I haven’t written here for ages and I don’t really have a good excuse for it. I simply haven’t managed to get life back into a good flowing rhythm ever since we came over to NZ. This means that, in sudden bursts of anxiety, I tend to keep putting off things that don’t seem “useful” or “important”. I mean, how useful is it to talk about your knitting on your blog? Knitting itself… well, that is a totally different business though, it is very important – it feels very important. Hmm… see the discrepancy here?
As a matter of fact I finished the Baya Shawl quite a while ago, but somehow, I just never ended up taking any decent photos of it – or even figuring out how to do that (attention to Scotch tape detail). This has to be remedied.
I think I mentioned before that I am not really a shawl person, so I had been battling myself about whether I should actually ever start this project. You might be asking why on earth did I then consider knitting a shawl. Two reasons: pink and curiosity.
I’m convinced that the main reason I bought the Summer 2014 back issue of Pompom Quarterly was the lovely photo of this pink! shawl worn by a model sporting a colourful Hawaiian-style print jumpsuit. Call me whatever you want, but my obsession with pink has no end. As a teenager I tried to conceal it by wearing almost exclusively black for quite a while. I went as far as refusing to ride a bright pink Schwinn Lady bike – yes, with white saddle and white fittings – which my Mum, who clearly did not know the slightest thing about teenage psychology, chose to buy as a surprise gift. I saved and saved and ended up investing all my pocket money in a black(!) mountain bike – one of those 1990’s models with a steal frame but something like 24 gears. Later, during university, while I still rode my black bike, the prejudice started to melt away, until, eventually, I lost control entirely when I got back into running. I’m pretty sure I’m still known as the blond girl with the fluo pink running jacket (la rubia con la chequeta rosa) by some runners back in my dearest Coruña (Spain). What I’m not known as is one of those female runners complaining about the omnipresence of pink running gear.
But let’s go back to knitting.. and curiosity. Curiosity about shawl knitting has been there ever since I noticed that some knitters seem to be completely obsessed with shawls, knitting one after another. I was interested to learn how you create that lovely crescent shape, and more than anything, I was dying to try my hands at some proper lace. It seemed terrifying, but I know I like challenges.
So before I knew, on impulse, I had bought the yarn I needed for the Baya. It was not going to be all pink, as the original, but it also could not have no pink in it. I’m not entirely sure, why I settled on the combination of BC Garn Semilla Fino in a pale turquoise (colourway OX106) – I would describe via another bike reference as similar to Bianchi green – and Semilla Extra Fino in bright pink (OZ123). Truth be told, I expected the latter to have a bit more orangey-coral tone – God bless internet yarn shopping.
I had never actually knitted with any of the Semilla family before, although I had had my eyes on it for a while. BC Garn is a Danish yarn brand with a number of interesting yarn qualities. Semilla in particular is advertised as an environmentally friendly organic wool yarn, and, aside from its very knitter-friendly price range, it comes in really lovely colours. NOTE: I have read since a few reviews saying that the yarn pills quite a bit, which hopefully shouldn’t be a problem or a shawl. However, as we are still in NZ winter, I haven’t worn it yet.
The knitting of the Baya shawl itself was not especially eventful – luckily. The first few rows of the lace panel seemed eternal, actually making me think I wouldn’t have the patience to go through with the project. But afterwards, once I got the logic and didn’t have to check on the chart at every other stitch, all started to flow. Lazy knitter as I am, I didn’t use a lifeline, but, probably due to the fact that I was mostly scared to death I would make a mistake and wouldn’t know how to fix it in the complicated lace, I didn’t make any.
As for developing a shawl addiction, I concluded that lace shawls are practical travelling knits, as they require only a small volume of yarn, hence occupy little space. Also, the transformation of the shawl after blocking was quite amazing. I almost couldn’t believe I had made that lovely delicate item with my own hands. However, come spring I am still yet to find out whether I’m to be converted into a shawl person. Mind you, seven years of Spain hadn’t done that to me, will hand-knit lace do the trick?
Pattern: Baya Shawl by Mindy Wilkes (Pompom Quarterly, Issue 9, Summer 2014)
Yarn: BC Garn Semilla Fino (OX106) and BC Garn Semilla Extra Fino (OZ123)
Needles: 3.5 mm (US 7) and 4 mm (US 8)