Hansel Half Hap

Last I updated you on my knitting progress, my wrist was giving me trouble and preventing me from knitting. Well, it’s still giving me trouble, but not enough to stop me knitting. I’ve finally finished my Hansel Half Hap, a pattern by Gudrun Johnstone.

Siobhan stands against a garden fence. She wears a triangular handknit shawl across her shoulders; in beige with red, orange, yellow and grey/blue coloured lace stripes.

I knit it in a kit from Ysolda’s shop, in the yarn specified by the pattern – Jamieson & Smith Jumper Weight. The colours are lovely, and it’s so nice to have the hard work of choosing yarn and colourway taken out of your hands, leaving just the fun part of knitting!

 

Siobhan stands against a garden fence. She wears a triangular handknit shawl across her shoulders; in beige with red, orange, yellow and grey/blue coloured lace stripes.

Overall, this was a good knit, though I did have some difficulties getting gauge. The pattern calls for a gauge of 17 sts and 34 rows = 4″ on 5mm needles. 5mm needles are fairly large for 4ply/fingering weight yarn, but I did as was told and swatched up on 5mm needles…then 4.5mm….4mm…then finally down to 3mm needles before I achieved the correct gauge. I know gauge is more important than needle size, but at this point I was feeling like the sloppiest knitter in the world.

Lots of people love knitting at tiny gauges*, but the 3mm needles really cramped my hands. After all that hard work to get gauge, I was frustrated to find my shawl was no where near the dimensions stated (short by a good 9″ height and width I reckon).

Siobhan stands against a garden fence. She wears a triangular handknit shawl wrapped around her neck; in beige with red, orange, yellow and grey/blue coloured lace stripes.

It irked me so much that I reblocked it** in fragrance-free conditioner (Shetland yarn is scratchy, friends). With some very forceful stretching I managed to almost get the measurements on the schematic. It’s still 1-2″ small either way, and the conditioner did nothing to alleviate the scratchiness, but it’s better than it was before. (The curves in the straight edge would not block out.)

A beige, triangular shawl with colourful lace stripes and pointed edging lays pinned flat to a towel.
Not a great picture but you can see how much I stretched it!

A close up of the centre point of a handknit shawl in the process of being blocked. The points of the edging are straining against their pins due to the stretch applied.

Perhaps it was a matter of not having the right tools for blocking – I know haps are traditionally stretched out when wet. But there was nothing in the instructions to indicate this pattern needed stretching, bar a note about paying attention to the points in blocking.

 

I also had some difficulty following the pattern instructions. Maybe this is down to cognitive function, but I could not get in the swing of things and had to rip back the lace portion a few times til I totally got it (& I’ve absolutely knit this type of lace before). Again, this is all likely down to my own experience but some patterns are so well written they make you feel like everything is entirely intuitive.

Siobhan stands against a garden fence. She wears a triangular handknit shawl across her shoulders; in beige with red, orange, yellow and grey/blue coloured lace stripes.

Finally, the cast off as written was far too tight for the fabric of the shawl to stretch to its full extent – in fact, it gathered the fabric along the edge. I undid it and reknit with this simple modification: k2, *k2togtbl, k1*, repeat between * until all sts cast off.

Two images of the edge of a handknit shawl. Top, the cast off edge has scrunched the fabric up due to its tightness. Bottom, there is no cast off and the shawl is allowed to extend to its full width on the needles.
It’s hard to see in the pictures, but in the top the pattern cast off caused the fabric to curl up and bubble, like a shell’s ear pasta. You can see the bubbles in the fabric near the point, where the lace begins, and again at the curve/end of lace. Mmm…..pasta.

 

These are really all minor quibbles, largely entirely personal – maybe I didn’t get gauge in every stitch pattern, need a hap blocking frame, and cognitive difficulties make reading patterns extremely challenging. It’s a gorgeous pattern, especially when made up in the colours called for. Next time I knit a shawl, I’d probably go for a softer yarn and one that I know I can get comparable gauge in.

Siobhan stands against a garden fence. She wears a triangular handknit shawl across her shoulders; in beige with red, orange, yellow and grey/blue coloured lace stripes.

 

The details:
Pattern: Hansel Half Hap by Gudrun Johnstone (my Ravelry notes)
Pattern details: “This a half sized version of my Hansel pattern-a traditional Shetland Hap shawl. When you purchase this pattern you will also receive the pattern for the full sized shawl (as a separate pdf). A ‘Hansel’ is a gift to mark a special occasion, such as the birth of a baby.”
Yarn: Jamieson & Smith 2 Ply Jumper Weight in 202 (MC), 1284 (CC1), 121 (CC2), 27 (CC3), FC7MIX (CC4).
Needles: 3mm
Mods: Different cast off: k2, *k2togtbl, k1*, repeat between * until all sts cast off.

Previous posts: WIP: Hansel Half Hap, Winter Knitting Plans

 

*They would be wrong.

**This is a huge deal. I hate blocking, and rarely wash my knits for this reason. But I wanted that shawl to be long enough to reach my ass, dammit.

Author: Siobhan S

20 something, living in country Australia. Spoonie profile: ME/CFS, dysautonomia, anxiety. All about sewing, knitting and food. Unapologetic feminist and disability advocate.

6 thoughts on “Hansel Half Hap”

    1. Yes, that would be very pretty. I think I found the looser cast-off in one of the projects on Ravelry – seems I wasn’t the only one who had this problem.

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  1. I’m sorry you’re still having pain and troubles with your wrist, but you’ve done an amazing job with this! I can see why you’d want it softer, but I guess that’s something you can keep in mind for next time when selecting a yarn. It looks very pretty, I love it! 🙂
    Caz xx

    Liked by 1 person

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