One thing I really like about Colorado is the weather. Eight months out of the year is sweater weather for me. The remaining four? That’s shawl weather. Yes, shawl weather, even in the hottest part of the summer. Once the sun goes down, even on days when the mercury reached into triple digits, odds are, I’ll want a little something to go over my shoulders. It’s also nice to have a light layer when air conditioning is just a little too enthusiastic.
Now, most of the time, a light layer can be a fleece. “Colorado Casual” means that for most places and for most occasions, a dress fleece, casual top, and nice pair of hiking pants will get me in just about anywhere I want to be. (For those not from around these parts, any Coloradan you might run into probably owns lots of fleeces: a dress fleece that’s nice, a heavy fleece that’s water and wind resistant, a lightweight fleece, a fleece vest, and various multiples and permutations of the above. Don’t even get me started on technical fabric foundation layers.) But sometimes, it’s nice to dress up a little, and a fleece outer layer just won’t cut it. It’s for those times that I decided to make a few shawls and wraps. Knitting these in the summer months is a nice respite from the usual Aran wool that I use during the winter.
My first light outer layer was the Oriel lace wrap, in silk.
This wrap is as light as a feather and packs down to nearly nothing in my handbag. It’s gotten a lot of wear. Based on my success with the wrap, I decided to make something bigger. The wrap is great, but there are times when I could use more coverage. So, I decided to take the plunge and knit a cobweb-weight Shetland wool shawl. After devouring Sharon Miller’s Heirloom Knitting and trolling her website for more inspiration, I decided on the Rosebud Shawl. I ordered the yarn and cast on.
The yarn isn’t as tricky as silk — the wool has a firm twist, stays on the needles nicely, and when I dropped stitches, the yarn didn’t have a tendency to run before I could gingerly pick the errant stitches up and put them back on the needle.
The center is a cat’s paw design, and was pretty straightforward to knit.
The borders were the most complex part of the project. I knit each border separately, back-and-forth, following the beginner-level instructions. Really, I felt more like I needed fetus-level instructions, but I slogged through. Sharon’s instructions are quite clear. The part I liked the least was mitering and seaming up the borders. From now on, I’ll just knit all the borders at once, in circular fashion (yes, I hate grafting that much).
I was very happy with the edging, as it blocked out very well. I chose to block it more or less straight, rather than emphasize points, and I like it this way. The edging took way, way longer than I expected, but was a good travel project, as it was the same twelve or so rows over and over.
Blocking? Blocking the lace worked its usual magic. The finished shawl is about 52 inches square, a little smaller than Sharon’s finished dimensions, but intentional. I knit this on size 1 Addi Turbo Lace needles to obtain a smaller shawl to fit my 5-foot frame.
When the shawl was about done, I treated myself to a shawl pin, this copper stylized wine glass by Designs by Romi. The pin is easy to manipulate and looks great.
I love this shawl. In go-with-anything white, I’ll wear it for dressy occasions for years to come.
Now I have a small wrap and a formal shawl. I’ve decided to round out my shawl and wrap collection with some that are a little less formal than the Shetland shawl. I’ve finished the Travelling Woman in a silk/merino blend by Sweet Georgia yarns, and as soon as I have a moment for a proper photo shoot, I’ll share that with you. Next on the list are two more shawls using Sweet Georgia yarns. I can’t decide which I like more — knitting Aran sweaters or knitting lace shawls. Fortunately, with our Colorado weather, I have ample opportunity to wear both.