I am exhausted. Again. I am also going through one of those phases where nothing seems to be going to plan on any front. I am not particularly prone to melancholy, but when life gets this overwhelming, I just want to hit rock bottom and stay there. It’s not quite a matter of feeling sorry for myself, more just a strong sense of being sorry – of wanting to apologise to everyone and everything for all that I have failed to do. The only thing I find I can do is to take myself away from everything, and focus on the stitch-by-stitch repetition of making something for someone. It is a bit like making a peace offering, but it is more to do with making peace with myself than with trying to please someone else. After all, when I feel like this, I don’t feel like I can really please anyone anyway. This is more about reminding myself that I am actually capable of something positive.
So it is a little bit ironic, or appropriate (depending on your viewpoint), that I recently received a Well Being yarn box from Fleabubs, and a skein of yarn from Lollipop Guild Yarns called ‘Dance your cares away’. They were the last of my yarn clubs before I cancelled them, and they are beautiful. I want to make them into beautiful things, and they inspire me. I just wish I had more time to work with them.
On a more positive note, shawl number 2 should arrive with shawl clubbers this week. I have been so delighted with the reaction to the Thank You Shawl that I am a little bit nervous about whether the next one will go down as well. That said, I love it and I have made several versions of it that I wear a lot, so I know it works, but whether it is quite what people are expecting…I just don’t know. I really hope it proves to be popular. I will put a post up about it when the reveal time comes to tell you a bit about its development.
I will try to get another post up this weekend but I am preparing for a work trip that currently has me numb with fear. I might have to cake one of these beauties to come with me and keep me company on my travels. They will give me the peace I need to think clearly and push through this next bit of stuff. A bit of yarn meditation is in order…
So, finally I can show you the first shawl club shawl in all its finished glory, and tell you a little bit about it. First of all, here it is in the shawl club peacock yarn that Unbelieva-wool dyed for me. And it was exactly as I hoped it would come out. Giddy dancing all around.
It is a similar shape to the Almejas shawl that is in my gallery – that was a pattern from inside crochet and I loved it as soon as I saw it because of the way it wrapped around the shoulders more than a standard triangular shawl did. When I started trying to come up with my own designs, one of the challenges I set myself was to try to come up with something that had that general shape, but was more accessible and easy to achieve. I also wanted this first shawl to include as many of my favourite basic stitches as I could. So there are trebles, granny treble clusters, V-stitches and picots in there, as well as some back loop only work in places, to add to the texture. There is nothing there that a beginner couldn’t master, and it grows quickly! It is also deceptive. One of my pattern testers who was hooking very loosely refused to believe it would use the whole skein of yarn when she was up to about row 25. Then very quickly the yarn started to disappear! It is also worth noting that it grows a lot with blocking – it looks quite neat and a little bit frilly after it has been hooked, but once blocked it opens up into a good sized shawl.
I asked for this in a peacock colourway because the shape of the shawl when laid flat reminds me of the shape of the top of a peacock feather. It also happens to include the favourite colours of Anne Farmer of Ditsy Pips. I dedicated the pattern to her as a thank you (this is why this is the Thank You shawl on Ravelry). When I was dithering about even starting all this, I had a day where I got myself very confused and convinced that it was going to be too messy and too complex to get into. Anne talked me through how she set herself up and gave me a lot of very practical advice. For her it was just a quick set of messages. What she didn’t realise was how close I was to talking myself out of this before I had even begun, but the fact that she even replied to my message on a day when she had other things to worry about lifted my spirits and changed my mind. Just knowing that someone who barely knew me didn’t think I was a jumped up idiot for thinking about this was the nudge I needed. I felt that I might be able to earn my stripes and eventually join the yarn army. The kindness of strangers can be everything on a bad day.
So my other motivation was to create a great big yarny hug. To do this, I started out making this in DK rather than sock, as I also wanted to make a super cosy one (it was winter at the time). One of the shawls I wear a lot at home is a Penelope shawl that I made in King Cole Riot (before the days when hand-dyed yarn entered my life and depleted my bank balance). I wanted to come up with something that made people feel as comforted as I do when I wear that shawl. So here it is, the first Thank You shawl I ever made, in an Unbelieva-wool DK called ‘new uniform’. It was the only yarn I had in my stash where I had two skeins of the same colour…
I have been really fortunate to have been helped by two cracking pattern testers who have made sure this first pattern was easy to follow. One of them sent me this picture of the version they produced, which I love. Its so hard to find good models, you know…
Apparently she won’t give up the shawl though. I think I am going to take that as a bit of a thumbs up.