Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Shawl Obsessed?

Someone (and I'm sorry I can't remember who) pointed out that I might be a little bit "shawl obsessed". It's true that I have made a lot of shawls, but I didn't make my first one until 2 or 3 years ago and I've been knitting for 40 years.

That big "four 0" looks horrible written down - I didn't think I was that old. I always thought my first teacher, a wonderful lady by the name of Mrs Allen, taught me to knit; turns out it was the woman in the chip shop. All this time I've been harbouring romantic thoughts of me sitting at the front of the class and Mrs Allen interrupting the story-telling session to sort out my dropped stitches, when in reality it was, "A bag of chips? There you are. Don't forget it's in, over, through, off." All romantic notions are now shattered. Thank you, mother.

I digress. I haven't always knitted shawls and to prove it here is the five-year-sweater:

It's called the five-year-sweater because that's about how long it took me to make.

I originally bought the denim cotton at Bobbins in Whitby. I bought the pattern and I set about it with a will. If you look at the pattern you'll see it is only supposed to be patterned on the yoke section. I couldn't bear the thought of all that plain stocking stitch, so I decided to do the pattern all the way up, both front and back. (See, I've never been able to just do the pattern, there always has to be a bit of input from me. Some people call this meddling, I call it individuality.)

Somehow, for some reason that I still don't understand I went off knitting. Yes, that's right. I just stopped knitting one day and took to cross-stitch and embroidery, a bit of quilting but never the crochet. I can but I don't. Years later, I found the bits of the sweater, still on the needles. I thought I might as well finish it, so I did and there it is.

What this picture doesn't show is where I crossed one of the cables the wrong way, slap bang in the centre of the back. Now I know how to snip the yarn in the middle of the cable and cross it the right way. If you want to learn how to do it look at this excellent article by Judy Gibson . Of course, then I didn't know, so the cable stayed as it was. (It's a design feature, I tell you.) It's been washed so many times over the years and is starting to fade like a pair of jeans, just like they said it would, that I think uncrossing and recrossing the "correct" way would just make the boo-boo more obvious, so I've left it as it is. Let the knitting police stop me if they dare!

Clare's present is almost finished but then I ran out of yarn, which could have been the result of my mis-reading the pattern and making the secret thing slightly (but only slightly) larger than the original. It could also be a result of sloppy editing, or writing or something. Whatever it is, it did necessitate a trip to the LYS, where I see Nicky has printed out my "Knitting Police" post and put it up in the shop, so everyone can have a good laugh. Thanks, Nicky.

I've done two repeats of the "Birch Shawl", which is simplicity itself. Great TV knitting.

Did you look at that picture? What does she look like? It drives me bonkers when they take "fashion shots" of knitting. Don't they know we want to look at the pattern; we want to compare it with what's on the needles; we want to be able to see how much ease is allowed, if the pattern doesn't tell us. I feel like shouting, "Stop lounging about in that field and stand up straight, now turn round, and put your arms out while you're at it." Yes, I like to see knitting photographed on real people (and by that I mean real people, not stick insects) but I also like to be able to see the knitting.

Hello! Rowan (chief offender), Colinette (even worse), anybody listening?

1 comment:

littlelixie said...

|I don't know if it helps but at 40 you're only half way there and you've got all the hard stuff like teething etc out the way. Now you've got (st least) 40 years to perfect your knitting. On a different topic - more than 2000 stitched on your needles to cast off? OMGT. Respect.