Crochet a simple hip shawl

flowers shawl close-up

flowers shawl close-up

I wanted a light, neutral hip shawl to use with my ATS costumes, and preferably to pair with the white flouncy sleeves choli I made over the summer. Problem is, while I did manage to find a cheap, pre-loved one in ivory, it’s not quite flattering and, like most Chinese shawls, it’s too small, breaks easily as it’s got very thin strands creating the shapes instead of thicker knitted sections, and the tassels are not quite fluffy enough for my liking. I am also trying to put together a costume 100% made my myself, so I decided to try making my own.

I’ve posted about crochet before, when talking about zill mufflers. Again, I am not intending to teach anybody how to crochet, but wanted to share how simple I found the process. I picked a nice cotton blend, very fine ribbon yarn, wrapped with silver lurex; this gives it a lovely soft metallic sheen without making it overwhelming, and I thought it would work really well. I bought a cone off ebay, with plenty for several proyects, so I am expecting I’ll use this yarn for quite a while yet!

beads shawl close-up

beads shawl close-up

The first one, I decided on a width enough to sit comfortably around my hips plus a foot longer for the ties, then did two rows using double crochets, I cut the thread and knotted, then wove the remaining thread within the “ribbon” I’d crocheted. I then re-started the crochet, at the point where the shawl itself would start (so about half a feet into the top), and doing arches of 20 chains, leave a few underneath, another 20 chains, etc, with the idea of creating arches. When I reached the end, instead of restarting from the same point, I did single crochets over half of the bottom arch, then restarted the arches again from the middle of the bottom one, and hooking it on the middle of the next one, so I could create, row by row, a triangle. The arches would, once they had some weight attached, deformed into diamonds. Once the back reached a suitable length, I added an edge with a single row of double crochets all along the edges. To finish it off, I made quick tassels using the same yarn wrapped 5 times around a slim dvd case, then cut the bottom, looped through the finishing edge with a lark’s head, put a kuchi bead and then knotted the tassel after that. And finally, I sewed a silver flower bead through every other junction to create a sort of diamond patter… Check the photo of the flower shawl at the top of this post to see the finished product.

For the second shawl, I wanted things a bit more regular. I didn’t like how the top looked on my first one, and I noticed the diamonds were not always as regular as I’d like them to be. I realised that knitting 20 chains would not always give me the exact same length, as I was working with a hook that was a bit too thick for the yarn, so I went, instead, for measuring length. I started cutting about 30 very long strands and braiding them tightly, to use as the waistband. I used the same measurement as the previous shawl. After that was done and both edges were tied and the ends evened out, I started the arches, this time doing 30 chains first and then measuring the following ones so that the length of each would be the same, and making sure that the space I left in between each anchor point for these first arches would be identical. For the second row, I wanted to introduce some beading, but this time, instead of sewing as I did before -it had been painful- I decided to first string several beads into the yarn I was knitting, and then crochet through these and position as necessary… in my case, I crocheted normally until I wanted to position one of the beads, and when it came to that, I slid the bead to the back of my next crochet, then just did a standard crochet with the bead at the back, and the final loop securing it in place.

beads shawl

beads shawl

The diamonds in this one are a bit bigger, but the methodology was pretty much the same. The only other difference is that this time, instead of doing half-crochets all the way up the first arch of row, I just knotted the thread a the end of each row, and started next where it should go. This allowed me a much finer overall look, and was also useful to thread the beads only for the rows that needed them. I stopped once the shawl reached a length I was happy with; I finished it off with just one row of single crochets, and this time, I made the tassels longer and thicker, with 10 turns over two stacked standard dvd boxes, and 20 turns for the tie tassels. These I also tied more firmly, to anchor the tassels properly. The effect is a far lighter shawl but with bigger, fluffier tassels that move very well while dancing.

Now if only I could find more mixed yarn like this, in other colours!

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