Shawl We or Shawln’t We? That is the Question…

Sorry about my absence (again) last week, but I was sick. Crazy sick. Stupid sick. I had the wickedmeankiller cold that ate Manhattan. This wasn’t just a cold, it was a Cold…dripping with icicles, frostbite, and phlegm. I do not exaggerate. I could breathe not – not through my sinuses filled with cement – not through my lungs filled lined with whatever blackish evil crud clogs bathtub drains. There was no relief, no cure. It was bad.

But I’m mostly better now, so yay! Let’s move on…

Shawls. Lacy, colorful, intricate, webby, wrappy, knitted masterpieces of loveliness. Ravelry, Instagram, and Pinterest abound with spectacular examples of prideful knitting prowess. They are a sight to behold.

Meh. Who cares?

That, folks, has been my prevailing attitude, since, well…forever. I have always eschewed shawl knitting. After all, I’m not a lacy, frilly romantic type. Nor am I an 80-year-old grandmother in a rocking chair, or a granola-munching earth-mother. Why oh why of why would I waste valuable sweater knitting time on something, although gorgeous and challenging, I would nevereverneverever be caught dead or alive wearing? Sense it made not to me (or Yoda).

HOWever…I am changing my tune. After all, there are shawls and there are shawls, yes? I can still admire the lacy, earth-mother, rocking chair-esque designs from afar and choose to knit brilliant, sophisticated, charming, wrappy accessories that flatter and speak to me. Allow me to demonstrate…

About two years ago, I broke my shawl embargo (all due to the persistent genius of Carol Feller) and knit this baby:

This is Carol Feller’s Penrose Tile. It’s a beauty, I’ll admit.

I wore it to work once or twice and received praise and admiration. I wore it to an event recently and received praise and admiration. Still, I felt mildly uncomfortable, because I was wearing, well, a shawl.

I know, I need help. Don’t fret, it’s coming.

 

 

As you know, I recently travelled to New York City for Vogue Knitting Live (oh yeah, and sightseeing and whatnot). Naturally, I needed something smallish and easy to knit on the plane. I was in a scramble in the few weeks before the trip to finish a test knit I had committed to in mid-December – a DK weight pullover with a hood (I know, I need to be certified. I’m not going to argue). I wrapped up the test knit the day before our flight and had to choose a travel project under IMMENSE pressure.

Back in November sometime, Interweave had kits for the Beacon Shawl on sale. I had admired the Beacon Shawl since its appearance in Knitscene Accessories 2015. I really liked the teal, and was feeling brave about breaking out of my comfort zone and knitting with yellow for the first time ever in my wholeentirelife, so I bought the kit. It’s modular garter stitch, and on the small side for a shawl, so it seemed like the right choice for my bring-with project. I’ve noticed that I’m often most attracted to shawls that are mostly or all garter stitch, so there was a good chance that I would at least…not…hate it.

I worked on it to and fro New York, and made myself finish it within a few days of our return. I slung it around my boring teal top, popped a snazzy shawl pin into place and… Wow! It looked great. Queue my shawl epiphany.

 

How about that? Not lacy, not grandma, not earth mother…all deco-esque me. Love.

I’m starting to see the light.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Now, as you may recall from my last post, while at VK Live, I became enamoured with Amor Esperanza’s CoLab Shawl, and I bought pattern and yarns and all things required to knit said project. The very minute the Beacon Shawl was off my needles, I got busy:

To say I am thrilled with its progress is an underunderunderstatment. I am fully infatuated. I stare and stare and stare at it and think of all the magnificent buildings I stared and stared and stared at in New York City. It’s genius. It’s sublime. It’s my New York shawl.

Congratulate me: I am officially cured of my shawl-a-phobia.

 

In case you want to, as my friend Kim would say, “creep” my project pages, here are my Ravelry links:

Penrose Tile

Beacon Shawl

Colab Shawl

In other news, I have started an uber-adorable toddler sweater for my cousin, once-removed (apparently I can also refer to him correctly as my nephew…go figure). This is a teaser:

Crazy cute, right? Should be well into it by next post, so stay tuned.
Have a great, knitful week!

