Choosing Yarn for Your Dragonfruit Shawl

Dragonfruit Shawl Collage

When I invited the Dragonfruit Shawl testers to share their yarn choices, I was amazed by the variety of yarns and color combinations that poured in. Some posted pictures of gorgeous gradients, others chimed in with solid and slow-color-change and self-striping yarns, and still others showed off combinations of yarns from all categories.

Altogether, my 26 inventive testers used over 30 different yarns to create their shawls. I hope the gallery of possibilities below inspires you when choosing yarn for your own Dragonfruit Shawl. With so many possibilities, you can make this shawl over and over again with a different look each time.

The Backstory Behind the Original Yarn: Jazz Handz Fusion Fiber

Two of my testers, MrsMcD918 and nikkifox81, also used Jazz Handz for their Dragonfruit Shawls. Coincidentally, they both used the same colorway, Rainbow Sherbet.

Jazz Handz Fusion Fiber, created by the wonderfully sweet Susan Herkness, inspired and motivated me when working on the Dragonfruit design. When I received my very first cake of Jazz Handz, which I had ordered in the Bird of Paradise III colorway as a birthday present to myself, I had a vision of it worked up as a richly textured crescent shawl.

On fire with inspiration, I set to work to create my dream shawl. Hesitant to use such a gorgeous yarn for mere prototypes and possible failures, I used other yarns to experiment with textures and shaping techniques. These efforts, however, were largely unfruitful. Months of swatching and dreaming failed to produce anything close to the shawl I had imagined.

Disheartened, I unwrapped the gorgeous cake of Jazz Handz once more from its carefully wrapped swaddle of tissue paper. I suddenly felt an urge to work with it, to feel it running through my hands and over my hook, to watch with delight and suspense as the colors changed. After an argument with my perfectionist side, which advocated for perfecting the design in a different yarn first, I picked up my hook and began to crochet with it.

My first attempt was far from perfect, and my perfectionist side had cause to gloat as I regretfully unraveled several rows and rewound the yarn around the outside of the center-pull cake. The yarn was resilient, however. It looked none the worse from being frogged, and I realized that I, too, was none the worse for having tried.

In fact, I was better off. I had become acquainted with the feel of the yarn, and seen it worked up, and thus I had a better intuition for which textures would suit it best. Not only this, but in returning to the yarn, my original source of inspiration, I had rekindled my passion and excitement for my quest. Hook in hand, I picked up the yarn with renewed energy and confidence.

At the end of a few more days, which passed not without some frogging and frustration, my dream shawl was complete, and I felt the exhilaration that only comes after surmounting a difficult challenge. I couldn’t wait to share the newly born Dragonfruit Shawl.

To learn more about Susan Herkness and her wonderful yarn Jazz Handz Fusion Fiber, check out my interview with her here.

Inspired to make your own Dragonfruit Shawl in Jazz Handz yarn? Click here to visit the Jazz Handz Etsy shop.

Other Yarn Choices

Gradient

Gradient yarns were a popular choice among testers because the pattern is easily modified to use an entire skein or gradient set. With Dragonfruit, you don’t have to worry about any colors going to waste.

Solids

Dragonfruit also looks well in solid-colored yarns. Whether you make it monochrome or use a different color for each panel, solid colors show off the contrast between each panel of texture and the intricate edging.

Slow-Color-Change and Self-Striping

The stitch patterns of each panel help blend the transitions of both self-striping yarns and slow-color-change yarns such as Knit Picks Chroma and Red Heart Boutique Unforgettable.

Variegated, Semisolid, and Combination

Dragonfruit is a great stashbuster shawl! Those beautiful but often tricky-to-use skeins of variegated yarn can be used by themselves or paired with coordinating solids and tonals.

Ready to make your own Dragonfruit Shawl? Click here to buy it on Ravelry.

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Nymphadora Tonks Shawl

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I could probably fill a laundry basket with all of my current crochet works in progress, but this week my Jazz Handz Fusion Fiber was just begging to be made into a crescent shawl.

I didn’t resist. After all, I was feeling somewhat burnt out after the busy holiday season and I knew that making a shawl for myself would revive my crochet mojo.

I decided to use Michele DuNaier’s Mine Once More pattern, which I had used before to make Le Châle Gris.  I set to work on Thursday and within the afternoon, I had already finished the first section.

Nymphadora Tonks in progress

This project was addicting. Once I started a section, I didn’t want to stop until I’d finished the section. By the time I finished the section, I’d be right in the middle of a color change, and of course I had to keep going until I reached the next color. By Friday night, I had already reached the start of the transition to black.

color changes

On Saturday, I finished it! I named it after Nymphadora Tonks from the Harry Potter books because the colors remind me of her.

