A Very Special Shawl
As part of some work I was commissioned by my mom for Christmas gifts, I was asked to do some socks for a particular friend of the family. This was one of the family friends that I have very fond memories of growing up, so I knew I wanted to not just do socks, but special socks. After presenting some options to my mom, she picked out a pattern and the yarns, and I sat down to work.
Only, it didn’t. There was an issue with the pattern that I had problems resolving. So I adapted it, but there were additional issues with the yarn. Though the same brand and type of sock yarn, one of the yarns was just enough thinner to create a problem in the color work. So I adapted again and started over. Again. And again. It just didn’t seem to work. Rather, it worked, but I wasn’t happy with it for some reason. Usually I’ll get to a point when starting socks where I say “yup, this is right”. It didn’t happen. I kept having doubts, including about the fit. The whole project just didn’t feel right. I pondered it and consulted with my mom, and we agreed to change the product to a shawl, design to be my choosing.
A shawl or capelet would need less shaping, and be free of some of the other problems I became concerned with about the socks. So I started looking through my stitch books, and quickly made some decisions on how to start. I knew I wanted top down, and I knew I wanted circle, like the mandalas she was so fond of, but open in the front for ease of wear.
I decided I wanted to start with the blue I had. And turtles.
The lighting where this picture was taken makes this appear more purple than it is. I had to do some adapting because I wanted the turtles facing up, and I was knitting top down. So I had to start knitting from the head, rather than the tail like the stitch pattern I had. I also knew that I wanted to do most of my increases by the end of this section.
I also had a red, and had seen a green I thought would go with them nicely. I knew that just the blue and red would not be enough if I was doing a solid pattern, rather than lace. I wanted hearts, and I wanted trees. I decided to do the hearts first. Some pointing up, some pointing down.
As I was finishing this up, I realized I was running out of yarn, but I also liked the idea of the hearts going into the green, and the trees, which I knew this friend loved.
The green panel I knew I wanted to be mirrored more or less from one side to the other, so I reversed the order of the trees. This gave me an additional problem of a set of stitches in the center back, and what to do with them. I combined a couple of stitch patterns and came up with this.
As I was knitting the tree panel, I realized it wasn’t going to be quite as long as I thought it should be, so I went in search of another yarn, thinking that purple would be a good thing to go it. I did not find a solid at my local yarn shop, but I did find a variegated that tied the other colors together. I decided that I wanted a slightly lacy pattern for the bottom panel, but then realized that I wanted the trees to have roots, so I threw some of those in.
I liked a “flame” lace pattern, that could also be reversed for a different look, and that’s what I finished with.
One of the things that happens when knitting for other people is sometimes you’re never really sure what the person thinks about it. I thought that this friend would like the creation, and my mother also thought she would really like it. A couple of days ago I got a really lovely letter saying that she’s worn it almost constantly since she got it, and how much she really loves it. One thing that I did not know, was how much she loves turtles, it simply seemed right when I made that first decision. I hadn’t been thinking about her home town Sacred Heart when I decided on the hearts either.
It came together in what seemed a haphazard way, but ended up being just ideal!