WIP Wednesday 1/14/2014

I love triangular shawls. And kitchen cotton. I started this lovely before x-mas, and have yet to complete it. My mom-in-law requested a big cotton shawl to throw around her shoulders in an off-white shade, so I am hopeful this will fit the bill. The three-stitch garter tab cast-on started things out; after that I could just knit mindlessly, as a couple yarn-overs are the only slow to the stockinette flow. I would like to do some kind of (very basic) lace edging to finish off the piece.

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This, on the other hand, is not mindless. The inner voice has nicknamed my version of Ashley Rao’s Biarritz Cloche “The Princess Frog.” I used Aunt Lydia’s Fashion 3 crochet thread and eventually found a needle to work – Skacel’s lace tip US1 (which is 2.5mm unlike every other “size 1″ needle I own!). The pattern called for double-pointed needles, but I found a 20″ circular to work best since stitches were jumping off my dpns. (Too many stitches for a 16″ not enough for a 24”.) I swatched, downsized needles,  and therefore did not cast on enough stitches initially. I SHOULD KNOW BETTER… I should have started over at that point.

Sooooo, do I frog the entire thing? The cloche intended for my dear sister is NOT going to fit her normal-person sized head. It is snug on my youth-sized head. This is my first color-work, my first slip-stitch pattern, and the smallest needle I have ever used. I think it is beautiful. My extremely stylish sis would probably like anything I knit for her, so I am quite tempted to just keep on chuckin and wear the cloche myself. Wise knitters say, “Don’t worry about a swatch. Your sweater will fit somebody…” Think I lucked out that my screw-up at least fits me!

A p.s. to the post from yesterday: I totally tried it. I hit publish, stood up, threw my arms over my head like I just won the 100-meter dash, and even pranced about a bit, bragging to the cats that I had finally finished a post. I’m going to do it again in a minute. I’m also going to try and keep Amy Cuddy and Elizabeth Zimmermann as mentors in my mind – just fake it until I become an opinionated knitter in my own right!

Finished Object (FO) Friday 12/6/2013

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!

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