May 10, 2010

Mother ’s Day Shawl

A good six months ago, my mom asked me to make her a little shrug, something to toss over her shoulders as she meandered between her portable classroom and the main building at the elementary school where she teaches.

After trying several shrug patterns and more than one triangular shawl with varying degrees of failure, I settled on a rectangular leaf patterned shawl – perfect to toss over her shoulders, it would drape down her arms and keep her warm while looking GORGEOUS no matter where she wore it.

By the time I started my Minimalist Knitting adventure I was on the last skein of yarn I’d need for the shawl, so this gorgeous project does not knock down my totals any. It did however knock down a lot of my patience.

For whatever reason I struggled with the pattern – some rows would end a bit differently than written every time, and I had to be constantly counting stitches to make sure I hadn’t added any additional ones or accidentally lost a few.

There is also no chart for this pattern – some knitters find it maddening to not have a chart to work from, but I tend to work from written instructions rather than a chart, so this didn’t bother me in the least. Having a chart might have made parts of the pattern make more sense from a visual perspective, but I doubt it would have made a difference.

Any issues with the pattern were tossed aside as I watched this shawl take shape, however. I’m not much for blocking {please don’t tell the Knitting Police!} but this shawl was one that required it.

I steam blocked as I went, using my ironing board and setting my iron to full steam and the wool setting. I loved watching the pattern open up, the lacey leaves form right before my eyes as the blocking gave this shawl loft and room. {Plus, it would have been impossible to gauge the finished length without blocking as I went.}

At the end of the day, I am very much a “smaller projects” kind of knitter – hats, mittens, the occasional baby sweater. I love projects that take less than a week and can be knit up with fewer than three skeins of yarn.

Knitting this shawl was both an exercise in patience and a grand experience – I’m all set to knit up a few warm cardigans for myself and can’t wait to start work on my next baby blanket after knitting through a project for a full month. The ultimate bonus? My mom loved it!

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