Thursday, December 9, 2010

City Shawls...as far as the eye can see

Before I left La Crosse, I knit shawls for women that I worked with at the library.  This wasn't a new idea, I'd contemplated knitting them shawls several times. As these women had already been recipients of washcloths and crocheted grocery bags, it was time for something a little bigger.

And then there was, of course, the news that I was leaving and wouldn't be around to entertain them with deliveries of yarn, knitting through all the meetings or the occasional slight glow after catching a really good sale.

Add to which that my stash grew exponentially while I lived in La Crosse. I had room. I filled it with yarn. Lots of yarn. Beautiful yarn. I needed a pattern that would allow me to not have to move ALL of the yarn. So I went into the stash to see what was around. I figured I'd have enough for four or five shawls at least if I went for the worsted weight.

The City Shawl by Stephanie Japel calls for 350 yards of Bulky yarn.  I cast my first one on back in August out of Louet Gems worsted held doubled. The finished and pre-blocked picture is here. Though it was my original intention to give it away, I'm not usually much of one for orange, I found that this shawl went wonderfully with everything. And being such, it gets tied on quite often.  I can wrap it around my shoulders and tie the ends behind my waist.  Works beautifully and keeps my hands free. Considering we've suddenly gotten to December and I haven't knit as much for myself as I would have liked this year, I have ever intention of knitting several more of these for myself.

But first, knitting for the women in the Youth Services Dept. A quick rummage through the stash turned up a lot of potential yarn. I could knit 10 City Shawls and STILL have a lot of worsted weight yarn left. A lot of it had moved with me from New York, which means it was well over five years old. Now, I recognize that stash can be passed from generation to generation and in the grand scheme of things, that isn't really all that old, but still...five years? Time to get things moving.

The City Shawl is really great mindless knitting. Cast on, turn on season of a TV show or an audiobook and before the season/cds are over, you have a shawl.  I did some modifications after my first couple. I stopped making the bottom point. It seemed like a waste of yarn.  I also got rather loose with the number of rows one was supposed to be doing and when one switched between garter and lace.  This was about big shawls and stashbusting.

I ended up with

Blue for MLW  (the only one I bought yarn for)

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This thing was HUGE after blocking.

Giant Blue Shawl for Marge


White and Blue for L
(imagine a picture--somehow I have no pictures of either the yarn or the shawl)

Green for C

Celine's Shawl

You try keeping the cat off of alpaca.

Gypsy & Celine's Shawl


Pink for D

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Tri-Color for L

Lucy's Shawl

Brown for S--which didn't photo well on carpet that was nearly the same color...so here's the cat keeping it company.

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Six shawls.  And I cranked those things out in a matter of about six weeks.  These things are super fast.  They eat stash. They block out HUGE!  They're very warm and practical, despite the openwork. They have a slight tendency to swing to one side, due to the slant of the decreases. I suppose, if I were a truly practical knitter, I'd alternate between left slanting and right slanting. Maybe.

They got the shawls my last day of work. Always down to the wire...that's me.

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