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Love the yarn? Check out my previous post here to learn all about its maker and find out where to buy your own!

30 Day Blogging Challenge Recap

I’ve finished my 30 day challenge!

At the beginning of 2015, I made a goal to blog at least once a week. Since I only blogged 8 times by halfway through the year, I challenged myself to write a blog post every day for 30 days.

I kept my resolution for 16 days, but missed the 17th day because I didn’t plan ahead. To make up for it, I decided to end the challenge one day later. By the end of the month, I had missed 4 days. Nonetheless, this challenge taught me to commit to writing blog posts.

My 30 day challenge also helped me develop some regular post themes! Going forward, these regular posts will include my Tuesday Bam Bam and Karissa feature as well as designer interviews every other Thursday.

If you would like to see the posts from my blogging challenge, I’ve added a gallery below featuring pictures from those posts. Click on a picture to see the corresponding post.

Tom Baker Fingerless GlovesRandom WIP Royal Crescent WIP - Knot Theorist Comet WIP - Knot Theorist   Tanja Osswald's Igel - Knot Theorist Comet by Tanja Osswald - Knot Theorist  Fibonacci's Biased Scarf - Knot Theorist     Vest for a Thlee Year Old      Grey Swatch - Knot Theorist RollingAlpaca

Bam BamRoyal Crescent Shawl - Knot TheoristLe Chale Gris - Knot TheoristBowties: Crimp, Dowlas, and Jagged Checks

Dedri Uys' Gregor the Rhinosaur - Knot TheoristStreak Bow Tie - Knot TheoristName the Bow Tie - Knot TheoristMy First Garment - Knot TheoristTitan TopRuby Pullover - Knot Theorist

Ruby Pullover

Jewel

In contrast to my Titan Top, which is a warm-weather garment, this pullover is meant for the cooler seasons. My Ruby Pullover, made from Doris Chan’s design Jewel, was one of my first top-down sweaters.

Also unlike my Titan Top, Ruby has seen little wear. One reason for this is the yarn I chose: Simply Soft, which is a 100% acrylic worsted weight yarn. The solid stitch pattern combined with the heavy weight of the yarn made Ruby bulky, and the acrylic content caused a lack of drape.

Another reason I don’t wear Ruby as much as my other garments is the fit. Since I was still relatively new to crocheting when I made it, I was nervous to add waist shaping, so I worked the garment straight down from the chest. Unsurprisingly, the finished garment lacked shape.

In summary, Ruby had no drape and no shape. If I were to make another project from the same pattern, I would likely choose sport weight yarn instead of worsted, and crochet it at a looser gauge. I would also look for a cotton or linen fiber content rather than pure acrylic. Finally, I would add waist shaping and be sure to try it on as I go to check the fit.

Ruby may not be the most successful of my crochet projects, but by making it, I learned about gauge, drape, fiber content, and shaping. Have you ever crocheted a project you weren’t thrilled with? What did it teach you? Please comment below and let me know.

My Titan Top

Titan Top

Soon after crocheting my first garment, I came across Doris Chan’s wonderful book Convertible Crochet, which is full of garment designs made from join-as-you-go motifs.

Have I mentioned before how much I admire Doris Chan? I love how her patterns are written just like computer code. For example, in the beginning of a sweater pattern, she gives definitions not just for special stitches, but for regular rounds and increase rounds.These definitions act as methods or functions would in a computer program.

Then, in the body of the pattern, she specifies which rounds to work and the number of times to repeat them, similar to calling functions in the body of a computer program. This clever method of pattern-writing is very logical and concise. It is especially useful for garment patterns written in multiple sizes, since each size has different overall instructions but uses the same “functions”, so to speak.

Let’s get back to my story. I had never made a motif-based project before, and I was somewhat hesitant to make one because of all the yarn ends I would have to sew in. Doris Chan’s designs were so beautiful, however, that I just had to try one. I started a Titan Top using Cotton-ish, one of my favorite yarns.

I quickly found one useful thing about motif-based patterns: motifs make excellent gauge swatches which can be used in the final project if they come out the right size. I also found that finishing a motif felt much more satisfactory than, say, finishing a round in a top-down sweater, probably because it gave me a greater feeling of progress.

Making motifs swiftly became an addiction: once I started a round of motifs, I couldn’t wait to finish it. Attaching the motifs was like putting together the pieces of a puzzle, and it gave me a sense of accomplishment. Soon enough, I had finished the pattern.

