I think this may be my favorite finished object. It is a gift I completed a few months ago, but never dropped in the mail (hoping to see the recipient in person). It is made from Malabrigo worsted, and therefore would be beautiful no matter who knitted it into what. This is not the first shawl I started, but is the first one completed. I didn’t use a pattern, just techniques from the book Sock Yarn Shawls. (Triangular shape with garter-tab cast-on, increases, etc) Cast-on edges are not my strong point when it comes to tension, and the shawls with hundreds of cast-on stitches seem like a lofty project. This one started with three! I used US9 for the body, and switched between those and size 15 for the second section. I wet and lightly steam blocked, but never soaked it. I’d like the yarn-overs near the edge to relax a little more, so I may try more heavily blocking. It is superwash merino and one of the most luscious yarns I have touched.
It was made after I had read through a book on prayer shawls as well as a touching blog post on how birthday socks could be seen as handmade armor; these ideas made complete sense to me. When knitting a gift specifically for someone, thoughts drift to him or her. Every stitch is filled with love, prayer, good vibes or energy (hopefully). One can feel guarded against the cold and the world by wrapping up in a hand knit. It makes me think of the book Like Water for Chocolate and other works that use magical realism in which emotion and thought can be channeled or brought to life. In Laura Esquivel’s novel the representation is food; protagonist Tita pours so much into her cooking that anyone who eats it cannot help but feel the same emotion. It is beautiful, but can be dangerous. When she is lustful, it leaves guests gorging and swooning, yet when tears fall uncontrollably into the dish everyone feels sorrow to the point of sickness. I think it is common practice for knitters to try and keep to the thoughts of love, respect, healing. The negative, the sad, the anxious thoughts shouldn’t be squelched, but allowed and then dismissed. (Makes me think of attempts at meditation and Dune‘s litany of fear…) It is so easy to get lost in the negative, even addicted, yet it is really difficult to dwell too long with hand-dyed baby merino running across fingers and needles!