Well, I've at least discovered that a simple shawlette can and will dress up those plain tanks and jeans! But, there's definitely a right and a wrong way to go about it. First of all: How to wear it? The answer really depends on the shape and size of your shawl. The "fairy" shawl I made is light enough to tie in the front for a casual look. But what about that Love Knot monstrosity that I made? Big enough to be a throw blanket, tying that one only creates a huge, awkward knot. That is when I realized that sometimes you have to accessorize your accessories.
To the rescue: A tutorial over at Simply Collectible Crochet for how to make a shawl toggle. I immediately knew I had to make one when I saw it. Now, off to the craft store!... Only to find almost no selection of buttons. I had a choice of round, round, or round buttons; wooden or plastic. I thought "oh well, these will have to do" as I picked out the biggest of the wooden ones.
I wasn't happy with my choice, so I hit up the craft department on my next trip to Walmart. I was surprised to find more of a variety than the craft store! But still, not the oblong toggle buttons I was looking for. Just one column over from the buttons, something else caught my eye:
What is a kilt pin? I'm new to this device, but I would guess it must be for pinning a kilt. ;) Can I use it for a shawl? After browsing through some images, I did find quite a few varieties and styles, but I didn't find any being used as a shawl pin. I worried about the sharp point damaging my work, but I (carefully) used the kilt pin to display my Angel Cakes shawl.
It worked, but I could see how a real shawl pin or a toggle would be so much better. The kilt pin leaves a gap unless you pin about six rows together, and doing that scrunches up the shawl. Besides, I don't need all those sparkles when I just want a casual wrap! It looks out of place with a tank and jeans. My plain wooden buttons were starting to look a little more interesting, so I finally gathered my supplies and pulled up the tutorial to make my shawl toggle.
*Warning* This procedure requires a needle and thread (yarn, actually), but just about every person on the face of the earth will be able to handle it... Except for me. (See post "I am a Sewing Dummy" for reference.)
Can anybody spot what the problem will be here?
Yeah, I didn't see the issue before I started. I figured it out soon enough, though:
And after switching to a smaller needle that would fit through the buttonhole, I promptly made another mistake by starting in the wrong direction:
But in the end, it was pretty easy to create my toggle. Mistakes behind me, it was only a minute before I was weaving the yarn in to finish.
I'm so glad I found that tutorial! I owe a big thanks to Simply Collectible Crochet for my new shawl toggle, and newfound confidence in wearing my work. The weather is cooling off and it's a perfect time to wear my shawls, but they can be so troublesome to keep on. Although the kilt pin does work, options are limited. I think the toggle gives you so many more ways to wear your shawls.
As for a "real" shawl pin: I've still failed to find one anywhere but online. Even though I can drool over some amazing handmade or vintage pins, I can't fit them into my budget. The kilt pin was two dollars and some change; the buttons to make the toggle were only $1. I used a piece of scrap for the yarn, so I'm not even considering its cost. The laugh I had over more sewing blunders was priceless.
So, what do you think? Do you prefer a shawl pin or a toggle? Or would you rather have an easy-to-tie shawl that doesn't require an accessory? I used to think the latter, until I made a toggle. Now I think I'm going to have to start scouring craft stores for buttons to make more!
PS: Yay, now I can wear my Grannies in a Love Triangle Shawl! Maybe I'll finally get around to publishing that pattern...