Two Shawls, Eleven Years

twoshawls-1I got a wild hare and started wondering if a certain garment had made the cut during the Great Konmari Experiment of 2015. I dug it out. It had.

This is a shawl I made back in 2005. The yarn is actually much, much nicer than a newbie knitting project deserves, though I did not know that at the time. It’s a fairly heavy hand-spun and hand-dyed that I was given by a pushe^h^h^h co-worker who was also a knitting fanatic and wanted to encourage a budding knitter. This was an amazingly kind gift. I knew enough to know this was special wool and deserved to be used on a special project, but I was not skilled enough to figure out either what kind of project I had enough yarn for, or what kind of project the wool was appropriate for.

There are lots of errors in it (yarn badly joined, ends not woven in properly… a dozen other things), and it’s not a garment I wear out of the house much, but I do wear it at home from time to time when it’s a little chilly in the house, but I don’t want to dress heavily. The wool is quite warm on the back of my neck and my shoulders, so it’s a good in-between type of shawl.

For all the errors in it, it made that Konmari cut out of pure sentiment. I held it, and I smiled because it made me happy to think about making it and how proud of myself I was to be able to integrate knit and purl stitches in an actual pattern.


Eleven years on, this is the shawl I am working on right now. It’s a lot more complex. I’ll probably wear it to the office and other places quite a bit. It makes me happy for geeky reasons as well as because I am enjoying knitting it. The yarn is actually about as inexpensive as you can get and still be all wool, and possibly something this complex really deserves a high end yarn. The recommended yarn for this project cost upwards of $60. I spent more like $15.

I like to look at how I have progressed in activities – be it swimming or whatever. Not because I feel like I necessarily have a specific goal to reach, mind. I think people who happily knit garter stitch scarves are making as good a use of their time as I do with my knitting projects. But I do like to tack on and master skills. It’s a thing, and it’s ultimately useful, so I don’t mind running with it.

(It also took me well on to 40 years before the habit was in any way a big financial return, but that’s neither here nor there. Formal education would have been much quicker!)

But I am as proud of the first shawl I made as the one I am currently working on. I cannot bring myself to blow it off as too easy or amateurish. That first shawl made me a little nervous, was stretching my skill set and made me happy to make – just like the one I am doing now.

I just wish I could read my old writing and have that same attitude. With that, for some idiotic reason, I still wince and I shouldn’t. I was doing the same thing, right?

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