Catching Up

I have survived fall quarter, which ended with the ugly, ugly death of my work computer. I have a new computer now (along with 50,000+ files that are in varying states of chaos and none of which have titles).

Looking back over this year of knitting, I’ve done more working from other people’s patterns than I sometimes do, and I’ve really learned a lot as a result: new ways of shaping shawls, interesting decreases and increases, beading, and more.

I’d hope to make it to 10 shawls in 2010—and actually wound up doubling that. 20 shawls total so far (with three more on the needles, though I only expect to finish one of them by year’s end). I do not, unfortunately, have photos of all 20, but I’ll post pictures as they get taken.

My favorite discovery of the year has been shawl pattern clubs. With good designs and a new pattern every month, the knitting just flies along.

My complete, absolute favorite shawl pattern clubs have been offered by Anna Dalvi of Knit and Knag. She runs these quarterly and gives each a theme. The first I joined was inspired by the Norns: the three fates of Norse mythology. When I saw the first pattern in this series, Skuld, on Ravelry, I was hooked. It was a deceptively straightforward knit given the complicated look of the final product—and something I would never have come up with on my own, which is an excellent reason for purchasing a pattern.

After the Norns came World Heritage Sites. I made L’Anse Aux Meadows (with beads instead of nupps) for the young knitter next door, and I’m finishing up Tanumshede for Melissa. L’Anse Aux Meadows was designed to be knit in Nightfall, a gorgeous yarn that’s custom dyed to move gradually from a rich, solid color at one end of the skein to black at the other. One of these days I am going to have to write a shawl pattern of my own featuring that yarn. Because Melissa’s ancestors are Scandinavian and because we both share a love of petroglyphs, Tanumshede seemed like something she must have. I’m fascinated by the way Dalvi has worked a complex image into the regular background patterning of the shawl—again, something I would never, ever have come up with on my own.

Dalvi’s winter pattern series just started and is inspired by fairy tales. It’s going to be followed by a spring folk song series. The first fairy tale shawl, Marushka, is a beauty, with shaping similar to Skuld, but much less stark, and I am being very well-disciplined and not starting it until I have finished my gift knitting—though I confess to more than one evening sifting through the stash, petting yarn as I contemplate what I’ll make it in once my knitting time opens up again.

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