Cheers,

Knicoleknits

VKLive New York New York!

Yes, I’ve been AWOL, but for a very good reason…really, honest, and for true.

My very perfect and wonderful HE (Husband Equivalant) surprised me on Christmas Day with tickets to NEW YORK CITY, which was incredible enough and brought me to tears…

And then…

I opened a box that contained an email telling me I was also registered for VOGUE KNITTING LIVE!!!!

I totally lost it – I screamed, I cried, I jumped up and down. I WAS GOING TO VK LIVE IN NEW YORK CITY!!!

I know, I’m yelling a lot, but that’s pretty much how it went.

We left on the afternoon of Monday, January 9, and arrived home on the red-eye way early this Tuesday morning. Seven action-packed days in the city, which included 100 km of walking and two full days at VKLive. I could have gone for a third day, but there was no way I was going back in that marketplace without putting a few more notches in my credit card, and there was so much more of the city to see. Sometimes sacrifices must be made.

You can see why I was a spendy-spenderson – there was sooooo much selection in the marketplace (it took up the better part of two floors of the hotel), it was a real challenge to decide which of the ten million skeins of yarn I could afford to make my own:

I managed to do a fair bit of damage in a few measly hours. Cha-ching, cha-ching. My credit card is still whimpering a bit.
I wasn’t through the door five minutes when I found Yarn Culture of New York, where at least a dozen amazing shawls caught my eye. I was most enamoured with Amor Esperanza’s design, CoLab. It must be a brand new design, because I couldn’t find it anywhere on Ravelry or her websites. I stuck with the light grey base, but chose some brighter accent mini-skeins from Molly Girl Yarn for the stripes .

This will be my official “New York” shawl. The best souvenir I could think of. I bought lots of other cool things, but I’ll share over the next few posts, because I don’t want to overwhelm you (or embarrass myself).

I am a HUGE fan of Purl Soho, and I tried and tried to get into their closet-sized booth in the marketplace, but it was always jam packed with drooling people, making it impossible to browse with any efficacy. So, on the day we were wandering around the lower east side of Manhattan, I made a point of steering us in the direction of their shop in Soho.

I knew I would be yarn struck there, but I wasn’t prepared for the crushing urge to leave with one of everything – EVERYTHING. I want it all – the yarn, the kits, the felted ornaments and animals and wreaths, the sewing kits, the weaving, the beads…every single item is stellar quality and stunning. Sigh. If you’re not familiar, I urge you to check out the website. Yes, the goods are pricey (especially considering the current state of the Canadian dollar), but lots of the patterns are free. I put the link above, but here it is again: Purl Soho Go. Now. Look. Tell me I’m wrong.

As for classes, I took a day-long Principles of Design course from Catherine Lowe. It was chock a block with info about designing, finding your esthetic, how to get work, and more. Sadly, the more I learn about knitting pattern design, the more I realize that it may not actually be something I want to do…at least not for income. Yet another craft industry where the designers/crafters are at the bottom of the totem pole when it comes to distributing the proceeds from the sale of the design. The short story is that you better love it, because you won’t get rich, or probably even self-supporting, from it. I may just stick with adding my own touches to other’s designs, or designing strictly for myself. Sometimes a little education is a dangerous thing.

I also took a simply marvelous class from Amy Herzog. Amy is a sweater fitting expert and I have most of her books. She is a wealth of knowledge. I wish I could have taken every one of her classes. She also had a table full of samples of her designs. They are reallyreallyreallyreally gorgeous, flattering, and wearable. Often when I see  lovely designs knit up, I’m disappointed because they don’t look as appealing as they did in the pattern photo – Amy’s work was the exact opposite. I wanted to knit and wear almost every single sweater on that table (and there was a BIG pile). Click on her name in blue there and check her out. She has my highest recommendation.

I wore my Acorn Trail cardi to the class, and she was most impressed with the collar I added:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I think she’s very clever. Yay for sweaters, indeed!

Well, there’s lots more stories and catching up to do (I know, three week’s worth), so you’ll hear from me again before the weekend is out.

I’ve got knitting to do!!

Cheers,

Knicoleknits