This summer, I came across a wonderful designer, Rachy Newin. She has an extensive collection of designs with numerous shawls, my fave to make! She focuses on using hand-dyed yarns, including tonals, gradients, variegated, and speckled, and her patterns and Ravelry pages talk about how to select appropriate yarns for each of her patterns. In addition to her Ravelry page, she has a Facebook page, Facebook group, and Instagram account that she posts to throughout the day talking about, and seeking feedback on, her in-progress designs. Her social media presence has been so inspirational to me as a wanna-be, but not yet ready, designer. Her Facebook group, Crochet with Rachy, is extremely welcoming, and though most people talk about her designs, her policy is open to all crochet discussions — provided the discussions are inclusive. She is a vocal supporter of Ravelry’s anti-Trump and anti-white supremacy stance, and is an ally to LGBTQA+ and BIPOC designers and crafters (and people in general, I assume :). Actually, one of the first thing I noticed about her patterns is that they have low vision formats available – I can get behind someone who makes an effort for accessibility! In sum, I find Rachy inspirational – in both her patterns and her goal of creating inclusive spaces for crafting.
When Rachy was seeking testers for her revamp of the Melting Pot Shawl, I immediately wanted to jump on board. The shawl calls for 5 yarns and uses 5 different lacy stitches as you move between the yarns. The inspiration for the shawl is diversity, and demonstrating how a variety of yarns can “melt” together beautifully. I had recently found five hand-dyed variegated yarns by Claudia Hand Painted Yarns at an excellent yarn store in Charlottesville, VA – Magpie Knits. I thought they would work together nicely in a shawl, and was interested in learning how to combine different variegated yarns as well as stitches. However, I had 50 grams (175 yards) of each color, versus the 20g each called for in the pattern, and I wanted to use all my yarn. I didn’t think I could complete this in the 10-day limit. I showed a picture of my yarn to Rachy, and explained my predicament, and she gave me 20 days to complete the test.
This project was truly an #agoesswhocrochetstravelyarns project. The yarn was purchased on a trip to Charlottesville, VA. I started at home, but worked on this project on a trip to Atlanta, California, France, and England.
The making of
Yarn: Claudia Hand Painted Yarns Addiction in Rock Creek, Scout’s Honor, Collards & Greens, Kelp Beds, and Turquoise Jeans
Hook: 3.75mm (F)
Final size: sides 94 inches/239 cm, 84 inches/213 cm, 32 inches/81cm
Rachy was curious about how to help people adapt the pattern for different amounts of yarn, and I needed to adapt it. However, when I started it, I thought I would still follow the same pattern repeat breaks that she provided. In other words, I might do more pattern repeats, but my plan was the end a repeat on the row she indicated. But after the first repeat, I became emboldened to be a bit more flexible. I documented by adaptations on my Ravelry project page. I was pleased with how my adaptations were not too complicated with the pattern but allowed me to use the most amount of yarn. Here’s what I had left:
My Melting Pot Shawl is large and cozy and shows off the beautiful yarn.