My darling friend K got married. I cried, but only a little bit. It was beautiful and perfect and I'm so delighted with the whole affair that despite my aching feet, I'm still grinning.
She is one of a couple of my friends that acts like my knitting is AWESOME and totally not a strange thing for a twenty-something woman to occupy herself with. (MJ is also on this list.)
It’s incredibly gratifying to knit gifts for people like this. First of all, they understand that I’m not just giving a pair of socks, I’m giving hours of time and skill. Second, they tell me about how my handknits are doing. K, for example, wears the hot-pink socks I made her when she does yoga and emails me once in a while just to let me know she’s wearing them.
That, folks, makes my little knitter's heart light up with glee.
So when her wedding date approached, I took on three projects.
First, something for her to toss over her shoulders, something soft and delicate and cozy.
Project: Lady’s Circular Cape from Victorian Lace Today.
This project is by far the most beautiful thing I have ever made. It had its challenges, including techniques I hadn’t tried before, patience-testing yarn prone to knots and tangling and felting in my hands, and a husband hell-bent on getting in my way. There was an incident involving a jar of salsa. There was another incident involving a sharpie. One came out okay. The other resulted in tears.
But the yarn is velvety soft and shows the lace pattern so well and the end result was totally worth the work.
I figure if this shawl can withstand my marital disputes and still be that pretty, it’s got “good luck” written all over it.
Second, something for the new couple to snuggle under.
Project: Girasole by Jared Flood.
Great fun to knit and a very satisfying end result. Originally a much darker green, almost a gray with a hint of green, this puppy took nearly a dozen wash-and-rinses to stop turning the water a muddy shade. It lightened several shades after its baths. Whoops.
Third, and least important, something to toss over my matron-of-honor dress. The day ended up being so warm (and PERFECT) that I didn't need it. In any event, K gifted her bridesmaids with buttery soft pashmina stoles in a lovely parakeet blue that totally trumped my little shawl.
Project: Citron by Hilary Smith Callis.
I added an extra repeat of the pattern just because I am so very long and tall and I didn’t want a bib, I wanted something I could actually wrap up in.
I learned a new technique on this one, too, which was AWESOME. I normally purl slowly. It’s not hideously slow, but on rows of 500+ stitches (see: the last 1/3 of that wedding shawl, above), my pokey method really sucks. One of the women I knit with during Sunday Knitting at my favorite shop taught me the Portuguese method of purling, though, and it is so much faster. Plus, the distraction of learning and practicing a new technique was diverting enough to make those last few soul-sucking rows of the ruffle less daunting.
Also, the yarn for this was simply delicious. Alpaca and silk, buttery soft with a little bit of sheen to it, it was wonderful to knit with. And, bonus, it was $20 for nearly 900 yards. I still have somewhere between one-third to one-half of the ball left.
After these projects, I am a little burned out on lace patterns and skinny yarn on tiny needles. I think I’m going to knit something small on big needles, like baby sweaters. A couple of instant gratification projects are definitely in order!