half-assed knit blog
half-assed knit blog
half-assed knit blog

FO: Onerva

It’s about time we had some hot hot FO action up in here.


This is a tale of a project that was destined to go horribly wrong.

I had never knit a shawl before.

Clearly, the perfect pattern to start with was a pattern written in Finnish, with only a few key words translated. A pattern that was obscure enough to be picked for an Obscuriosity KAL, meaning there were very few notes from people who had already made it.

Clearly, the perfect yarn to use was a skein that appeared to contain 78 grams of yarn from one dyelot, and 22 grams of yarn from a different one. Given that I had never tried to properly alternate yarns before, much less tried it in lacework.

So, it wasn’t surprising that the project turned out to be possibly my favourite FO ever.

… wait, what?


Pattern: Onerva
Yarn: Malabrigo Sock in Persia, 1 skein
Needles: US 4

Yeah, I’m not really sure how this one worked out, but now all I want to make, ever, is MOAR TRIANGULAR SHAWLS. I was worried that I would never wear it. This turned out to be a valid concern, except for the fact that I’ve been wearing it constantly. The way that it’s worn in the pic is my preferred method – point draped in front, ends brought around back, crossed, brought back to front and either tied under the point or left hanging, depending on how much time I want to spend yelling in my head, “WTF THE SHAWL IS FALLING OFF AGAIN?!” Which is to say, it looks better with ends hanging and doesn’t strangle me, but tying it is more practical.

Now let’s move on to today’s lesson: How Not To Fuck Up A Project Even Though Fucking Up Is A Near Certainty.

Problem: The pattern is in Finnish, the chart is confusing, and you have no idea what you’re doing.
Solution: Join a KAL with people who are less lazy than you.

The Obscuriosity KAL was extremely helpful, even though it was only a handful of people. Someone roughly translated the pattern, via internets and common sense. Other people reworked the charts to be clearer and shared their recharts. Once I got past the hump of “OMG WTF I don’t know what I’m doing halp”, the project was actually quite easy. The lace pattern was intuitive and could be memorized a little ways in.

Problem: Your skein of yarn contains two different dyelots because the universe hates you.
Solution: Magical made-up skein-alternating method! Also, kick the universe in the nards.

I am going to say OMG WTF again, because, OMG WTF. I wound the ball and found a break. Said, aw crap, now I have to work in a join somewhere. Went on my merry way. And then came the horrible realization. THESE TWO BALLS (heh heh heh two balls) WERE DIFFERENT COLOURS. The difference was subtle; I tried to photograph it but couldn’t get it to show up in a picture and was beginning to wonder if I was delusional. But I was not, at least not about this particular issue.

So I toddled over to Ravelry and searched for info on alternating skeins, and completely failed to find it. Oh, sure, there was plenty of “how to carry yarn up the side”. But there was nothing about “how to carry yarn up the side when switching skeins at the edge ruins the bump of your garter stitch border, but doubling the yarn and switching a few stitches in is too noticeable, and also did I mention that I’ve only got a two-stitch border to make this yarn switch and since I’ve got one small ball and one big ball (heh heh heh lopsided balls) I’m only doing the yarn-switching for a small section of the shawl, so the yarn-switching edge needs to match the regular edge”.

So I made up a method. Well, I’m sure someone smarter than me came up with it a long time ago, but my search-fu failed to find it so I had to invent it. Here’s how it works. (This assumes a garter stitch border.)

Work along the WS with Yarn 1, approaching the switching edge. Turn work.
Drop Yarn 1, pick up Yarn 2. Knit one stitch.
Pick up Yarn 1 along with Yarn 2, and twist them together, one twist.
Drop Yarn 1 again, which will now be causing a strange loopy mess, and knit a second stitch with Yarn 2.
Give Yarn 1 a yank to remove any loopiness, continue knitting with Yarn 2.
Work along the RS, turn, work along the WS, then do the whole mess over again, only with Yarn 1 and Yarn 2 switched.

