other things i’ve been up to in May: knitting a shawl

Having fun with Thalia-in-progress.

The first thing I did upon finishing up grading my students’ portfolios was cast on for a shawl to wear at my cousin’s wedding on June 20th. I had a skein of bamboo-blend sock yarn in a light yellow green (which goes nicely with the dress I intend to wear), and I thought it would be perfect for Annis (spoiler alert: as you might guess from the photo that leads this post, Annis is not going to be the shawl I wear at my cousin’s wedding!).

Annis starts with a VERY long cast-on (363 stitches), which I did successfully the first time, and happily knit 7 (very long, time-consuming) rows of the lace pattern. Then, it was time for us to go to Ohio for Memorial Day weekend, so I stuffed it in my bag to bring with me. But then…when I took it out to start knitting, my circular needle broke. This has been happening more and more often with my Knitpicks Harmony interchangeables – the cord just pops out of the metal join. I really love the Harmony needle tips, and the interchangeable set has served me well for several years, but it seems like the glue is just going bad or something – it’s happening all the time now, and not just with the cords, but with the tips themselves popping out of the metal joins, also. (Advice on a replacement set is welcome!) In this case, it popped out while I was knitting, and I lost a bunch of stitches, and had to rip out…and then ended up with an enormous tangle of yarn that was making me cry. Luckily, my husband is an awesome person, and he methodically picked out the tangle for me so that I could cast on again:

This is love.
This is love.

So, I cast on 363 stitches again (this is not trivial, especially when you have a 3.5 year old around), and knit the first row, only to discover that I was 10 stitches short of completing a final repeat of the lace pattern (I don’t know whether this means I had too many or too few stitches, because I didn’t actually count the number of pattern repeats I’d knit). That was just the straw that broke the camel’s back. I mean, Annis looks pretty, but I just don’t think that a shawl knit from the bottom-up is a good fit for my mind and life as it currently stands. Counting and I just don’t seem to be good friends anymore (remember that this was part of the impetus behind switching the Stripes! cardigan to be top-down rather than bottom-up!).

So I starting going through my Queue and Favorites on Ravelry, trying to figure out what would make a nice summery shawl with a single skein of sock yarn. And then I remembered that I’d bought Kirsten Kapur’s Shawl Book One. I was going back-and-forth between Thalia and Nefertem, but a peek at the pattern revealed that Nefertem would require quite a few stitch markers, and I had exactly three with me on the trip (and no easy means of jury-rigging extras, either). This pushed me towards Thalia – and the lovely open “dots” in the body of the shawl helped, too, because it just looked more summery. So, Thalia it is!

Thalia-in-progress (I gave up on Annis)

I knit on it every chance I got while we were on our trip, like when we went to a playground with M and her cousin. It doesn’t look like much, all bunched up…

Thalia-in-progress, all scrunched up.

…but once you spread it out, so that the “dots” open up, it’s absolutely lovely!

Thalia-in-progress, stretched so that the dots pop (the texture is so great!)

I think it’s going to be an absolutely lovely shawl…I’ve just got to actually FINISH it in time to block it before we leave on June 17th. What do y’all think? Can I do it?


9 thoughts on “other things i’ve been up to in May: knitting a shawl

  1. It looks lovely!
    I’ve also got a set of the knit picks interchangeable needles and I’ve been having the same problem. I found that I could glue them back together though and then they work just fine. I just got a two part epoxy from the hardware store that sticks to wood and metal and it seems to be doing the trick.

    • Thanks for the tip on the epoxy – it’d definitely be best if I could keep these needles working for me for awhile longer! Does it work just as well for the cable+metal as for the wooden tips+metal?

      • No problem, it’s always nice to get a bit of extra life out of something like that. I haven’t had that problem yet so I can’t say for sure but if rubber is on the label of the epoxy I think it probably would. Just be careful not to leave epoxy on the outside where it’ll dry into a catch and it should be fine.

  2. Thalia is a lovely choice, and I have faith you can do it!

    I just had the same problem with my knit picks needles– the cord popped out of the metal part. For now, I just have it pushed back in, but the join isn’t very smooth.

    • That’s what I had been doing (pushing it back in, I mean), but it has a terrible tendency to pop right back out if I tug on it at all…and alas, I tend to tug a bit when I’m shifting stitches around. I think I’ll try to use some epoxy!



  3. Ooh, that’s so pretty! I am in a Through the Loops mood right now, too, and I have been trying to decide between Nefertem, Cerasifera, and Hamemalis, but now Thalia is on the short list, too.

    That is one awesome husband, btw. I agree that sometimes things just don’t work.

    I actually don’t like my Harmony interchangeables at all. They’re hard on my wrists, and I find myself digging out my old, cheap Clover bamboo needles instead. I’m tempted by the Addi Natura bamboo interchangeable set, but am wary of spending so much on another set that might be a disappointment.

  4. Sarah

    I know what you mean about the counting! I have a 2.5 year old and I said the same thing to my husband the other day..some projects just don’t work too well with little ones (I also have a 9 mo old)…I love shawls but stick to easy to memorize patterns :)

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