knitted :: Back Bay, originally uploaded by earthchick.
My mom wanted a black shawl. My mom doesn’t ask for much. I’ve only ever knit her one thing before (an ivory shawl). You wouldn’t think it would take me almost 2 years to complete this simple request. But it did.
I had some false starts. I started the Pi are Square Shawl by Elizabeth Zimmermann, more than once, but I wasn’t loving it.
I tried to make myself keep at it, knitting a row here and there, but it was making me stabby. And you don’t want a woman with sharp metal knitting needles feeling stabby, right?
Good thing, then, that the BHK Cooperative published their first book of patterns this past fall. Gorgeous designs by three of my favorite designers. I saw Kirsten wearing her sample of her Back Bay pattern at Rhinebeck and I fell in love with it. I wanted to make one for myself, in a soft pink or a winter white, and then it finally hit me. It would be the perfect pattern for my mom.
After Christmas, I ripped my Pi Are Square and cast on for Back Bay. It was a delightful knit and I loved making it. I don’t love knitting with black yarn (the only thing harder than tinking cables in black yarn is trying to photograph a project in black yarn!), but I have to admit that the results are gorgeous.
It blocked out to 24″x95″, which will be perfect for draping across the back of my mom’s wheelchair and still covering her arms.
It took 1050 yards of the Malabrigo Silky Merino, knits on size 9s. Good thing my mom didn’t want the fringe, because I had maybe one yard of yarn left!
The pattern is perfect – everything you would expect from Kirsten. It’s clear and easy to follow, with enough challenge to keep you engaged and enough repetition to be able to knit while watching TV.
I did have a small problem with blocking. Getting this thing washed and blocked out was a bit time-consuming because of how large it is. But I had it all laid out and drying beautifully on the floor next to my bed. That night, my cat threw up on it. That’s right. My cat vomited on a handmade silk/wool shawl that had 42,200 stitches in it. I freaked out. I cried. I almost vomited myself. Then after I calmed down, I asked for advice on Facebook and Twitter. After I cleaned up what I could with a paper towel (NO scrubbing), I soaked the affected part in warm water with wool wash, then I did a cold rinse (that made the biggest difference), then I repeated the wash and the rinse, and then I laid it out to dry again. It worked beautifully. So there ya go – if you ever find yourself in a similar regrettable situation, you know what to do.
In sum, I love this shawl, and I think my sweet mama will love it, too. I rarely make the same thing twice, but I loved this project enough that I just might have to make one for myself some day (with fringe!).
Wow! That’s all I can say. I actually didn’t like this knit when i saw the collection, but your version has changed my mind! Your Mom will be so pleased.
Lovely – and I agree that knitting in black is a pain – I just don’t do it (but then, my Mom hasn’t asked me!).
Glad you got the kitty “present” out of it –
and hope your Holy Week goes well. I’m off to ponder sermon for Sunday!
It’s gorgeous! And wow — my cats like to help me block, but I never thought about one of them throwing up on something that was blocking! Now I’ll worry….
Wow that is gorgeous. This is one reason I am glad I don’t have a cat.
So beautiful! Oh my goodness, your cat… I have three, but never this particular problem. I love that you asked Twitter and Facebook for advice… that’s exactly where I go these days, too. Well, not the Twitter so much.
Beautiful job! Happy Mother’s Day!