Pattern: Radiance Shawl by Helen Stewart
Yarn: Schaefer Yarn Company Andrea in the Elene Piscopia colorway (.74 skein)
Needles: US 4
Date started: August 17, 2013
Date completed: September 22, 2013
This is a lace shawl that is knit top-down, from the center out.
This is my first lace shawl, knit with lace weight yarn. It was pretty easy. There are only three lace sections, two of which are of the same stitch pattern. It was a great first lace shawl, and it was the perfect pattern for the highly variegated yarn I used.
I had seen some complaints on Ravelry that the yarn wasn’t colorfast. After the Multnomah debacle, I decided to pin this shawl out dry, then spray it to block it. It turned out well. Who knows if it would have remained colorfast had I soaked it. It doesn’t matter now.
I wasn’t planning on knitting this when I did, but last month I just felt the need to use this yarn. I started stalking patterns on Ravelry. I had picked a different one, but then I saw this one and thought it would work better. I started it at my friend’s lake house in Michigan, but ended up frogging it when I got home after making a mistake and dropping a bunch of lace stitches.
The big issue is why I felt I had to knit with this yarn when I did. My friend Mimi patiently listened to me go on a long rant about my knitting philosophy and changes I felt had to be made. I’m going to repeat part of that rant here, so Mimi, if you are reading this post, you can stop now!
One area where I have been disappointed in my knitting practice over the past few years (and there is more than one area, but expect to see more of that in upcoming posts) is that I haven’t used knitting gifts I have received in a timely manner. Over the years, friends and family members have given me various skeins of yarn, pattern books, magazine subscriptions, etc. Some have gotten use, and in some cases rather quickly. For example, I used the skein of Socks That Rock that a friend got me, as well as a skein of Studio June yarn. I’ve used various project bags, pattern books and magazines I have received.
However, there are other books I haven’t knit from, and there are many skeins of yarn that people have bought me that I haven’t used. I have nothing against those yarns, in fact I still love all of them. But I have a large stash, and I can’t knit with all of the yarns all at once. The fact that I haven’t used them all is by no means a reflection on what I think of the yarn. In all cases, I want to make sure I find the perfect pattern to go with yarn that was gifted to me so I can get maximum enjoyment out of both the knitting process and the finished object.
Sounds good, right? Well, about six weeks ago I started feeling this immense sense of guilt over not using some of the knitting-related gifts I’ve been given in a timely fashion. There were a few gifts in particular I was feeling guilty about.
There are two books Tim bought me that I haven’t used yet. One is Stitch ‘N Bitch Crochet: The Happy Hooker by Debbie Stoller. I told Tim several years ago that I was planning to learn how to crochet, and that I thought there were good patterns in that book. He bought it for me. I still don’t know how to crochet. Every year I say it’s going to be the Year of Crochet for me, and it keeps not being the Year of Crochet. 2014?? I even have yarn in my stash that I want to use for one of the projects in that book, but has that motivated me to learn to crochet? No. There is so much to knit after all. Okay, so I’m considering taking a crochet class at a local yarn store, so maybe I will get on this sooner than I think.
The second book Tim bought me that I’m feeling guilty about is Amigurumi Knits: Patterns for 20 Cute Mini Knits by Hansi Singh. Again, I mentioned to him that I wanted the book because I think amigurumi is cute, but as mentioned above, I don’t know how to crochet. As soon as I got the book I knew exactly what I wanted to make first. I planned on knitting all of the vegetable patterns, and putting the finished objects into a silver collander and use it as a centerpiece for our dining room table. And guess what? I’m still planning on it. I have made some progress, such as buying all of the different yarns I need to make all of the vegetables. But they aren’t going to knit themselves.
Finally, I was feeling guilty about not using the skein of yarn I used to make this shawl. I bought this yarn at a local yarn store called Idea Studio (where, coincidentally, I’m considering taking them crochet class). My mom got me a gift certificate there for my birthday. At first I was looking at cheaper yarns, trying to get the biggest bang for my gift certificate buck. But then I reconsidered, and decided to buy yarn that I would never consider purchasing because I thought it was too expensive. This yarn is silk, and it was $57 for one skein of yarn. Isn’t this what gift certificates are for? So I bought this skein of yarn, and it sat in my stash. And sat.
I don’t know why this guilt crept up on me, except for the fact that people who know me well know that I often feel guilty about something or other. I mentioned this to Tim, and he was by no means offended that I hadn’t used either of the pattern books he bought me yet, and it was up to me when I was ready to use them. As a matter of fact, I think he thought it was weird that I felt guilty about not using them yet. I guess I just felt I wasn’t showing my appreciation for this wonderful gifts because I wasn’t using them.
The guilt has subsided a bit since I made this beautiful shawl, but I do plan on using more of the gifts I’ve been given sooner rather than later. Or so I say. I have about 5 or 6 patterns lined up, none of which involve using yarns or patterns that were gifted to me. I have to let it go and know that it is okay for me to knit what I want when I want to, and that doesn’t mean I don’t appreciate what I’ve been given.