This will keep the garter stitch edge bump, because you’re still “turning” Yarn 1 by “attaching” it to Yarn 2, so it’s as if you knit them both doubled but without the drawback of giant fat stitches. It’s invisible from the RS and not even terribly noticeable from the WS.

Problem: Your FO looks like a sad little scrunchy curling mess of random stitches.
Solution: Block it.

This is a problem with every lace project, ever, and you’re all already aware of the solution, but I felt it’s worth reiterating…



Blocking is magic, people. I know you don’t want to do it, but DO IT.

(Why yes, I AM going to spam that picture until the end of time.)

Problem: No triangular shawls.

Seriously. Go make a triangular shawl. Make this one! Or make a different one! I don’t care. Just make one. One skein of sock yarn makes a little one. Yes, this IS an excuse for you to buy that skein of expensive shiny hand dyed fairyfart yarn. Are you buying it? Why not? How about now? Yes, I know the economy is bad, but you need a triangular shawl. Stop arguing with me. If you’re not knitting a triangular shawl right now, YOU’RE DOING IT WRONG.

… that is all.


  1. CanarySanctuary says:

    Thankye for the solutions to these (rather familiar sounding) problems.
    ps: fairyfart yarn = hilarious

  2. Glenna says:

    I am making my first Swallowtail now, yea verily. And after that, I’m going to make MOAR TRIANGULAR SHAWLS, maybe a second Oyster Bay, maybe a third Forest Canopy, who knows because there are SO MANY to choose from!

    High-fives all around on your Onerva.

  3. Kate says:

    Wow, that is gorgeous! I can totally see myself making it someday, but only because of the extra help of the knitalong. Who’s a lazy knitter? This girl here.

  4. Julie says:

    I couldn’t agree with you more- MOAR TRIANGULAR SHAWLS!! I saw that one in Ravelry, but was put off by the Finnish (since, you know, I don’t read or speak finnish) but I thought the pattern was gorgeous. And yours is one stunning triangular shawl!! You did an awesome job, congrats!!

  5. Riin says:

    Wow. You rock.

  6. Becca says:

    OMG WOW an FO! It’s quite lovely! It makes me want to knit a triangular shawl! (hmmmm who can I make this for for the holidays? Why, yes, I AM starting my christmas planning now. I am not going to fall short like last year, goddamnit!)

  7. mesha says:

    That’s gorgeous! A Finish pattern requires more bravery than I have.

    I have the strangest urge to knit a triangular lace shawl, now. Maybe with little lace bats…

  8. Floderten says:

    Bootiful. I may have to spam you for those charts some day.

    I love me some triangular shawls. If you have triangular shawls, you don’t need kick-ass t-shirts (not very many, anyway) – because you can cover the bland ones up with a kick-ass hand-knit shawl that’s like WOW! nice accessory!

  9. Beverly says:

    I loves the stitch pattern in that shawl! I just bought some merino/silk sock yarn that may just have to become on of those shawls.

    And I totally share the triangular shawl love. I made one last year and was completely hooked.

  10. Kristen says:

    We seem to have very similar approaches. I just finished my first triangle shawl, and my deal was that OMG I HAD to design it myself. Because, never having made a triangular shawl, I was the perfect candidate to do such a thing, of course. And yeah, I’m hooked.

  11. Kristen says:

    Crud, sorry – I accidentally hit the submit button before I was through telling you how awesome your shawl looks! I love the color, and the pattern is gorgeous!

  12. Deirdre says:

    Beautiful!!! Makes me almost want to knit a shawl, possibly of a triangular nature…

  13. Tracy J. says:

    OMG Gore-jus!!!1!

    That really is a lovely shawl and is going in to my queue. All that help you had is somewhere on the internet, floating around Ravelry, right?

    Also, thank you for the ball jokes.

