I have difficulty expressing gratitude adequately, especially verbally. I’m much more comfortable with material or practical gestures, than with words. Knitting, and particularly lace knitting, has given me a perfect vehicle for occasions in nothing short of an epic poem is needed! The process of knitting a lace shawl is meditative and measured; often increasing in complication as the pattern grows and expands. I love every stage of shawl knitting – the choosing, the swatching, the confidence of the first few rows, the methodical body work, and the breathless anxiety of the last few rows. It is a labour of love, and this one was finished last week as an 80th birthday gift.

Moonlight Shawl

Pattern: Moonlight Sonata Shawl, by Shui Kuen Kozinski.

Yarn: Garthenor Organic Shetland Single Ply Laceweight, in ‘Fawn’.

Needles: 3mm KnitPro Symfonie circulars.

(Ravelry link)

Verdict:  I loved knitting this shawl. The sunspot motif is bolder than most lace knitting I’ve done, and is easy to ‘read’ and memorize. (Although there isn’t a ‘plain’ knitting row in the whole pattern).  The shawl is shaped at the neck to fit shoulders more comfortably, and the back curves gently (which I prefer to a sharp point). I used a thinner yarn than the pattern recommends, so I worked 12 repeats of the pattern instead of 10. The pattern is clearly written and comprehensive, and a great introduction to shaped Faroese-style shawls.

The yarn is also wonderful: a balanced single in a blend of natural colours, with subtle shading. The Shetland wool gives the shawl considerable substance and warmth, despite the lightness of the fabric. And the slight stickiness of the yarn meant that I only used one lifeline, and could easily pick up any dropped stitches.

I would have done without even that one lifeline, except that one of the tips of my KnitPro circulars popped out of its cable, causing me to scramble to catch the dozen or so escapist stitches. I stuck the tip back in with some superglue, and haven’t had any more incidents. I’ve read that this problem may be quite widespread in KnitPro/KnitPicks, but I think that the needles are lovely enough to risk it.Moonlight Shawl

As usual with deadline knitting, I put in several frantic hours in the last week in order to finish on time! Having exhausted all my favourite podcasts early on in this project, I searched out a new source of background media – and settled on the many wonderful lectures available at the TED site. I strongly recommend these if you like to knit while listening to interesting words: the lectures are mostly 15-20 minutes long, and on subjects as diverse as bacterial chemical communication, new ways of looking at poverty statistics, and futuristic robotic design. (A favourite was Margaret Wertheim’s lecture on using crochet to illustrate hyperbolic geometry).

The shawl was a joy to knit and was well liked by the recipient. It’s gratifying to see that, as a means of communicating affection and gratitude, lace knitting is as eloquent and complex as any language.

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