Those of us who follow Wendy’s knitting escapades are probably aware of her affinity for lace shawls, and more recently, this jag of shawlettes she seems to be caught in. Shawls are big and beautiful, be they triangular, rectangular, hexagonal or round, and while they might be the perfect canvas for displaying talent (and a heck of a lot of patience), what do you do with them once they’re finished? Do you wear them? Display them on a mannequin in your home? Hang it on the wall? Pretend it’s a tablecloth?
I like seeing knitted things around the house, but somehow lace doesn’t seem to be in the cards for my decor. Aside from the fact that I have a toddler who doesn’t yet understand why mommy dear freaks the hell out when he’s elbow-deep in the knitting bag with a fistful of knitting needles that used to be holding the current project together, there are also three cats at Chez Cranky-Face. Cats who enjoy knitting things, for clawing and cuddling and sometimes chewing. I’ve lost several KnitPicks’ 16-inch US size 0’s to the teeth of dear Fezzik (shown a few posts ago nomming on a plastic snowflake decoration), shortly after he joined our little family), and the thought of losing so much work (not to mention yarn) simply because it was available for destruction laying so nicely on the table. I don’t have a mannequin or seamstress’ sewing form, and even if I did it would probably fall prey to either the Podling for Fezzik pretty quickly.
By process of elimination then, I should wear it. Except the one shawl I have made was…shall we say, gi-freaking-normous. I made the Spider’s-Web Shawl from Victorian Lace Today, but instead of the laceweight or cobweb-weight yarn, I used DK-weight. For the uninitiated this might not seem like a huge deal. At the time I thought, “Well, I already have it, so it’ll just be…um….warmer! Yeah!”
DON’T JUDGE ME, I HAD BABY BRAIN. (That’s my excuse, anyway.)
I had eight skeins of Berroco’s Ultra Alpaca Light in the Oceanic Mix colorway, a gorgeous turquoise/teal/greeny/bluey blend that I still wish I had more of. I used up all those eight skeins while on my Not-Quite-Honeymoon Cruise to Alaska, running out on the bus back into the U.S. and convincing the bus driver to open up the luggage compartment while we waited to go through customs at the border so I could fetch a few skeins of Rowan Calmer and start on Shedir. (I was visibly pregnant by that time. I’m sure he knew it was better to get out of the bus and open up the under-compartment and root through the suitcases so the crazy lady didn’t cause him more trouble. Smart man, bless him.) After I got home, I put in an order for 8 more skeins. Those all went into the shawl, and by the time I was a few repeats into the last section, I was absolutely sure of three things.
One, that Edward Cullen, Esq. was a vampire I was going to have to order at least four + more skeins in order to have even a chance of finishing the pattern as written. Two, that it was already huge to the point of amusement, and finishing the pattern as written would make it huge to the point of parody. Three, that I am only five foot three inches on a good day, and a shawl well in excess of 6 feet in diameter and over $160 investment (not counting time) was starting to push the Crazy Knitting Lady stereotype, even for me.
Don’t get me wrong; it’s beautiful, and I love it, and the yarn is squishy and soft and warm and soooooo pretty, but I never wear the thing. My cats love to knead (with their claws, OH GOD STOP, WON’T SOMEONE THINK OF THE ALPACA) and burrow and flop around on it, and it’s nice to pull over yourself on a cool day for a nap ( I remember those…I miss them, please come back, darling, I never meant to make you cry), but it drags on the ground even if I wear it doubled, and that’s just unacceptable.
So maybe I have a few past issues with the whole shawl thing. Baggage, if you will. Things I might want to address with the help of a licensed knitting expert. I’ve started another shawl, this time using laceweight yarn. It isn’t finished, and I haven’t taken any pictures of it, but there are beads involved and it’s a Knitty.com pattern, and I was cranking along on it hardcore until NaNoWriMo and Christmas came along. (You guys, I am halfway through the last Christmas hat. SO. EXCITED.) I’ll finish it, but…will I wear it?
The shawlette trend is really picking up in the knitting community. The appeal of a shawlette, to me, is that it isn’t as big as a regular shawl. Less time spent knitting it, doesn’t drape too much over your arms and get in the way of doing the things you need to do. Less yarn, so less expensive. Less commitment, less interference, less cost…but is it enough to get me to wear it on a regular basis? I suppose the only way I’ll find out is to knit one and see. I’ve thought of making a…a capelet, I suppose, or is it a gaiter? Something to warm my neck and chest, since the v-neck shirts I prefer tend to leave a fair bit of skin exposed, and keeping the neck and chest warm helps with the cough that has lingered on and off since Thanksgiving.
Still, I hesitate. I like v-necks because I don’t care for things touching my neck. So what do I do when it’s cold? Grin and bear it, I guess. Maybe if I used something very smooth, and didn’t make it too bulky or likely to catch on my earrings, it might be okay. I might even wear it all the time. And if it turned out that I didn’t, I suppose I could always give it away, right?
I suppose I’ve talked myself into this. Again. Time to hit Ravelry, but not before I finish the last hat. So, talk to me. What gaiter-ish-capelet-shawlette patterns do you recommend?