  14. Needs more shawls « Knitting to Stay Sane says:

    […] 24, 2009 by Glenna C As delightful blogger Cyn so fantastically summed up in her post yesterday, “if you’re not knitting a triangular shawl right now, YOU’RE DOING IT […]

  15. yarnpiggy says:

    This post is made of awesomesauce.

  16. Hilary says:

    Preeeeety! I think that’s all I can say because, seriously, that is one gorgeous shawl. And indeed I am doing it wrong…I have taken a break from my spring/summer o’ shawls to make a cardigan, but all I can think about is freakin’ more triangular shawls!!! When will this stupid cardigan be done?!

  17. Kate says:

    (I’m here via GlennaC’s site)

    Beautiful shawl! You’ve inspired me to get over the “but but but it’s in FINNISH!!!!!” fear and actually have a go at it. Thank you! :-)

  18. tea says:

    excuse me while i go knit 78,000,000 triangular shawls. that is HOT.

  19. Margot says:

    Gorgeous shawl! (but it’s not red, wasn’t sure who’s blog I was reading for a little bit there)

    Thanks for mentioning the KAL group at rav, I just joined (which is crazy really as I have about 20 wips).

  20. Joyuna says:

    Mmmm. Triangular shawls YES. And your disaster? Is soooo not disastrous. Gorgeous. I am 20 years old… and I wear a shawl every day. Like a little old lady. Over a t-shirt and jeans.
    I am not ashamed.

  21. rima aranha says:

    Ooooh! This is just gorgeous.


  22. Zylo says:

    I feel so groovy and in the know because I have TOTALLY KNIT A TRIANGULAR SHAWL. You’d never believe it lookint at my blog or, you know, talking to me but once upon a time, I sat down long enough to do something. Of course, I gave it away… Stupid friends.

  23. Jenipher says:


    highly recommend:
    “Simple yet effective shawl’
    “Boneyard shawl”
    “Milkweed shawl”

  24. Arianne says:

    Hi, I’m hoping you get this message.

    I made one of your brainmonster hats for my fiance some time ago, and everyone on my campus absolutely loved them. The classical honours society (of which I am a member) would like to sell these hats, with some alterations (for instance, more i-cording to make a medusa, or one eye for a cyclops, or wings for hermes, etc.), as a fundraiser for our program. We don’t get a budget from the school, so it’s kind of up to us, and we’d like permission to use your pattern. We would obviously give you credit for your pattern. You deserve it; we’re not that clever!
    Please do e-mail me back; I shall look forward to hearing from you.


  25. Chris says:

    It’s just gorgeous! I have to try to decipher the pattern……aaaaaa!

  26. Des says:

    “Yes, this IS an excuse for you to buy that skein of expensive shiny hand dyed fairyfart yarn.”

    OMG. I love you. I love, love you.

  27. Kristy says:

    Wow! That’s so pretty! You’re making my seemingly ONLY pattern of knit 1, perl 1 scarves look so boring…
    Some day I will make something different…maybe.

  28. Erin says:

    I have 2 skiens of Lorna’s Laces Shepherd Sock and need a pattern for my FIRST triangular shawl EVAR… suggestions?

  29. lele says:

    ok ok I,m making damn thing ,,,of fairyfart sock yarn which ,,,,hmmm,,starting to look like good ,,

  30. Laurie says:

    I am knitting this shawl because of your Ravelry projects post and because you made me laugh with this post. I am so feeling like you did. In FINNISH? Okay.

  31. Maggie says:

    I love triangular shawls (although I’ve only actually made 2) and yours is gorgeous! It turned out great! You did an awesome job of figuring out to do with your problems. Congrats!

  32. beading says:

    beautiful knitting, love your triangle shawls, how hard would it be to embroid a patten in the middle of the shawls? or even knit a logo of some sort?
    thanks for the great ideas

  33. New Jersey Baby Photographer says:

    This is AWESOME!!! Gotta go buy some more supplies so I can make a few of these!! THANKS for the info!!