The top, however, was too short for my taste. To rectify this, I made some modifications. So far, the pattern had used only pentagonal and hexagonal motifs. I wanted square ones to add length to the top, so I studied the stitch patterns of the 5 and 6-pointed motifs and modified the stitch counts and increases to create the shape I wanted.

After making and attaching six of my squares, I added the finishing touches: the armbands, the neck band, and the bottom band, which added structure to the unattached sides of the motifs.

I was very pleased with my finished Titan Top, especially since I achieved the look I wanted through my own modifications. Now that I design my own patterns, modifications are not a big deal to me, but in my first year of crochet, it was something to be proud of.

Of course, the best thing about my Titan Top is that it goes very well with dark jeans and a black t-shirt. 🙂

5 Ways to Wear a Crescent Shawl

Knot Theorist: How to wear a crescent shawl

Do you love the look of crescent shawls, but aren’t sure how to wear them? These shawls are actually incredibly versatile accessories! Here are 5 different ways I wear my crescent shawls.

The shawl I used in this photo shoot is Royal Crescent, which was made from Michele DuNaier’s Crescent Queen pattern. My Royal Crescent counts as my fourth WIP this month! One more to go…

1. Capelet

How to wear a crescent shawl: Capelet StyleHow to wear a crescent shawl: Capelet Style

2. Ruffle Scarf

How to wear a crescent shawl: Ruffle Scarf Style

3. Bolero

How to wear a crescent shawl: bolero styleHow to wear a crescent shawl: bolero style - back

4. Front Bow

How to wear a crescent shawl: front bow style

5. Side Bow

How to wear a crescent shawl: side bow style

 

If you like what you’ve read, please like, comment, and subscribe. Thank you!

Le Châle Gris

Knot Theorist crochet shawl: Le Chale Gris

Le châle gris is the most beautiful thing I have ever made. I could look at it all day.

I made it from the pattern Mine Once More by Michele DuNaier, a wonderful designer with many beautiful shawl designs. The pattern was both written and charted, and the instructions were easy to follow, which is part of the reason I loved making this shawl so much.

Another reason I adore this shawl was that it took only one ball of yarn to make! Yes, one three-dollar ball of Woolike fingering yarn for a full-size shawl.

I also greatly appreciate that it’s durable and doesn’t require much maintenance. The photo above shows it after months of wear. It’s gotten accidentally thrown in the washer once or twice, and it still looks amazing. And it’s only been blocked once – I steam blocked it lightly before its first wear. These shawls would definitely make great gifts – if you’re willing to part with them. 🙂

Why the French name? I can’t spell it out, but this shawl reminds me of France. Perhaps it’s the romantic lacy picot edging. Or maybe it’s the satiny grey color against the beige stucco. What do you think?

Rainbow Road Scarf

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A Hobby Lobby store recently opened in my town, so I’ve been having fun trying some new (to me) yarns! My latest creation, the Rainbow Road Scarf, was made from Yarn Bee Diva Sequin in the beautiful Bali colorway.

I used the free pattern Faux Broomstick Lace Infinity Scarf by Kate Cannon. At first glance, the pattern only gives instructions for a simple single crochet scarf. But the twist is in the gauge: the pattern uses a P (15.00 mm) hook with a worsted weight yarn! The broomstick lace effect is created by stretching the scarf when it is completed.

I didn’t have a P hook, so I used the largest hook I had: L. Straight off the hook, the fabric looked as it did below. The scarf was 6″ wide and 39″ long.

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The picture below shows the fabric as I began to stretch it. After being fully stretched, the scarf was 4.5″ wide and 58″ long! Just for good measure, I steam blocked the scarf. The final dimensions were 4″ by 72″. It grew impressively, considering I went down 4 hook sizes. It doesn’t quite have a broomstick lace effect, but the beautiful colors stand on their own.

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Fibonacci’s Biased Scarf

FibonacciScarf

This scarf is totally biased. That’s not to say that it’s prejudiced, but that it was worked in the diagonal direction of the cloth.

My project was made from Julie Blagojevich’s free pattern Fibonacci’s Biased using Knit Picks Curio. The number of rows in each stripe is according to the numbers of the Fibonacci sequence up to 34. In other words, if you start at the blue side of the scarf and work your way right, the sequence of the number of yellow rows is 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, 34. The sequence of the blue stripes are the same, but in the opposite direction. The effect is a rotationally symmetric scarf with few color changes at the edges and frequent color changes in the center. As I frequently tell my friends, math is beautiful.

If my geekiness hasn’t scared you away yet, here’s a random fun fact: my project was the 42nd one of this pattern to be posted on Ravelry! And as the computer Deep Thought so famously stated in The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, 42 is the answer to the ultimate question of life, the universe, and everything.