Beach Knitting

I’ve let the blog lapse, sadly.  The combination of all of my current life events has been toxic to writing.  At work, I’m doing my job and my boss’s, while he’s on temporary assignment through the end of the year.  At home, I’m preparing to launch one kid to college and another back to middle school, both of which will happen just days after we return from the beach.  It’s all positive, interesting, and fun, but has required me to set aside my writing and even my knitting, for the most part, while I take care of these other things.  I’m hoping that once I have the boys all sorted that I can resume at least some knitting, although my writing will continue to be sparse through the fall.

It’s been hard to look forward to the beach trip, what with all our other goings-on, but a few weeks ago, I started thinking about beach knitting.  What would I take?  I could take yarn to finish swatching out Eric’s Aran, but the thought of handling Aran-weight wool at the beach was singularly unappealing.  The Rosebud Shawl is too large and unwieldy at this point.  So, I needed something new.  My stash tends toward worsted-weight, which is a bit too bulky for travel, I think.  I have two balls of black laceweight intended for a scarf or shawlette, but I didn’t think that a project in black would suit the mood of a beach vacation.  Hmm.  What do I want in a beach knitting project?

First off, I need something that travels well.  We’re land-locked here, so going to the beach involves a plane ride to the coast and then a drive to the beach.  I look for a project requiring lightweight yarn that doesn’t require a lot of accessories, like lots of stitch holders, extra needles, and the like.  I also try to find things that won’t grow to gigantic proportions, either.

I also look for projects that are of an appropriate difficulty, given the type of vacation I’m taking.  This one’s going to have some downtime during travel, but we’ve got a lot of family coming together at the beach, so I may not knit that much while I’m there.  So, I wanted something engaging enough to keep my attention on the plane, but not requiring lots of charts and complexity that could frustrate me.  A simpler project would also be easy to pick up and put down in short intervals that may punctuate the beach trip.

I try to find projects that suit the mood of the season.  For a fall trip, I may cast on that black wool laceweight for a light wrap, but it’s just not suited for a summer beach trip.  I wanted something that suits the late summer-into-fall season that we’re in right now.  In addition to those considerations, I try to avoid being overyarned, and I certainly don’t want to be underyarned.  The perfect project won’t quite be finished during a trip, but is something I can make considerable progress on.   Finally, because I consider myself to be something of a knitting ambassador, I try to find projects where the finished product may be intriguing enough to encourage other family members to try knitting, or at least to pique their interest in it.

With all that in mind, I trolled Ravelry.  I came up with several good candidates, and ultimately settled on The Sexy Knitter’s Solstice Shawl.  This pattern hits the sweet spot for me for beach knitting — it’s relatively easy, but not so simplistic that it won’t keep my attention.  It’s appropriate to the season, too.  A light, airy shawl is just about right as we head into early fall.  I can knit it up in a lightweight yarn to save space in my luggage, too.  It doesn’t require a whole lot of charts — really, just the pattern, needles, and some markers.

Having the pattern selected, I set about finding the right yarn.  I am finishing a shawl in Shetland wool, so I decided to be different with this one, opting for silk.  I decided that Tanis Fiber Art’s hand-dyed mulberry silk would be perfect, and selected the Teal colorway, which is sort of beachy, and will go with most of my dresses.  I wasn’t disappointed, either.  It’s got a lovely sheen and early indications are that it will knit up beautifully.

Finally, I splurged on Signature needles — my first.  I’ve gotten tired of fighting knitting lace with less pointy needles, so I wanted to try the stiletto tips.  Although I’ve just started the shawl and am withholding judgment until I’ve knit more with them, I am really enjoying the feel of the stilettos and the weight of the needles in my hands.

So, with pattern, needles, and yarn in hand, I’m heading to the beach.  I’ll post more photos when I return.

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