Saturday, May 30, 2009

Can you have too many shawls?

One of my New Year's resolutions this year was not to knit more shawls. I love knitting lace. I love knitting shawls. I love wearing shawls. But how many does one person need? I have a whole shelf of them in one closet. The more delicate and complicated the lace, the more I love it and the less I wear it. Since I live in the northeast, where it is cold most of the year (even in summer, where there is a tendency to over-air-condition public places), I almost always have a shawl with me to throw over the other layers. But I rarely get "dressed up" and the lacier, dressier shawls seem to languish in the closet. But I can't resist the urge to knit more of them!

I also have a hard time resisting a puzzle. So when Kalinumba announced the Wings of Horus KAL, it seemed like a natural. There was even a cone of light blue Zephyr sitting calmly in the stash, perfect for this project. So I succumbed.

But then something terrible happened. Renee of Goddess Knits announced the Anniversary Mystery Shawl 09. Since my previous attempt at one of Renee's shawls ended in a trip to the Frog Pond, this was an opportunity to redeem myself. And... there happened to be some cream-colored Colourmart cashmere available in exactly the right weight. How could I NOT?

Both projects are proceeding nicely. There were some scary moments with Wings of Horus. In order to download each of the weekly clues, we had to solve a riddle involving ancient Egyptian mythology. I solved the first one quickly, but the subsequent riddles were more difficult. Thank goodness for the KAL group on Ravelry! Thanks to Google and some hints provided by more clever and knowledgeable group members, disaster was averted. In fact, there were a few awful hours when I thought that after knitting the first five clues, I wouldn't be able to get the final one! As much fun as it was, I may have to remember those feelings of dread the next time I consider doing something like that. There are just about 20 more rows to finish, but by now there are over 500 stitches in each row, so it may take a while.

And speaking of shawls, I never blogged about the large, lovely, soft alpaca Klabauter shawl from this past winter. That was another KAL by Monika Eckert. (I was seduced into making that one after my experience with Moni's Slow Bee Mystery Shawl, now available as the Icicle Lace Shawl.) It was a fast knit, done in Lavish Superfine Alpaca in a mint green. The yarn is a little heavier weight than most of my lace shawls, but Moni was very clever with the design – she offered edging options at several different points along the way, so there was a lot of flexibility in the size of the finished shawl. It is large enough to snuggle up into, and I expect it to become a staple of my wardrobe in the future.

Unfortunately, it has one problem. The alpaca sheds. I wore it out last night over a black knit top, and by the end of the evening not only did I have little wisps of greenish-white fluff all over my formerly black top, but even the sleeve of my husband's sport jacket was covered. (He had the misfortune of sitting next to me.) I am a little afraid to machine-wash the shawl, but hand-washing didn't remove the loose fibers when I originally blocked it, so I'm not sure where to go from here. Suggestions welcome!