If ever there was a project named for the very opposite end of the season to the one in which it was finished it would be this shawl. The final stitches were cast off as snowflakes peppered down against the windowpane in what should have been Spring and has in fact been deepest darkest winter. Again.
Don’t get me wrong, I’ve loved every single flake of snow, celebrated and cherished each new weather forecast, and revelled in fully smothering every member of my family in handknits, but it was a funny old finale to a summer shawl.
This shawl is the smell of hot tarmac drenched in a thunderstorm, it’s rivulets of water droplets caught running down the windows by a light that promises that the squall will soon be over, and the silky feeling of damp grass around bare ankles.
The yarn is Fyberspates Scrumptious, a delicious merino/silk blend that once upon a time I bought to knit one of my little ones, Elma I think, a pair of adorable knitted dungarees. She grew, Pip never stayed the same size for more than a moment and as I sat in my deckchair in our camp away from home last summer reading my Taproot magazine I knew that when we eventually moved into our new house and the boxes came back out of storage I already had the perfect excuse to cast on a real treat of a project.
I’ve little but effusive praise for the yarn; it’s soft, silky without being too cold, and has a beautiful drape to it. The colour is called Water but it’s more than mere water, it’s the colour of a wet slate roof in the evening sunshine, or the sea under baffled grey clouds, sometimes a faded hydrangea, sometimes steely grey depending on the light. To knit with it was a joy and to wrap it around me is a pleasure.
The pattern is trickier. I’m glad I knit it, I enjoy the finished object, but I’m not sure I’d recommend it to anyone else. The first hitch is that it is not written particularly well; there were errors in the cast on and the chart pattern lacked any key, relying on the knitter to figure it out by process of elimination along the way.
I fudged the cast on count, fudged a few rows until the stitch count came good and figured it out. Even then, the shape is a shawl that is very deep but not very wide. I’m 6’0″ and it runs all the way down my back, but I feel I’m snatching at ends when I try to wrap it around my neck to be a scarf. It works best as a sitting up in bed sort of shawl, the sort where you don’t exactly need anything around your neck but something across the shoulders just helps everything feel cosy, and so I’ve largely kept it on my bedside table as an extra layer on the coldest nights, and if summer does ever turn up it’ll be just the thing for evenings spent sat out in the garden.