The Grey Shawl

Back around June, I started knitting some patterns as a test knitter for a book a friend of mine  is co-writing.   The finished projects will be photographed and the pictures will be included in this new book.  So I was (still am) excited to participate.

I knit two hats which are awesome hats, and I can’t wait to be able to show pictures.

Then there was the shawl.  The grey shawl.  I loved (still do) the idea of a lace shawl out of a bulky weight yarn.  We used Knit Picks yarn for this, and I really like this grey color.

I blocked the shawl yesterday.  It took me 5 months to work my way through this process.

There were a few problems along the way.  I was test knitting the pattern, so it was natural that there might be a few kinks to work out with the pattern.   The problem with me was that I am still gaining confidence with knitting lace and so when I ran into a problem, I didn’t really know how to diagnose it.  Fortunately my friend Susan (who is co-writing the book) patiently helped me several times.

For awhile, it was one step forward two steps back.  I messed up on the double decrease which has to be done right to look right in the pattern.  There were a couple of other things along the way.  I have forgotten the specifics (or blocked them out).  It’s probably better that way.

For the final part of the shawl, I had to knit the border.  I had to pick up stitches all the way around the shawl.  So by the time I had them all picked up all the way around on my circular needles, I figured (assumed – never good) I would be just knitting round and round.  I did a few rounds, and then I looked at the picture that Susan had sent me of the border of the original shawl.  The pattern had a garter stitch not stockinette.  I really glared at that shawl then.  I may have thrown it down the stairs into the basement.

But then I realized it’s about the process (yes, that’s what I always tell myself) and I tinked back to the beginning of the border.  Then I did back and forth rows.  Then I bound off.  And then – I blocked it.

And I learned another valuable lesson.  The things that are not the easiest can bring the most reward.  I don’t think I’ve ever been so proud of a project.  I draped it around me and immediately took a picture.  (I love the feel of that bulky weight shawl – but it still is very open and lacy).  I’m grinning like crazy in that pic.

It’s one of the prettiest things I have ever knitted.

I gained lots more confidence in knitting lace.

I learned to calculate and adjust as needed to make the pattern work!

I learned about a different type of shawl construction.

I learned a new really cool stretchy bind-off.

I can’t post any pictures yet, but here’s just a little piece of it:

Today I am starting a new knitting adventure.  It’s the Christmas Advent Calendar Scarf.  It’s a knit along on Ravelry.  It’s lace and I am using some Jojoland light fingering wool that I bought back in Arkadelphia. I’ll post some pictures in the next few days after I get it going.  I don’t know if I will be able to keep up with the daily clues, but I’ll give it a try!

So that’s knitting.  I’m working on way too many projects, but I have declared a yarn buying moratorium until I finish some of the projects.  (Of course, I might make certain exceptions).

It’s snowing like crazy here today.  Davey and I ran to the store this morning, but we are staying put for the rest of the day.  We got out and shoveled this morning.  It was my first time to shovel snow.  That’s some kind of good exercise.

This afternoon we will make soup and a pumpkin cake.  I let Davey pick out the recipe.  I think his choice was based on the photograph which shows a thick white glaze on the cake.  I got a new cookbook the other day (thanks again to my friend Shawna!) which should help me bake better at this higher altitude.  It’s called Pie in the Sky.  It is really neat because the author tested all of these recipes at about 4 different altitudes and then adjusted the recipes accordingly.  I’ve not had the greatest luck baking here, so I am very much looking forward to trying it out!

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