Friday, September 28, 2012

The Story of a Shawl

As a Knitter, there are 2 types of projects I work on, as do most Knitters with a capital K. There are the quick and dirty projects, like a hat, or mittens, or even a sweater you may knit because, well you want to be warm. This is thought of as the "product" knit. Then, there are the projects you embark on because of the experience, or enjoyment, knowledge building exercise or zen-like feeling you may get from just knitting. There is also more often than not, the combination of these two. The story of this shawl is  the biggest process knit I've completed, so I'll share the whole story with you which may be a little long winded, but, this piece has it has a lot more meaning in the stitches to me than most of my handknits. 

 I should probably start with the yarn itself. Last November, the Tall Guy took a trip to Denver to see friends. He went hiking, checked out local breweries and did other such things while I, at pregnant enough-to-not-feel-up-for-a-trip-to-Denver stayed home and relaxed. In addition to these activities, he took time to stop at a few yarn stores and brought me home a few skeins (yes, he's mine and I'm keeping him!) as a consolation gift. Neither of us truly had any inkling that less than a year later, these yarn shops he wandered into would now be my local yarn shops. The burnt orange yarn in this shawl came from Fancy Tiger here in Denver. (Madtosh sock, saffron). The brown is the same colorway on a different base I used for knitting my Best Friend's wedding shawl (rav. link) last year 
(Madtosh sock, twig). 
The yarn sat in my stash while I waited for just-the-right-pattern to come along.  About midway through my pregnancy, the entire knitting community was talking about the Stripe Study Pattern. Knowing, as any slightly crazy pregnant knitter does one must have a project when heading into labor and this is what I settled on and it came with us to the hospital.  When the time came, however Silas had other plans and there was no time for knitting.  

The day we came home from the hospital, I cast on and as we struggled to figure out the basics of being a family, the rows of garter stitch were soothing to my somewhat addled new-mom brain,  most often at 3am. 

 Little by little, I added to the shawl. Our parents came to visit, my best friend was in town, my step sister came and countless friends brought food, gifts and love.

Quickly my days were filled up with Silas and I was knitting a lot less.

In June, a trip to New Hampshire, with plenty of family wanting to hold a wee one allowed me to add a few inches.  This same week, my Tall Guy got a call and we were suddenly starting to think about a possible move.

A few weeks later, the  shawl stayed in my carry on bag the entire time we were in Denver, scoping out our potential new state.

As I returned to work in July, I rode the Metro once again and added a few more inches during what was a short six weeks back at work until I resigned and we loaded up and headed west.

I was packed tightly into the backseat of the Jeep with Silas (it's a long story) and I trudged through the border with it's incredibly long rows as rolled across the country.

Finally, we made it to Colorado and a day or so later I finished the shawl.

It was only about a week and a half later that we were boarding a plane for New Hampshire for our close friends, Rob and Meghan's wedding.  My goal, which in March seemed like a hilariously easy deadline was completed with just ten days to spare. I had a full size shawl for our friends wedding and damn, New England didn't let me down I needed that shawl!

(photo cred- Nick Polt) 

 Those ignorant to the world of handknits say time and again "Why do you do that?" or "Why waste your time when you can just buy such things in a store?" and this shawl is my answer. It is so much more than the wool on my shoulders. It will always take me straight back to the early days of Silas, our move across country and one hell of a dance-party wedding on the shore of Lake Winnipesaukee.  


  1. Yes! THIS! What we knit is so much more than just the wool or just the item. This shawl is a particularly lovely example of that.

  2. I love this, Pia! It made me tear up a little, too. :)