Living here in the temperate south – as opposed to the tropical north! – I am in awe that well into October / Spring we still need our winter woollies. The light filled days linger until so late. The trees are smothered in vivid apple green. Flowers are dancing prettily on every street. And yet, that wind is still chilly chilly whilst the temperature loiters in the mid teens. Nights are especially cool. So are mornings. Good shawl weather.
The Thursday after Simon and Toph died, I met Julian in town for lunch. I didn’t fancy sitting at home all by myself, dwelling on the terrible sadness of the week, so hopped on a train and shared some of the day with a sympathetic and loving soul. We ate pizza at a lovely Italian alley-way restaurant, chatted about the good things we would do the coming weekend, and when the conversation inevitably turned back to our dear little, so so missed doggies, tried to focus on all the wonderful stories we hold in our hearts about their lives. It was a bit sad nevertheless, and on my way back to the train station, I slipped into one of Melbourne’s famous fabric and wool stores – Clegs.
There I spied huge hanks of hand painted wool from New Zealand. The colours were so very pretty – I was instantly drawn to the brash oranges, reds, pinks and yellows but when I saw a bundle of soft heathery pinks and greys and lilacs and greens named “Spring”, I decided that was just the gentleness I needed.
As for the shawl – well, what else do you do with neither a large nor a small quantity of wool bought on the spur of the moment, but knit a shawl :-) I do so love knitting shawls. I love how they grow and grow – forming the point of the triangle as well as stretching their arms out further and further, so that when finished, they nestle so perfectly around my shoulders, hugging me warmly. My purple one that Abby wore recently is so big that I can cross it over my chest and tie it on my waist at the back. It’s a marvellously peasanty look but oh so warm and perfect for when I’m cooking or else wise busily occupied.
This one, Multnomah, offered the opportunity to try out a new techniqe – the Feather and Fan lace stitch. As mentioned previously, it was a wee challenge settling into its rhythm, and if you look closely, you’ll see that one of the earlier rows is extra wide – oops!. But, chanting softly under my breath, I quickly found the pattern just flowed from my fingers.
I’ve fringed all my previous shawls – must be the 1970s child in me – but with the lovely curves and tumbles of the feather and fan pattern, tassles would have looked a right fright. Nevertheless, me being me – that is, I possess utterly no sense of “less is more” – I couldn’t possibly leave it plain. So I used a picot cast off. An extra big one. I cast on four stitches using the cable cast on, then cast off 8 and so on so forth. It took AGES! Almost all the day actually – with the wind really picking up outside and the temperature dropping with sun, I began to think I would never get it round my shoulders for the evening. But I did.
All done. Lovely. Now I’ve got another one all ready to go. Hee! hee! hee!. It’s a lovely hand spun and dyed wool from just outside Brisbane in an ice turquoise blue and I’m leaning towards this pattern. It will make such a lovely beach shawl to snatch up when the evening cools off during the coming Summer holidays. But first, there’s another baby bonnet to finish and these glorious fingerless mitts to knit.
Oh how I do love knitting. I think the very act of knitting is just as marvellous as the end product – don’t you :-)