Sunday, April 05, 2009

Shawl Seduction

Shawls
I seem to have succumbed to the lure of the shawl. I have found myself mostly buying shawl quantities of yarn and the sole Ravelry patterns that make my heart go humpa-pumpa are tagged with 'shawl', and 'wrap'. This is quite hilarious to me as when it comes to wearing a shawl, I have absolutely no idea how it is best done. I can't even imagine it. Sometimes when I see a pattern, I envision myself wrapped in a shawl as I lead students through a difficult yet enlightening reading of Rimbaud while grasping a hot cup of tea for warmth. This vision usually gives way to the recognition that during class I tend to be covered in chalk, many students didn't do the reading and are therefore texting and not into the whole close reading thing, and that I'm more of a vending machine coffee person anyway (DON'T JUDGE there's a secret machine on campus that makes coffee that tastes like European train coffee). Next comes the unfortunate realization that the shawl would most likely be there to cover up the lunch stains on the front shelf rather than to shield me from the draft . Alas...I still love knitting the shawl as it is the most gratifying of knits. After blocking it you find yourself marveling at it, the same way that a non-knitter would. "Gee, I really made that...". And no hand knit gift is more warmly received.

Leaf Lace Shawl in Silky Malabrigo 'Narciso'
Right now I have two on the go that are at various stages of completion. I began the Leaf Lace Shawl a little over a month ago thinking that I'd wear it for Easter. Ha! Today I realized that Easter was a week from today...but won't this be great for Memorial Day? I'm doing it out of some Silky Malabrigo 'Narciso' on size 9s and I sort of wish I would have gone down a needle size as the 9s feel gigantic in my hands, but I have made it this far and am not about to rip it out. This pattern is one of the most intuitive patterns ever--at any given time, you just know right where you are, and I like that.

Icarus in Colinette Jitterbug 'Whirly Fig'
This weekend I was casting about for more patterns to start and thus began Icarus, i.e., the shawl that has tested the patience of many. I am attracted to it because à la Ishbel, the first 40 hours or so are spent on a giant, fairly plain almost-as-mindless-as-stockinette section. I figure once I hit the pattern section, tedium will have fried my brain and I'll be ready for something new. I chose two skeins of Jitterbug 'Whirly Fig' that had been languishing in the stash for a while. I'm not putting an end date on this one, but since my Labor Day is wide open, why not spend it blocking a shawl?

I also have my eyes on the Springtime Bandit. KG has yet to steer me wrong, and as Ashley pointed out, the model on the pattern might have found the optimum way to wear a shawl. Of course I'm afraid that I'll look like the Frito Bandito or one of those doughy people that have the 'dress like a baby in diapers and a bib' fetish, but she and the other Flickr peeps make assurances to the contrary. I inexplicably have no yarn that would fit the fill for this pattern, so maybe this can be the pretext under which I go to MDS&W this year...



31 comments:

Chris Tolomei (alicethelma) said...

You've got me going on shawls as well and I swear I have made socks last year out of that same shade of pink Jitterbug. I started the Kiri Shawl about a week ago and you're absolutely right. You can see where you are at all times. I love lace patterns that I can memorize. Makes me feel so smart. Oh and Elizabeth is knitting Springtime bandit. I plan on wearing the shawl at my parent's property in the Bay Area where it can get frightfully windy.

An Abundance of Lisa said...

Oh, I love all those shawls. I think I need to cast on for another soon!

Ashley said...

"one of those doughy people that have the 'dress like a baby in diapers and a bib' fetish"

No you will not. But Jesus christ, woman, that is about the funniest thing I have ever read on the internets.

yahaira said...

I really hope I'm not one of those "doughy people that have the 'dress like a baby in diapers and a bib' fetish" or look like a bandito!

for the springtime bandit I would suggest a light worsted yarn and maybe something with a little silk or even bamboo in it.

I love the colors of both new projects!

yahaira said...

oh and the model is kate :) she knows how to rock those shawls for sure

emileeknits said...

I'm on a shawl kick too. I just cast on for Ishbel yesterday!

sophanne said...

That is some beautiful fabulous knitting going on there. If it's o.k. with you, I"ll hang onto the first image rather than the lunch on the top shelf one.

Clearly you need to re-stash at MDSW.

knithound brooklyn said...

looking like a baby diaper and bib fetishist? OMG, too funny!!

I think I am about to succumb to an Ishbel thanks to you and Yahaira

Jennifer said...

Oh, the front shelf - I hear you, sister.

