Sonoma Shawl – A blocking confession

I just finished my Sonoma Shawl, and I can’t believe how fast it worked up after I mastered my puff stitches! Even though they were tricky at first, I kept plugging along because I loved the look of them so much. As I neared the middle point of my shawl (or what I estimated was the middle point), I realized that the puffs had been flying off my hook almost as quickly as the chains and double crochets!

Sonoma - getting thereAs my shawl grew, I took some time to admire the amazing softness of the superwash merino wool. I couldn’t wait to wear it, so I dedicated a couple of late nights to this project so I could enjoy it sooner.

The edging is quick and easy, but it really makes this shawl! Created with even more puff stitches, it highlights the texture and beauty of the entire design. When I finished up the border, it was time for me to block my shawl… This is where my confession comes in.

I know that blocking is absolutely necessary for some projects (and this is one of them), so you can open up lace patterns and really put the finishing touch on the design. However, I  refuse to buy blocking mats. Maybe I would buy them if I really needed them for a certain project, but they are rather pricey and I’ve found a makeshift solution that works great for me! Are you ready for it?

Sonoma - block see table
Don’t mind the toys under the table

I lay a folded fleece blanket over my dining room table, then cover it with a fitted crib sheet. It may not be the prettiest or most professional setup, but it works! I’ve blocked sweaters, scarves, and shawls on it, and it has never given me trouble.

Sonoma - block close upI used the quilted design to line up my shawl as I stretched and pinned it out to the measurements in the pattern (I do own my fair share of blocking pins – we can’t have rust!). There was a lot of wiggle room as I pinned my shawl. If you want your shawl to be deeper rather than wider, simply stretch and pin it to the measurements you desire.

After pinning, I sprayed it down with water and let it dry overnight before removing the pins. I noticed an immediate difference in the fabric after blocking it! The stitch pattern opened up brilliantly, and it drapes in such a beautiful way.

Sonoma - st patt
A close up of the stitch pattern

Sonoma - doneSince mornings are now a bit chilly here in Colorado, I’m wearing my shawl wrapped around my neck like a cowl. If it warms up this afternoon, which is very possible, I can drape it over my shoulders with the point in the back. Triangular shawls are so versatile!

Have you finished your Sonoma Shawl yet? If you weren’t able to crochet along with us, you can still grab a copy of Love of Crochet‘s Fall 2014 Issue and get started! We love seeing what you’re up to, so visit us on Facebook or Instagram and show us your shawls!

Sonoma Shawl Crochet Along – Third time’s a charm

After much deliberation, I decided to try the beautiful Sonoma Shawl with a smaller hook to try to get the correct gauge. My gauge was a bit looser than the pattern calls for, and I figured it would only grow when I blocked it. Since I kind of liked the fabric I created with my H hook, I used a new ball of yarn instead of unraveling it. I worked through row 10 with a G hook and compared my two “swatches” side by side. While the fabric I crocheted with an H was nice, the one made with a G is perfect! It matched the gauge of the original sample, and it looked a bit crisper and cleaner than the looser swatch.

Sonoma G hook
My trusty G hook

As I started this gorgeous pattern for the third time, I realized how much I love patterns that can work as their own gauge swatch. Just work to around row 10 so you can measure your gauge, and if you like it you can just keep on stitching!

Sonoma G hook close up
This stitch pattern is amazing!

By the way, I am head over heels for this stitch pattern! The puffs create a cool geometric design, and they give the fabric such a fun vibe. Now that I have my gauge down and I’m in the groove, I think this project will be smooth sailing from here on in.

How is your Sonoma Shawl coming along? Did you try out a couple hook sizes to get your gauge right, or did you love it the first time? Share pictures and stories with us here, on Facebook, or on Instagram! We love hearing how your projects are going, and we’re always here to help if you run into trouble.

Sonoma Shawl Crochet Along – Pesky puffs

I started my Sonoma Shawl on Friday the 19th – twice. This gorgeous accessory took me a couple tries to get going because I had some trouble with my puff stitches. However, I LOVE the textured look they create, so I was determined to get them right! After making a mess as I tried to work my first puff in row 3, I took a deep breath and decided to start again. After all, I wasn’t very far in. The second time, I pulled my loop up a little before beginning my puff, and this bit of slack made all the difference.

Here are a few photos of the puff stitch being worked in case it gives you the same trouble it gave me.

Sonoma begin puff

Slightly enlarge your loop before beginning your puff, then yarn over.

Sonoma puff 1

Continue following the instructions for this special abbreviation.

Sonoma puff

Yarn over and draw through all of the loops. You’ve made one puff stitch!

Sonoma H hook
Worked with an H hook

I began with an H hook, as suggested in the pattern, and the result is very pretty. However, after I got through row 10 of the pattern (during my second attempt), I measured my gauge and found that it’s a bit too loose. I’m currently trying to decide between continuing with my H hook or trying a smaller one. The fabric is beautiful as is, but the crisp stitch definition of the original sample is awfully tempting.

What would you do if you were me? Are you making the Sonoma Shawl too? You still have plenty of time to join us, and we’d love to see pictures of your work-in-progress! Share them with us on Facebook or Instagram so we can make this stunning fall accessory together!

Sonoma Shawl Crochet Along – Let’s get started!

I’m all set and ready to start my Sonoma Shawl! The puff stitches in this beautiful accessory give it such a wonderful texture, and I can’t wait to begin. I hope you’ll grab a copy of our Fall Issue and join me in making this fun project!

Sonoma cover yarn balls
This rich yellow reminds me of autumn leaves.

These 3 skeins of Lion Brand’s LB Collection Superwash Merino have been tempting me ever since I got them, so I’m excited to “dig in” to this soft yarn later this evening. While I love the luscious purple shawl featured in the magazine, I decided to go with the yummy Dijon color because it just screamed fall to me. This stunning yarn is also machine washable, which makes it ideal for those of us who love easy-care fibers.

Sonoma yarn balls
I can’t wait to get this soft yarn around my hook!

I’ll keep you posted on my progress, and we here at Love of Crochet are always happy to help if you encounter any questions or tricky parts. We’d love to see pictures of your Sonoma Shawl, so visit us on Facebook or Instagram and share your experience with us. Until then, happy crafting!