Mobius Story Shawl

mobius story shawl

When I stumbled upon Dedri Uys’s My Story Shawl in Scheepjes Whirl, it was love at first sight — with the shawl, the lookatwhatimade blog, and the yarn. I carefully debated which Whirl to get, settled on Blackcurrant Squeeze Me, ordered it while we were still en route to our 4-month abode in Seattle (more on that in a later post), and eagerly awaited the yarn to arrive. When it finally arrived, I discovered I did not have the correct size hook to work with the yarn (my smallest was still too loose), and we were snowed in by a rare snowpocalypse for 2 days! I ordered a full set of crochet hooks, and with no place to go due to the snowpocalypse, kept reading about crochet designs for two days straight and coming up with more and more projects to do.

During that search, I stumbled upon this beautiful and cozy looking mobius shawl by Donna Wolfe from Naztazia, and thought the mobius concept was both really cool (yay math!), and perfect for the Whirl yarn – the color would look amazing changing from the middle out. I couldn’t decided which to do, and eventually decided to make a mobius version of the my story shawl. I also designed a Whirl Sophie’s Universe and ordered MORE Whirl, but that’s for a different post…

I made a gauge block to figure out how many stitches I would need to chain, but I wasn’t used to the fingerling weight, so my gauge block was a bit loose. Thus my final product is a bit smaller than I intended, but I wore it today and it worked quite nicely. The details on the actual size, gauge, and chain:

Width across when lying flat: ~20 inches (which makes it over 40 inches in circumference)

Hook: D/3.25mm

Gauge: 21 stitches (10 “squares” of mesh in pattern) is 3.25 inches

Original chain: 267

Once I set up the mobius, I just kept on crocheting (no joining or chaining to start a new round). This felt like the spirit of a mobius strip to me. Depending on how I looked at it, this meant I could stop at any time… or there was no stopping because there is no end of a row or round! The later is how I felt most of the time. But Seattle had more snow so I could just keep going.

It was my first time using a cake yarn like this and it was a joyful experience to watch the colors change. I was working on the whirl from the outside in. I relished watching as the colors peeled off the whirl and built up on the shawl. Here’s a pic of my first color change:

In progress: first color change.
First color change.

And some other in-progress pictures:

Once I got going, the pattern was straightforward, so I took another tip from the lookatwhatimade blog and listened to an audio book while I worked. The book I chose was perfect for crocheting a pattern based on a shawl called My Story: Michelle Obama’s Becoming, read by the author. I read in one of the reviews that the audio book was an intimate way to “read” her story and I agree! The book is amazing. Her story is engaging, her metaphors are beautiful, and her voice is lovely.

A Mobius Story Shawl was a perfect accompaniment to Michelle Obama’s life story. The color-changing mobius is like a life story – early events are at our core and our experiences build and change us.

The final shawl came out beautifully:

To make the picot edging, I made a picot in each chain 1 space, and a single crochet in each double crochet. To make the transition to the picot a little smoother, when I got to the second to last color change in the yarn (thought the last might not be enough), after a double crochet, I did: ch-1, half-double crochet in next ch-1 space (skipping a dc), ch-2, skip the next dc and ch-1 space, single crochet in next dc. Then I could start the picot in the next ch-1 space. The last picot went in the chain 2 space, and I joined it with the first single crochet before fastening it off.

A Problem and Potential Rx:

While beautiful, the final product had one problem: The center of the mobius in the stitches on the original chain came out a bit loose compared to the rest:

I wondered if there might be a better way to do this. One option, I thought, is to work the pattern on the chain instead of in the loops of the chain, however I am not confident in my ability to properly space 267 stitches. Another idea I had was to use foundation single crochet instead of a single chain. Upon trying this in a small sample, it was sturdier for the top stitches, but a continuous mobius (as opposed to one sewed together afterwards) works by working around the bottom of the first row (there are several youtube videos to show you how to do this, including Donna Wolfe’s). And since I was working in the ch-1 spaces instead of the stitches, this looked too bulky too me:

As I worked the foundation single crochet, I wondered if there was a way to do a foundation-double-crochet-chain-1. Although it looked a little funny at first, once the mobius was worked around the bottom spaces, it came out great. I basically followed the instructions for a foundation double crochet (fdc – google for your favorite tutorial), but after picking up a loop, instead of (yo, pull through 2 loops on the hook) twice, I first yo and pull through 1 loop on the hook to make a chain, then (yo, pull through 2 loops on the hook) twice, then ch-1 before making the next fdc. To make the mobius, when there were enough stitches, I just crocheted into the bottom of the chain-1 space (instead of the top for just a ring). I had to take care when I came back around again to maintain the mobius, but then I could just keep on crocheting. Though I haven’t tested this in a full sized shawl (too many cool projects to try), it looks great on a small test swatch:

I absolutely loved making this shawl and am now addicted to Scheepjes Whirl. So what’s next? Here are some pictures of test swatches I made with my leftover whirl and links to more beautiful patterns:

Namaqualand sample.
Namaqualand Shawl by Dedri Uys (lookatwhatimade)
Dragon belly sample.
Dragon Belly Shawl by Johanna Lindahl (Mijo Crochet)

And here’s the start of my Whirl Sophie’s Universe:

First few rounds: Sophie's Universe in a Whirl.

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