Saturday, August 19, 2006

Shawl geometry

I've been up to my eyebrows with work, plus planning for the Nevada State Fair, so haven't much in the way of fibers to report. I spent much time at the DMV today, taking care of the Lorax's registration that I .. er.. neglected to pay on time (spaced it while I was concentrating on my Kiwi project). I did get some knitting in on the socks while at the DMV.

During the next week I'll be deeply immersed in State Fair business, so here is a past project to fill the gap until the Fair reports start rolling out.

For some reason I cannot explain, I am forever starting to knit lace shawls. Never mind that I can't think of any occasion where I would wear a lace shawl. So far I have started several and unraveled almost as many before they reached shawl-like status. Several years ago I did actually complete one. It is the "Super Spiral Shawl" pattern from the hugely inspiring "A Gathering of Lace" by Meg Swansen. The book features this enticing picture of Meg in a bright red model.
The pattern is actually very easy and very rhythmic, despite the "intermediate" skill level listed in the book. The resulting shawl is one of those items that gives a lot of bang for the buck in that it looks way more complicated than it is. I chose to knit it in a commercially spun cashmere-merino so it feels great. It won a lovely "Best of Division" ribbon at the State Fair that year.

Now the reality: This is a totally useless shawl. Being round, it either doesn't stay on or has to be folded in half, making the pattern disappear. It is mostly open work, so it isn't warm. the open points on the border catch on anything (or any cat) you are passing. Being black, it attracts white cat hair as if it has a charged magnetic field. And being round, it doesn't even fold up nicely for storing in the closet. Since I finished it, its only outings have been to be displayed artfully across a table at various Fairs. Then it goes back in the cupboard.

Hopefully having learned a few things from that project, I am now knitting a rectangular lace shawl in a falling leaves pattern. I may never find a good occasion to wear it, but at least it will not be round.


Sharon said...

I haven't been bitten by the shawl bug yet - it doesn't look like a project for the mathetically challenged.

beryl said...

I love the black useless shawl. It would look nice as a wall hanging. I suspect that most lace shawls spend their long lives in dressers and cedar chests. Maybe the reason is the journey?

the other sharon said...

What about draping it on the sofa or chair? Yeah, I know, cats, but still, cats deserve shawls too, right?