Frida Shawl, and My Embroidery-on-knit Adventure

How often do you knit or crochet just for yourself? Not for your friends or relatives, not to make a gift to your school teacher. But just for yourself. I don’t do that often. The life of a crochet designer is too busy to make a break and just enjoy a slow making for yourself. But sometimes it’s nice to make a break, right? I am a very "shawl person", and the first minute I saw Frida Shawl I knew I should knit one for myself.
Frida Shawl_knitting pattern by Miss Neriss

Frida Shawl was designed by my friend Nerissa of Miss Neriss and it’s a part of the latest FOLK issue of YARN book-a-zine. You can read about Nerissa’s idea and how it came to life on her blog HERE. More designs from the same issue (including my Jingle Garland) can be found in my review HERE.

And today I would like to share my embroidery adventure with you.

Frida Shawl is a knitting design. The pattern is beginner friendly, it’s very easy to follow and quite straightforward. I haven’t followed many knitting patterns in English and I was a bit worried. But everything worked out just fine. I used the same Peru yarn by Scheepjes* (but in different color – shade 30) and my knit piece was finished in just several hours. 10mm needles, you know – you can fly with them.
Frida Shawl_knitting pattern by Miss Neriss
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Though I was very quick with the knitting part, embroidery was too scary to start right away. So I left it aside for a few weeks and came back to it just now, when I felt completely ready.

Well, in the past I did lots of cross stitch embroidery. And it was easy – you have exact chart and you have canvas. Embroidery on knit is something totally different. It’s more like paining with yarn. And it involves your own drawing.

But you know what? If I managed to do it – you will be fine as well. I’ll share all steps with you and hopefully many more Frida Shawls will appear soon!

If you are experienced in embroidery you can probably do that directly on knit fabric. But because Frida Shawl is chunky and has quite big holes, for me it would be impossible to embroider on it. The pattern suggests using stabilizer for embroidery. And this is what I decided to choose, as well.
Stabilizer for embroidery

I got a set of different types of stabilizers from Scheepjes (you’ll not believe how many types they are!!) and picked just the same as in the pattern – Madeira Avalon ULTRA*. It looks just like a usual plastic bag. But instruction said it “washes away”. To me it felt skeptical (how can the plastic be washed away?), but I decided to follow the pattern.

Frida Shawl pattern guides you through every single step, so you don’t need to think or worry about anything.

First I draw flowers on the stabilizer. Normal pencils and pens didn’t work so I borrowed black marker from my son’s set. I tried to follow the chart for every flower and leave, and it turned out ok from the first time (but you might want to train on paper first).
How to embroider on knit and crochet

Next step is embroidery. I chose the same yarn as in the pattern – Cahlista*. Luckily I have a colour pack* at home with cute 15g mini skeins. So picking the colors was not a problem.

What I strongly recommend is following the order of embroidery as per pattern. I got very excited with lazy daisy stitches (had to search for a video tutorial first) and messed up the order. My stabilizer moved a bit and final embroidery became asymmetrical. So that might be a good idea to pin stabilizer to your knit fabric before you begin with the first flower.

And here is my first flower. I struggled with the yarn a bit, because 2 strands are used at the same time and it was tricky to keep them from twisting. But the result is lovely, isn’t it?
How to embroider on knit and crochet

And here is a little bit more progress on embroidery…
How to embroider on knit and crochet

You might ask how to secure yarn on the wrong side. That was my question as well… Maybe this is not professional, but here is what I did: I didn’t make any knots in the beginning and after each flower was finished I simply pulled tails to the wrong side, wove them around nearest stitches, secured with knot and cut not too close to the fabric surface.

TIP: you might want to take a really long yarn tail for each flower so that you don't have too many knots on the wrong side. I cut approx. 2m for each flower which gave me 1m of double stranded embroidery "thread".

This is how my wrong side looks:

How to embroider on knit and crochet

After embroidery was finished I needed to get rid of stabilizer. I carefully cut it around the embroidery and prepared a bowl with warm water (as per instructions). Aaaand… Magic happened!! Stabilizer was gone in three (3!) minutes!
How to embroider on knit and crochet

After that I carefully got rid of extra water and put my Frida Shawl to dry… At that very moment a “brilliant” idea came to my head. I thought I would add an extra flower to make my embroidery look balanced (since I messed up with its placement). So I pinned a small piece of stabilizer to a still wet fabric and tried to embroider onto it… And stabilizer was disappearing in my hands, lol. So please, don’t try and repeat it myself.
How to embroider on knit and crochet

It took my Frida Shawl two full days to dry, I even had to use a hair dryer. And I am so very pleased with the result! I still need to add a cute little buckle. But I couldn’t wait and wanted to share it with you right away.

As you can see, embroidery on the chunky knit is not scary at all. And again, if I managed it – then everyone can!
How to embroider on knit and crochet

My friend Carmen of New Leaf Designs  (who was another participating designer in FOLK book-a-zine) is now hosting a FOLK-a-long in the Ravelry group HERE. If you were inspired by any designs from this fantastic issue, please, don’t hesitate and join in! I’ll be there with my Frida Shawl as well. So see you there :)

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  1. I prefer your colour choices to the original. And I think you're very clever!!

  2. Oh, this shawl is my fav! All colours and patterns, all flowers... I like them+
    Thank you very much.
    May I probe it...????

    have a nice weekend!

  3. Thank you so much for this post. I have finished the shawl and like you am hesitant to start the embrodiery. Your shawl came out beautiful and now I am eager to finish mine.


  4. Do you think this could be done with crochet instead of knit?

    1. Yes, I think so... you can just crochet a triangle and then decorate it with embroidery :)

  5. Hi love your post maybe old true to found the pattern on Ravelry maybe aim too dump cannot found the way to buy it. Can you please help with this. I’ll love to make it for myself.

  6. I've been thinking about embroidery on some of my homemade scarves and didn't know what to do. Thank you. Do you think this could work with crochet with a smaller stitch?

  7. I think your shawl is beautiful,lovely autumnal feel to the colours aswell

  8. Thank you for your tutorial. I can't wait to start this pattern:). Did you put kilt buckle to close the shawl?


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