SJ said...

The secret to wearing shawls is all about the attitude. You've got to wear it so that bottom point is slightly off center (i.e., not pointing directly toward the, er, caboose) and the ends flung just so around your neck.

I'll admit that I do occasionally wear a shawl traditionally, but that's mostly at home when I'm cold. Really, I love knitting lace shawls, but most of them never leave the house.

La Mañosa said...

Wow, you really take that lack of student interest in stride. :) I'm usually offended that they would try to text their friends in the middle of class.

Wouldn't it be fun if we could text our friends during student presentations? :)

I've also had my eye on the Springtime Bandit and was excited to see that there is a KAL on Ravelry. I'd love to see how yours turns out.

kate said...

it IS me in the pattern photos (thanks!) I wear triangular shawls all. the. time -- like a scarf, but less chance of getting a wayward end caught in a door/car/train....and the key is size, just big enough, but not *too* big to avoid the crazed spinster look. Add a cardigan, something striped and you are good to go!

nicole said...

Shawls are the new cowls (and an excuse to buy MORE yarn, woohoo)

mooncalf said...

European train coffee. And that is a good thing? This must be some kind of MAINLAND European train coffee and can't possibly be the burnt mud flavoured offering purveyed on British trains.

Sorry, I know this was a post about shawls.

Anonymous said...

I wear them as scarves (like Kate) in the Spring and Fall...I've been wearing my Ishbel for a week or so now and it is the perfect thing for in-between weather!

It's true...there is nothing more satisfying than knitting a shawl!

At Home Mommy Knits said...

Happy Knitting on all your shawls! I have yet to knit one up but as soon as I finish my current projects I have a pattern and yarn waiting patiently for me (it will be my first one).

Veronique said...

Oh lace, how we love thee...
I think the trick to wearing a shawl is to not think about it. Fussing will ruin the nonchalant look!

Angelika said...

Your problem sounds just like mine. I love knitting the shawls and enjoy it when you turn that bowl of spaghetti into a beautiful shawl, but being a t-shirt and jeans girl myself, I don't see myself being able to pull it off to wear them. What a dilemma.

gale (she shoots sheep shots) said...

Best thoughts-on-shawls post ever! And once can not understate the importance of a handknit that is beautiful, elegant and covers up food stains.
Go wild!

tiennie said...

Me too! Love knitting shawls, don't know how to wear them, wish I could! :)

Yarnhog said...

Bwah ha ha ha ha! Just seeing the name "Icarus" causes immediate, uncontrollable hysteria in me. I think I may have a little PTSD where that pattern is concerned. I still haven't finished another lace shawl, although I've cast on for Swallowtail twice (ripped both times), and was seriously considering casting on a third time last night before sanity reasserted itself with a vengeance. But oh, how beautiful they are!

peaknits said...

What great shawls - blocking over spring break sounds more like work than break:) I am mid-Ishbel right now - and am short a couple of stitches all of a sudden and can't even figure out what happened...ugh. It may have to marinate.

Sonya said...

I must conquer my shawl fear. Those are just beautiful. I won't judge your coffee machine habit. I've stopped at a hospital before just to run in and get a cap-machine-o from their cardiac lounge.

amandacathleen said...

I've been on a shawl kick lately too, I want to cast on for forest canopy soon!
Your leaf lace shawl is so dang pretty in yellow!

Deborah said...

You've inspired me! I just queued Leaf Lace Shawl. Thanks.

kim said...

You are the mad shawl queen! While oh-so-much fun to make, I can't understand wtf to do with them later. I think I shall stick with the wrap vs. the shawl - not as much fun, but much more wearable.

schrodinger said...

Like you, while I'd really like to know what I'm doing, I have absolutely no bloody clue what to do with a shawl. But they sure is pretty things :)

Jodi said...

I, too, have succumbed to the shawl's siren song quite a few times recently. I still don't really know what the heck to do with them, either!

earthchick said...

I am right with you. I've about decided that shawls are my second favorite thing to make (right after sweaters), and for the same reasons you name. When I knit lace, I just feel so in touch with the craft aspect of knitting. I don't really have good words for it, I just know I like it.

But yeah, wearing shawls? I'm not so much with that. I wear them for formal occasions. And I do wear Cozy around the house on cold mornings. But that's about it.

But that's not stopping me from making them. I can't wait to see yours!

Amy said...

I wisj I had the patience for stuff like this!

gleek said...

shawl seduction is right! ishbel calls to me every time i see a new one.