Saturday, 27 April 2019

Lace and Listening

I am not a lace knitter and generally avoid fibres which look more like thread than wool.  I do admit, though, to being in awe when I see intricate lace shawls - complex arcs of the finest yarn, crafted by skilled hands into intricate gossamer cobwebs.

My most recent skirmish with a lace panel resulted in a lot of ripping out.  I did get to the end of my Nurmilintu Shawl but it wasn't without its frustrations!

Nurmilintu Shawl by Heidi Alander knitted in Rusty Ferret yarn 
When I watched Episode 59 of the Fruity Knitting podcast, I was mesmerised by the beautiful shawl immediately behind the interviewee.  Louisa Harding is not only the designer of the ethereal Zephine Shawl, but the luxurious cashmere yarn it's knitted from is produced by her company Yarntelier.

It was so lovely - I just couldn't get it out of my head.

When my birthday rolled round last November, I used money from my generous mother to order the pattern for the Zephine Shawl and cashmere yarn from Tribe Yarns in Richmond. "Life's too short for crappy yarn" say Tribe and I couldn't agree more.

But in order to avoid mistakes and re-knitting, I knew I'd have to CONCENTRATE!  No watching tense police dramas on TV or my favourite knitting video podcasts on the PC.  What I needed was some serious listening to allow me to follow the complex charts.

Wooden Pattern Holder beautifully handmade by Bunloit Woolery
As I work for Aberdeenshire Libraries I knew I could borrow audiobooks free of charge and the clever app Libby allowed me to listen to them wherever I was knitting using my phone.

Here's how far I got knitting my Zephine shawl listening to the harrowing, but ultimately rewarding true story, The Choice by Edith Eger.

Preferring something lighter for my next book, I then listened to an enjoyable fictional tale of familial love The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake by Aimee Bender and got some more pattern repeats completed.

Accompanying me all the way to cast off was Stephen Fry's autobiography Moab Is My Washpot in which he tells of the first 20 years of his life with humour, shocking candour and a painful honesty which made me cry.

Keeping track of my rows using my Knitting Notebook by Popcorn and Crocodiles
These three stories are woven into my stitches.  I've created a lacey shawl which is light and warm, can be worn buttoned or unbuttoned, and in my head is imbued with the wonderful words I listened to whilst knitting.  Finished in time for our silver wedding walking trip to Madeira, I loved wearing my Zephine shawl.

I can wear this when I'm all dressed up for cocktails at Reid's Palace or for a casual dinner with my siblings!

I think this will be my go-to shawl for night's out from now on.


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