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October 2017 Guest Speaker - Mindy from Raven Knits Design

Alexis Hoy

The temperature is starting to dip to normal fall levels, and it was perfect timing to welcome Mindy from Raven Knits Design to Yarn Club this month for a talk all about shawls.

You can find more information about Mindy's patterns on Ravelry, where she maintains a Ravelry group called the Raven's Nest. If you're new to groups on Ravelry, be warned that this group can get quite heated in their discussions, but everyone is welcome.

Mindy also mentioned her involvement with the Indie Design 2017 Gift-A-Long, where you can score a great deal on independently designed patterns. New to the idea of a Gift-A-Long? Check out the FAQ page for more information. The action starts November 21 and goes right through December 31 - plenty of time to bang out a few holiday projects.

While listening to Mindy's talk, I had a few highlights I wanted to share about what I learned:

  • A bowed triangular shawl is called "heart shaped", and it's a lovely thing that will prevent the bunching up of the shawl at the back of your neck.
  • A broad centre panel to your triangular shawl makes for a more flattering shape. There will be no "arrow" point of the shawl, pointing directly to your bottom. Here's a great example from Mindy's pattern collection, this is Stone Serpent:

Stone Serpent, photo via Raven Knits Design, Ravelry

  • And possibly my most favourite thing from Mindy's talk was the Sontag shawl, which isn't a particular pattern, but rather a style of wearing your shawl. Mindy demonstrated this with one of her favourite shawls. She said this is how she wears her shawls at home as an extra layer, and her arms are free to move around while she's knitting or doing the dishes. This requires longer ends for your triangular shawl, so the ends can wrap around you and tie in the back. Mindy's rule of thumb is a shawl that is as wide as your arm span (or longer!). Mindy has a page on Ravelry for her triangular and Sontag shawl designs if you're looking for a pattern.

Image result for sontag shawlPhoto via Joy Melcher,

Here's a great example from Ravelry:

Kay's Tess D'Urbervilles Shawl, photo via Kay Meadors, Ravelry

  • For blocking your shawls, do as Mindy does and stretch the heck out of them! You want the lacework to open up, so don't be timid about pulling on those pins and blocking wires.

Tiliacaea, photo via Raven Knits Design, Ravelry

  • Worried about how much yarn your triangular shawl is going to eat up? Tired of playing yarn chicken? Mindy gave us some helpful pointers on the math involved in a triangular shawl, and to make your life easier, there's a spreadsheet for that! Check out Rose-Kim Knits and download the Shawl Progress Calculator (link on the right side).
  • For anyone looking for your own round shawl pin like the one Mindy used in her demonstrations, search for a "penannular shawl pin" the next time you're at a show or shop. I found a few beautiful examples with a quick search on Etsy.

Mindy kindly set up a discount offer for her patterns for Yarn Club members. Check your inbox for a special email with the promotion code, valid until November 5.

Thank you again to Mindy for sharing her passion for shawls with us!

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