"Knit on with confidence and hope, through all crises"
A friend of mine recently told me about this quote from the famous knitter, Elizabeth Zimmerman. Apparantly its a very famous quote but it was new to me and struck home as quite perfect for me at the moment, hence the title of my first blog post for a while.
I am currently taking some time away from craft markets and my etsy shop while I am having treatment for breast cancer. Obviously I can't not create though and I have been reaching for knitting a lot in recent months. At the same time, I joined the Tour de Fleece this year for the first time. For those new to the Tour, the basic idea is that yarn spinners spin on every day that the Tour de France cyclists cycle on the Tour and participants set themselves a personal challenge for the duration. And blimey what a duration it was - I had no idea before this year how long the Tour de France was. As afficionados say apparently, "Chapeau!" (hats off!) to the riders for taking part in what is an incredibly difficult challenge.
My personal Tour challenge was to learn to spin tailspun yarn. Using a bag of gorgeous dark brown Wensleydale locks, I practised a few different techniques and settled on one that suited these very long locks, ending up with 900g of finished tailspun yarn!
Then I tail spun some hand dyed Wensleydale locks:
So what to do with the tailspun yarn? I met with some Ravelry friends and showed them the yarn, explaining that "its all about waves and the sea and I'm thinking of some sort of shrug..." Immediately, Ann knew the pattern I needed: Thinking of Waves by yellowcosmo
I played around for a while with a contrast yarn for the blue and settled on a calming off-white yarn I spun some time ago - I have lost the note of what fibres are in this yarn but I definitely remember cashmere, angora and alpaca amongst the mix - a real luxury yarn.
Given that I was working with a much thicker yarn than the one called for in the pattern, I knew I had to adapt the pattern to avoid a shawl that would impossibly big so the shawl that I made was, in the end, more inspired by than faithful to the original pattern. And it has issues as a result - it ended up being 160cm wide when finished which was about right but there are more stitches in a couple of sections than I would like. Overall though, I am very happy with the result - it's light but warm, practical but extravagant. I thoroughly enjoyed the process of spinning the yarn for this shawl and then knitting it and it makes me feel very comforted when I wear it.
I think Elizabeth would approve.