These distinctive and delicate shawl pins are from Designs by Romi. Rosemary ("Romi") sent me a few of her beautifully handmade pins to try out and here is my official review!
I'll be honest. I haven't worn a shawl in years, so the idea of shawl pins has never really caught my attention. As a busy mom of 3 little ones, shawls are just not practical for my day to day. And date night, what's that?
However, I've been thinking about designing a pattern with lovely draped fronts. You know, the kind you see all over the place called "wrap cardigans" or cardigans with attached scarves or shawl fronts. They are all the rage.
I finally had the time to knit and design my own version! I liked how it looked with the fronts open and left to drape, but wanted a way to close the front sometimes for warmth and variety.
I wasn't keen on using buttons - even light ones would affect the drape of the cardigan. And where would I place the buttons and NOT limit how the cardigan could be worn?
Well, it turns out that shawl pins are the ideal solution!
And how are the ones from Rosemary? Are they versatile enough to use on my drape-front sweater? Read on for my thoughts!
As you can see from the photo, all are delicate and eye-catching. And as a knitter, I can certainly appreciate the handmade quality of these pins just by seeing them! Up close, you can tell they are hand formed (in a good way!) and are really little pieces of art that you can use to embellish your knitwear.
The edges are all smooth and there are no weird corners that can catch and snag your knitwear (unlike your basic safety pin). You can tell from seeing all of her designs that this was a very deliberate consideration! All of her pins have gently curved corners so they will work well with delicate open lace scarves/sweaters (though you still have to be gentle in securing the pin).
It does take a little bit of practice to attach them, and each one works differently. The Bluebird design has a separate stick that you weave in and out of the bird to secure. The other two designs have attached sticks that slide around to lock.
All of them feel quite secure once you get them in correctly.
They worked nicely to hold the front pieces of my draped cardigan in place (see all the different ways I used it!). AND I tried them on a bulky yarn cowl to see how it worked. It was secure, although the delicate design is a bit more of a contrast when wearing the chunkier styles, so you would want to consider that.
And what do you do with the pin when you leave your sweater open? Stash it in your purse OR just attach it somewhere like an accent pin. No problem!
So, overall, I think these shawl pins are great and would be an awesome gift! I definitely have expensive tastes (Ask my husband) - and these pins are not at all "cheap" looking. They are well suited to your fine knitwear.
And yes, any kind of decorative broach could generally be used to close a sweater, but these are specifically designed to do that better with the smooth edges and ability to "grab" more or your fabric, so they can be used for heavier-weight knits or for some creative closures.
Here's an example of closing the drape-front sweater by gathering at the waist. This would not be easy to do with a broach that has the usual small pin, but it was a cinch (ha ha) to do with the larger Bluebird pin.
See all of Rosemary's MANY shawl pin designs at www.DesignsbyRomi.com (her sheep ones are my favorite!). Tell her SweaterBabe.com sent you!
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*** SHAWL PIN GIVEAWAY ***
I will be giving away the heart-shaped shawl/sweater pin to one lucky commenter.
Just leave a comment about these shawl pins on this blog post by 9pm PST, September 30, 2009, to enter the drawing. One commenter will be chosen randomly as the winner! One comment per person, please.