I did tackle the "Jackpot" shawl again in colours better suited for me, just two colours this time. Pink is good to match or accent pretty much everything in my summer closet. The knitting went quickly with my corrected chart. I was proud when I saw that the designer credited my "sharp eyes" with the errata on the Ravelry page for the design. This is now my favorite summer shawl, the one I leave hanging over a dining room chair, ready to grab as I head out the door to a concert in the park or a backyard barbecue.
While the spring installment of the Outlander series was airing, I decided that I should finish the fall KAL and not start the new one just yet . So I dug out the project bag and finished the traveling slip stitch sections, very happy with the results. The technique is not difficult once you've followed the instructions for a couple of repeats. But like many of the people who joined the KAL, I don't really find that the mesh border suits the body of the shawl. The large holes in the intsructions are formed the same way as those in the Little Colonnade pattern, which I love, so I decided to line up the holes using that pattern as my guide. But duh, somehow I ended up with the wrong side of the border on the right side of the body. I tried to convince myself that it could work as an interesting design feature, but I think the border is going to get frogged to be corrected or changed again. Meanwhile the shawl sits, awaiting new inspiration.
Since I was too undecided to finish the Outlander shawl, I looked around for another UFO that might be finished quickly and set my sights on the Stephen West shawl I had started for my friend Jude last summer. (It's a surprise, not yarn she purchased herself, so she won't know how long it was in the works unless she reads this.) I had left it partway through the last section, before the final increase for the 12 row border. Those last rows had over 700 stitches, so although it was easy enough to knit in public or while helping my friends on a knitting afternoon, it was still a lot of knitting. Finally, the pattern calls for a picot bind off, which prolongs getting the shawl off the needles to an almost unbearable level of anticipation. But I love the shape, size, and look of this shawl so much that again I'm thinking of starting again to knit one for myself. Knitting the first version in colours that I don't wear myself seems to be the only guarantee that a project will be gifted as originally planned. The yarn in this one is Knit Picks Stroll Handpainted in the Hayride colorway. I thought the dusty pink would be more rust, but the gold and green are definitely Jude's colours, so hopefully she'll think the bit of pink will work okay for her.
My nephew is getting married in August and I helped my mom pick out a beautiful crocheted lace sheath dress for the occasion. It has short sleeves, but she is still worried that it will be cool and asked if I had a shawl that would work with the dress, which is a jewel tone somewhere between a jade and a teal colour. Most of my shawls are on the purple, blue, burgundy side of the colour wheel, not a neutral in the bunch. Although I've often thought it would be useful to have a shawl that would go with everything, once in a shop, the colorful yarns always seduce me. I wanted to start a cream coloured shawl immediately, so I popped into Carol's shop and bought the only yarn that was the right colour in the right weight, Berroco Comfort Sock. I realized it was acrylic but thought it could work; it felt nice, and Mom's not a yarn snob at all. So I chose a stole pattern suitably named Diamonds for Mother, and dove in.
I knew the yarn wouldn't block out like wool, but I took the piece off the needles after I had knitted the first edge and one repeat of the chart and blocked it to see how it would look. It flattened out and opened up nicely, so I kept going. The stole in this pattern was narrower than some others I looked at, so I added one extra repeat of the chart. It is a very lovely design, classic, simple, and elegant. The designer, Shui Kuen Kozinski, suggests an alternative method for making the nupps which is quite painless compared to the traditional method, and I think it gives an equally good result. I will use her method from now on and fear nupps no longer. I can't say enough good things about this pattern. But I wish I had found a better yarn. The Comfort sock does not drape or hold its shape as well as my shawls made with better fibre, as I should have known. All that work is really worth a better yarn.
I finished the stole last Thursday with about three weeks to go until the wedding. I'm crazy enough to think that I can still make something else in that time. In my stash I found some Sunbeam Shantung, long discontinued, that I inherited from my aunt when she died of cancer in 1988. I pulled out the pattern for my largest triangular shawl, and started knitting. Three days in, this is what I've got.
Draper is an easy pattern, and I should finish quickly. I don't like the colour of this yarn as well as the cream (it looks more oatmeal in person), and I hope it softens up after soaking, but the body of the fabric is much more pleasing. I'll take both shawls down for the wedding, and we'll see which one Mom likes best.
Addi, my 2 1/2 year old granddaughter, recently came up to me while I was knitting, and said, "Knitting. ... Mitts?" I smiled and replied, "Actually, it's a shawl." She looked at me quizzically and repeated, "Sawl?", paused a moment, then said, "No sawl. Mitts.", and walked off.
I think I will be done with shawls for a while. Is it already too late to start on all those summer sweaters I was dreaming of?