In which there is knitting…

Travelling aside, it was Mother’s Day last weekend. A bittersweet day for some, and a lovely one for others. Because I don’t see my mother that often, I am acutely aware of just how frail she becomes everytime I go home to visit, and I am terrified of the day when she will not be there any more. She is coming up to the age her mother was when she passed away, and that makes me very jumpy.

Now, two years ago, we were in a bookshop in Papamoa, where I picked up Knit: Handmade Style and asked her if there was anything in the book she liked. There was a shawl that caught her eye, and I promised that one day I’d make it for her.

She’s had a rough year so far with Dad, and working as a volunteer in a hospice. And I’ve been learning more and more from her about how much she gave up to marry dad and have my brother and myself. Getting to the age where I have to start thinking about growing up, there are many things that I can actually say I understand now, whereas it was/would be a point of contention between us 10 years ago. To acknowledge all these things, I decided to make that shawl for her, as a knitted hug, in her favourite colours, and I wanted to make it extra big, so that it would envelope her and she would feel hugged every time she put it on. I envisaged something that she could throw over her shoulders in the evening when she goes to pluck fresh herbs out her garden, or something she can snuggle under on the couch while watching Antiques Roadshow.

Shawl - defined stripes
Shawl - defined stripes

I went through my odds and ends, and came up with 10 colours. I also decided to use 7mm needles (instead of 8mm) and cast on 150 stitches (instead of 130). The fringe looked a little ratty, so I decided to give it a knitted border, and cast on one stitch for every row. I then used a sewn bind off to give it some elasticity, and structure. The border added some weight to the shawl, and, I believe, sat better.

Shawl detail - both sides and edging.
Shawl detail - both sides and edging.

I sent it off the day before I did my trans-Australian trip along with the Manos Ashwood I made her earlier this year, and some nice Lindt Lindor choccies. I was delighted to hear that it had arrived on the Friday, and that within hours of opening, both items had been put to good use.

Mom's Ashwood
Mom's "Ashwood"

In other news, the lovely, wonderful, amazing M1k1 sent me addi turbo lace 3.25mm circs – “to enable lace knitting” – and bless her fine lace work, she has. The Hemlock Baby Blanket (Knitted Hug #4) has been resumed with (almost) reckless finesse. It’s my first encounter with feather-and-fan lace, and I can see why Brooklyn Tweed loves it so much. I’m smitten, and carving my way through the pattern quite nicely. (It must be the needles).

But, as there is guilt (and a real need for some substantial neckwear), I have also resumed work on Tinuvel – with 36 more agonizing pattern rows (3 graph repeats) before I finally see the light at the end of the tunnel. This wind is inspiring me to go faster and finish it soon though. I give myself till mid-winter.

The Noro Clappy is at 75% – just need to get to the end of the ball, and its all decreases from there. I’m still reserving judgement on Noro yarn (or Kureyon at least, the Cash Iroha looks amazing).

And, lagging in behind is my RTA. Hip shaping is done. I have 5 more rows until I hit the bust shaping, and while the yarn is to die for, it is all very slow going.

I really need another hat as well, and am tossing up between this and this as my next instant-gratification knit. The only problem is, I want to start one now, but I really should finish something first. And, I’m not even sure which one of the two to choose. I’m going to knit them both, but which one first?!

Anyway, my supervisor has just emailed asking about my lack of substantial writing, and when he can expect to see something. So I’d best put the needles down, stop blogging and start writing.

Hope to see some of you at the ODBM tomorrow. (Not that I need more yarn. This is for Christmas pressies and panel thanks you’s [for submission – its a long time to go, but not nearly long enough]). Will blog my stash haul on Monday.




  1. Love the ‘hominess’ and comfort of the shawl for your mother! And I totally make knitting part of my writing process… yeah, I don’t believe me either.

  2. Oh gosh, that’s gorgeous Shelley. I’m rather taken with that as an object and as a concept. I really like it. I’m sure your mum can’t help but be utterly delighted with it, and to feel very much loved. Gorgeous.

  3. It’s lovely that you want to give your mum a hug, knitted or otherwise. The shawl is beautiful.

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