A Spot of Gift Knitting

Once I had finished my honeymoon shawl, I had a sudden urge to cast on another one, straight away. I had some yarn waiting, a beautiful selection of Louisa Harding Orielle, in earthy oranges and reds. They were the perfect tones for my mum, and a shawl was just the gift project I needed for her birthday – big enough to show how much I care, but small enough to be manageable and finish-able.

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(Would you believe that’s two skeins of red, and only one of yellow and orange? It’s true!)

Hunting for a pattern proved a bit tricky. If you search for shawls in sock weight yarn on Ravelry, you get almost 6,000 patterns. That’s a lot of surfing to do. I knew my mum wouldn’t want anything over the top or finickity, so I went for a plain stocking stitch body, with a lace trim, Out of Gas by Zhora Designs, to be exact!

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(The lace is apparently inspired by catalytic converters…I don’t know what those are so I can’t really comment.)

The pattern is inspired by a particular episode of Firefly, a series mum and I both love and have watched together many times. It was just the perfect choice. A few weeks of intensive knitting, and a serious case of the knitting claw (I blame wooden needles and alpaca yarn) culminated in this:

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(Shawl on wall, it’s obligatory, and again, say it…you’re welcome. Yes I did take this photo in public, and yes, people did stare.)

I love this yarn. After initial worries that the yellow didn’t work I really like the colour blocking. It was a joy to work with; beautifully soft but with just the right amount of crimp for unusual and pretty stitches. The shawl isn’t actually as deep as it should be, because I ran out of yarn, but it’s plenty big enough; I blocked it on a bath-sheet sized towel and it covered the entire length…that’s a big ol’ shawl! Needless to say, I’m pretty sure it will keep mum cosy and warm. There’s a hint of sparkle in the yarn too, so it has a sophisticated touch. Dressed up or down, this shawl will take mum anywhere.

Oh! And in case you were wondering, mum loved the shawl – totally worth enduring the knitting claw for the look on her face.

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