A new knitting goal for me is to envision the next person who will use any knit that I make for myself. I am still busily knitting for myself, because I love wearing clothing that I made for myself, and knitting is my preferred craft - and because it is harder than you would think to knit something for anyone else. I’ve gone wrong more often than I care to admit, giving a hand knit that I was proud of, only to see a lukewarm smile on the recipient’s face.
This particular project, the Endless Circle Vest designed by Julie Farmer, is especially personal, because I spun all the yarn for it. That process took a lot longer than I expected, and I ended up with a bulkier yarn than was my goal when I started the project. The yarn was consistent, though, and very knitable, so I searched for a project that would work with the amount of yarn I had and that would be forgiving of a yarn that wasn’t mill perfect. The vest is kind of funky, but so is the yarn, and so, for that matter, am I.
It was a delight to knit my own yarn. Spun from combed merino top, the yarn was warm and elastic between my fingers. It was also fun to finish a project quickly - that is if you don't include the time spent spinning the yarn.
The finished product:
Kinda gappy around the armholes in the back, but I love it. I’ve been wearing it using a shawl pin to hold it closed in the front. I will wear it a lot this winter.
I was wondering about this vest’s legacy as I was making it. Who the heck would want this some day? I’m pretty sure that it’s not to my daughter’s taste for herself. Well, my best friend Bonnie loves it, and it fits her. I hope that she gets it someday when I am finished with it. The vest will be a big hug from me to her, from the twist in the yarn to the loops of the stitches.
My final project for this post is a lace shawl that was two days short of being two years in the making. What that means, of course, is that most of the time I was NOT making it, and it was in a bag waiting patiently for me to get back to it. I cast it on a few months after being diagnosed because I thought It would be good to do something with the yarn, but realized not long after that I didn’t need a lacy shawl. I wasn’t sure if I even wanted it. Earlier this year, though, I took it out, pondered working on the project again, and realized that the shawl wasn’t for me. It’s for my sister Julia. All at once knitting this shawl was easy, and it was my travel knitting this summer.
Lace shawls make wonderful travel knitting. They take up little room in luggage or a purse and are not intimidating on an airplane, because the needles are small. I find them easier to knit on the go than socks, because the stitches are more open.
The pattern is by Myrna Stahman from her book Stahman’s Shawls and Scarves. It’s a Faroese style shawl and features extra shaping in the shoulder area so that it drapes beautifully and stays put when you move.
Here’s a montage of the finished shawl being blocked. Ah, blocking - it’s magic, taking a crumpled thing and turning it into a smooth, fluid garment.
And here is a picture of the shawl on my dear sister Julia. I gave it to her last weekend. Do you think she likes it? Now the shawl is part of her story.