Knitting Blog: This one's for me

Mother’s Day (and Father’s Day) aren’t big events for R. and me. It’s a good year when we manage to get out the cards on time so that they will arrive before the date. We do pick up the phone and call. There’s no tradition of gift giving, however, to teach our daughter that anything special is expected beyond the card and the call.

Imagine my surprise that A. sometimes gives us something on those cultural high holy days. She gave R. a pair of gorgeous gold-edged hostas. She gave me bleeding hearts.


This year, she gave me this:


Dyed by her in complex shades of blue, brown and red on a base of luxurious baby alpaca, silk, and cashmere. She also gave me a pattern to go with the yarn: Trousseau by Carol Feller.

This project was almost instant gratification for a knit object, especially since I am not the fastest knitter around. I did the gauge swatch on Mother’s Day, and cast on the shawl itself on May 29th. It was blocked and on my shoulders on July 8th, 5 weeks and 5 days in the making.

The shawl is elegant, clever and easy. There are only two different line instructions for the main pattern, alternated with plain rows of purling back. All I had to check the printed instructions for was how many plain stitches to knit before I started knitting a simple 8-stitch repeating pattern.

This is my first ever pi shawl. every shawl I’ve knit to date constantly increases in size by a few stitches ever other row. With a pi shawl, you knit over a constant set of stitches for a given number of rows, then double the number of stitches on your needle. The stretchiness of the knit fabric makes it possible to block the final shape into a circle, or a half circle in this case, rather than some kind of stepped polygon.

When working with a limited amount of a precious yarn, my object is to size the project so that I have as little yarn as possible left over. In this case, that meant changing the pattern a bit. As written, it calls for 16 rows of chart B, 32 rows of chart A, and 48 rows of chart B again, then an edging of 18 rows. My handy dandy digital scale let me know that I had enough yarn for 16 rows in the final section before the edging, and that’s what I did. The final result looks balanced because a wider middle section is flanked by two sections of the same size, and I have only a few yards of yarn left over.

I love everything about this shawl. The pattern of the stitches. The softness of the yarn. The subtle richness of the color. The generosity an love imbued in the gift.

On the blocking board:


And on me:



My Ravelry page for the project:


  1. Lovely gifts. I am so fond of Bleeding Hearts and the yarn is beautiful. You chose the best pattern also. I have that one in my que and plan to make it later this year. You make it sound easy, I sure hope so.

    Carolyn /

    Blogger is not cooperating with my account these days.


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