I have followed Frenchie, the incredible designer behind Aroha Knits, on Instagram for many years and every time the 5 Shawls 5 Days challenge rolled around I would get major FOMO. The mini shawls are just so damn cute! But by the time I would see them on my feed, I would feel discouraged from starting since I was already behind.
This year however, I happened to see an announcement from Frenchie about the start of the challenge. how serendipitous! I have mentioned many times that my goal for this year is to expand my skills, knit the patterns of other designers, and try to connect more with the online knitting community. So I didn’t think too hard about whether i could easily understand the new skills or if i could fit one more project per day for a week into my schedule. I just signed up!
If you’re not familiar with this challenge, it’s a 5 day exercise in learning the various basic shawl shapes by knitting mini versions of them. Each day of the challenge, Frankie emails out a simple and easy-to-follow pattern for a different shawl shape. You can use whatever yarn and needles you have lying around, and she encourages you to knit for about 30 minutes to keep it a quick and fun exercise.
On day 1 I made the Triangle Shawl, using some scrap lion brand wool-ease in rose heather. this was my first introduction to the garter tab cast on! Because I prefer and habitually reach for them I knit this mini shawl on size US 6 double-pointeds, though if I made the triangle shawl again I would definitely use circulars. I also learned the hard way that I should have bound off a bit looser, as I had a hard time getting this one to block nice and sharp and flat. still, I am pleased with my result!
having learned my lesson from the triangle shawl, i dug out a size US 6 circular for the crescent shape shawl on day 2. I also decided to step up the yarn game and picked some scrap malabrigo rios in color pearl. this was a super fun shape to knit .
I fell a little behind on day 3, and ended up having to make the asymmetrical shawl on day 4. this is my version made in some scrap malabrigo rios in fuchsia, leftover from my recent hat commission. this shape was fun to make also, as I didn’t exactly know how the shape would come together until I started knitting it.
after i finished the day 3 asymmetrical, i cast on the day 4 shawl shape, the 3/4. this shape is an expansion of the triangle shape from day 1 and super fun to knit (i think i like working with multiple yarn-overs!).
i got excited on the last day of the challenge because shape #5, the square shawl, calls for double-pointed needles! to stay consistent and celebrate the completion of the challenge i decided to reach into my stash and used a bit of rios in the beautiful colorway aniversario to make the square.
how cute are all 5 of my mini shawls!?
this was such a fun challenge both in terms of learning new techniques and fitting small, fun projects into my busy schedule. except for the asymmetrical and 3/4 shawls (days 3 & 4) that i knit in free time during the afternoon of day 4, i made the rest of the shawls at the end of my days around 8-10pm. deciding to take on learning new skills at night after a long day was challenging at times, as on a few days i messed up early and had to frog and start over. but ultimately, the construction of these basic shapes is simple and repetitive (in the best way), and after understanding the set-up each shawl worked up easily. i actually found myself debating whether or not to exceed the 30-minute time limit on many occasions because the patterns are so fun!
the best part is that Frenchie has built an amazing community around her challenge where people are sharing their work. since i was a first-time shawl knitter and challenge participant, i followed each pattern exactly and didn’t stray from the basic shape and design. But following along with the #5shawls5days hashtag on instagram (She also hosts a group on facebook) is so inspiring! So many people created such incredible mini shawls using fun stitch patterns, mini cables, frilled edges, and different bind-offs. basically, this is a fun challenge for knitters and shawl makers of any skill level, and the simple patterns and mini shawl samples are a great way to try out potential new designs.
i am SO EXcited to tack up my beautiful mini shawls to my studio cork board, for sheer cuteness and future design inspiration! please check out frenchie’s incredible shawl (and more!) designs on ravelry, and be sure to follow her on instagram so you don’t miss the announcement for next year’s challenge!