anita pointed out on her blog, the Old Shale pattern is often mistaken with Feather and Fans lace stitch, but it’s not exactly the same. Since both of these are traditional Shetland patterns, I’m sticking to the correct names and call my scarf Old Shale Scarf. Here you can find a little more about the differences in these two stitches.

I used Debblie Bliss Rialto 4 ply for my scarf – I had a lot of this yarn left from my Walk Along top so I could knit a large, warm scarf to wrap it around my neck and feel warm and comfy even on the coldest winter days.

Once it was finally finished, it looked like this:

The pattern gave my scarf a nice “3-D” texture, and made it very squishy and warmer than it would have been knitted in a flat stitch like stockinette. Despite being quite bored  while knitting it, I loved the final result.

And then I decided to trust the label and machine wash it in 30 degrees Celsius. Which was definitely a mistake. When I’d taken it out of the laundry, it looked like in early stage of felting, it shrank, became flat and unpleasant in touch. I spent almost an hour stretching it, untangling the yarn when it was possible and generally trying to save it. Usually I’m not very worried when something like that happens – it’s only things after all, life goes on when they get damaged – but this time it made me really upset! Probably because I spent so much time knitting it and it used up over 600 metres of merino yarn, and also partly because I’m not in the best mood in general so I took it worse than I would have normally. Luckily though I managed to save it – the process of felting was just in the initial stage, so it wasn’t ruined completely. It’s just not as nice as it had been before, it still feels flat and less soft and squishy. Oh well…

Don’t mind the difference in colours, it’s caused by different light (the one on the right is very accurate). I’m also not sure if the flattened texture of the washed scarf (on the left) is visible on the photo in comparison to the pre-washed version (on the right). Maybe it needs to be touched to really feel how different it feels, but trust me, it really does feel different and it’s smaller than before.

I wonder what caused it? Is my washing machine simply not too reliable and not delicate enough on its “delicate” programme? Is it the lacy stitch that doesn’t take machine washing too well? Whatever it was, I’m not sure if I’ll ever risk the same again, even with superwash yarns.

Anyway, the scarf is ready, it’s still good enough to wear it, so with my last skein of Debbie Bliss I made the Azure Hat with mock cables. Such a lovely and easy pattern, I enjoy mock cables as they look great but don’t require cable needles so the work goes much faster. I started it slowly at first, but then yesterday hurricane Ophelia hit Ireland causing the lock-down of the country, so I took a break from work as well and spent the day knitting.

I’d just like to know how to make the tiny holes at the beginning of each new pattern repeat less visible…

This new set is going to replace the Bubblegum set in my wardrobe, because I gave it away for the charity auction. I am happy all in all, just regret damaging the softness of the scarf.

Other than that, life goes slowly over here. Moods are still low, and my Other Half has to go to Greece this week to be there with his parents. Things are bad with his Dad’s health and the only good thing is that he can work remotely from home when necessary, connecting with the work PC, so he’s able to stay there for some time when they need him the most.

It’s one of those times in life when I can really appreciate knitting and crochet as a source of comfort and escape – even if temporary – from life’s problems. Hope that everyone can find something like that!

21 thoughts on “Small and bigger disasters

  1. Hope your bf’s dad gets better soon! And hope you are safe, this is a hurricane in a long time, isn’t it?
    Despite the wash-time horrors, it seems like the scarf still looks and feels nice if you don’t compare it with its original state, so that’s a small solace! 😁 Never machine wash, I agree!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you Anita, we’re waiting for his biopsy results now so fingers crossed. And hurricane lasted 1 day only happily. It was worse in the south, here just like a strong wind. Scarf annoys me still 😐

      Liked by 1 person

      1. My thoughts are with you and yours. Glad to hear that the hurricane was not too strong.
        I’ve only found ‘prevention’ notes when I’ve looked for machine washing info, and never really ‘fixes’, so let’s hope that the scarf grows on you real soon. ☺

        Liked by 1 person

  2. You might can take a cable needle or a double pointed needle and work the stitches to close up your holes. You use the point of the needle to catch the yarn strand and pull it to make the hole smaller, then you pull the next stitch and the next stitch and gradually work out the slack in much the same way as you would work a snag back in. I do that a lot on flat pieces of knitting to make the last couple stitches at the end of the row more uniform.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Oh no I’m sorry about the scarf. I’ve only ever washed one of my makes in the washing machine, and that’s because it was an absolutely massive blanket and it would have taken me a week to handwash it. Everything else I do by hand because I’m so SO scared of spoiling it!
    It still looks really beautiful though and such a gorgeous colour 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Usually I also wash everything by hand and now I know for sure it’s the right way! Especially since the one time when I washed a rug and now it’s 5 times smaller so I never machine wash anymore. I thought I’d give it a try… never again 😕


  4. I love the Old Shale pattern! What a gorgeous scarf and hat. So sorry about the difficult times. Sending lots and lots of good thoughts your way.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. So sorry about the problems washing the scarf-it does still look amazing though! And I love the hat-the colour and stitch definition of the yarn is perfect for showing off those cables. I had actually admired the little holes at the edges of the cables as part of the design until I read your note, so even if they bother you, I think they’ll probably look like a design feature to everyone else when you wear it!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for your nice comment! The holes are part of the design- they are yarn overs- but they are bigger in first rows of pattern repeat than in any other row and that’s a little annoying. But not too much 😉

      Liked by 1 person

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