Knitting a Shawl

So I've written about current projects on this blog, and I think every knitting project that I've talked about thus far I haven't yet finished. In a year or more. Rather than disappoint, I have another post about a new knitting project, but it comes with a bit of a story. Sorry to the members of the queer-knit-list, as this will be something of an old story.

In the summer of 2005 I lived in Kansas City with my grandmother. It was after my first year in college, and it was a great experience. I got a job in a yarn store, I knit a lot, and it was a great experience. I'm an only grandchild on that side of the family, and I think it was a really good experience. That spring-into summer I was really big into knitting shawls, and I think from that April-to-August I think I made 5 fairly large Pi Shawls. (I think I also made two or three sweaters during this period as well, it was intense). One of the Pi shawls I made was a red one out of sport-weight alpaca, and my grandmother took to it like a fish to water.

I should comment on the shawl before I go any further. It's bright red. Really bright read. I think "stop-sign" or "fire-truck" begins to capture it. It's also fairly heavy as a shawl. While fingering weight makes a nice shawl, I'm often of the opinion that sport weight is a bit too heavy for shawls. Something about drape or heft. I'm not sure. To complicate matters, I attempted to do a knit and purl pattern (don't ask). Words to the wise: texture in alpaca doesn't work because the fabric is too limp, and furthermore texture in shawls that are knitted loosely doesn't work. I also attempted at some point to do big lace-diamonds, which I can't explain or justify. The biggest error, however, is the fact that I ran out of yarn before the shawl was done, and rather than pick out the cast off, I pulled out the previous few rounds and used that yarn to finish off the bind off. So there's kind of a notch missing out of one part of the shawl.

So it's an odd object.

The second part speaks to my grandmother. Her style for many years has been to wear jackets and shirts with nice patterns in the blue-purple spectrum over black slacks. In short, not very "grandmotherly," for years and years. A year ago, I spent a couple of weeks with her, after she had a knee problem (fractured knee cap!) and she was wearing a brace and she dug out a skirt because her pants wouldn't fit over the knee brace, and it was clear that the skirt was at least as awkward as the knee brace for her. As I think about it I don't think it would be unreasonable to suggest that she doesn't own any (other) objects of red clothing.

So she took this shawl with her every where. To the movies, to restaurants, on vacation. Because like any good shawl, it was just the right thing to provide easy and accessible warmth. Everywhere.

I've not blogged a lot about this, but it's been a tough year for her (and us as well). The aforementioned broken knee cap, were the last straw for those knees, and she decided that it was finally the right time to do knee replacements--having previously decided that she was too busy to take the time to get her knees replaced. Knee replacements are hard, and this was complicated by the need to do a repair on the second one (which was even harder to recover from, for a lot of reasons). I've been back and forth between the city she lives in and the city I live in at least 5 times this year (and my father has done the trip about as much). Thankfully things are looking up, and she's set to go back home (from rehab) right as rain in a bit less than a month.

I decided a couple of weeks ago, that I really ought to make an updated shawl for her. I chose alpaca, this time in light and dark gray that I had in the stash, and rather than do a pattern, I'm just knitting it plain, with a stripe of light gray before the end. I'm even doing increases via the "make one by knitting into the front and back of the stitch" method, rather than yarn overs (so that there's really no open work in the shawl). And I've been planning so this time

I showed her the work in progress a few weeks ago when I went for a visit and she seemed quite impressed. So I trust the final product will go over well. The knitting has been really pretty quick. I worked pretty steady the first week, and I've been pretty consistent about it the past few weeks, but not quite as steady. I expect that I'll be done in another couple of weeks. And of course, I'll post pictures. Right now it looks kinda like a gray sack/awkward beret. I'll spare you, for now. But we'll be in touch.

Onward and Upward!

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