The Tale of the Boring Shawlette

My brainpower is at a pretty low ebb right now. When I went back and looked over that last post, my writerly self-esteem dropped a couple notches. My life is fascinating and wonderful, but taking up so much physical and emotional energy that I have none left to write about it. So in that spirit, I’m going to take this week to share with you some of the boring knitting I’ve been doing for the last six months. Knitting, mostly done while reading, that was so uninspiring that I didn’t even bother to share it with you. I enjoyed it, and hopefully some of the experience of knitting will be redeemed while writing about it. At the very least, it’s something to blog about.

Two and a half years ago now, I bought this yarn.  I had been coveting it for a while, and bought it as with Christmas present money from Cloverhill. It’s “Mini Maiden” (50% silk, 50% merino singles) in a one-of-a-kind colorway from Handmaiden Yarns, one half of a mother-daughter dyeing team that lives on opposite coasts of Canada. (I didn’t know at the time how much affinity I would have for them. Funny.)

I loved this yarn. It sat on the fingering weight shelf as a favorite, oft petted, carefully protected from sunlight and dust, through three moves. The mix of colors communicated the richness of a queen, but in an earthy way. I always knew I wanted it to be a Citron, and this destiny did not change in my heart in the time I possessed it.

When I finally cast it on – while reading a book on the history of revivalism in the pre-revolutionary United States – I was excited. This was a long-desired dream yarn. I loved knitting with it, though the pattern was really too fussy to do while reading. (Those M1 rows are annoying; I don’t like to have to count while reading and knitting. I have limits.) And after a while, I realized I was unhappy with how the colors were blending. While separated in the skein, they were complimentary; mixed up they did not have the same effect.

So I cast it off, and cast it aside. I wove in the ends, but couldn’t bring myself to block it.

Finally, one day, I decided to test drive it. I was going to a party, so I put on my party outfit: whatever I’m wearing, plus a knitted accessory and dangly earrings. And possibly combing my hair. The Mini Maiden shawlette was working for me, but it still felt odd.

But then, M saw it. She oo-ed and ah-ed. She tried it on, and demonstrated its many uses, advertising this type of garment to fellow partygoers. It even went with her outfit, when I was worried it would go with nothing but beige.

It was just right. And just like that, it was hers. It was almost a relief, like I’d been carrying it for her. And the prospect of it being worn and used by someone who would appreciate and enjoy it was far better than holding onto it when I barely liked it.

I’ve heard of knitting experiences like that, where knitters realize that the thing they thought they were knitting for themselves is just meant to be someone else’s, but this is the first time that happened to me so obviously. I am a confessedly selfish knitter; I believe in knitting most of what I make for myself, without apology. But it’s been surprising how fun it is to give things away to my friends – because then I get to see them on people. I didn’t expect that to be so pleasing.

I guess I’m only 26… I should hope I can still change.

3 thoughts on “The Tale of the Boring Shawlette

  1. Reb- I love its curliness, but what do I know? I’ll bring it back. It really IS so pretty, if you decide you need to keep it, I’ll understand.



  2. I had almost that exact experience with a handpainted yarn that was so pretty, and a pattern that was so great, and it just clearly was not mine! Except I haven’t found who it belongs to yet.

    Also, we have the same “party outfit.”


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s