When I returned to knitting about six years ago - anticipating the birth of my grand-daughter - I expected the pleasure I have always had in making something that I consider aesthetically pleasing with my hands. What I never expected to gain were the friendships and sociability that knitting has given to my life. Most weeks I meet at least once, and often more frequently, with knitting friends. These groups are informal, and people join and leave them. Some people I see frequently; others, because of work or family commitments, or travel, I see less frequently. But there's a core group of people who have been constant across the six years. Without particular effort we know about one anothers' lives and interests. What I particularly like is that these are people I might never have met, if it weren't for knitting. Most of them are much younger than I am and I'm constantly surprised and delighted by how much I've been welcomed by them. They keep me up to date with what's happening in the world - particularly its technological advances - and enable me to pretend I've at least heard about events in popular culture.
I've written before that what I particularly appreciate is the ease of these gatherings. I can chat, or hold forth (I hope not too often) or just sit and knit. They are companionable gatherings.
Recently, when I was incapacitated with my broken hip, a group of them also undertook an act of knitterly kindness. They gave me a beautifully packaged kit of yarn and pattern to make Brooklyn Tweed's Sempervivum shawl. I think you imagine that when you are recovering from something like a hip operation, which seems to bear no relation whatsoever to your hands and brain, that you will have lots of time for knitting. I discovered that I had the time, but not the inclination. It seems to take a lot of energy just to recover. But my friends are also deviously insightful when it comes to knitting. Several of them also decided we should have a knit-along (KAL) to encourage one another to finish the shawl.
Somewhat reluctantly, I cast on for the shawl when I came home from the rehabilitation hospital and knitted, with increasing pleasure, as the shawl grew and was finally finished.
This is a most ingenious pattern. The same lace motif continues across three different sizes, from the outer to inner edges of the shawl. However, there are some knitting challenges within this ingenious pattern. You cast on at the outer edge and so begin with more than 350 stitches. For a considerable time you knit and knit and seem to make little progress as the rows are so long. Then the middle-sized motifs involve knitting lace variations on every row - much more challenging than having a purl row 'rest' between rows of yarn overs and knitted togethers. By the time you get to the final section you've been through all the complicated stuff and there's a wonderful rush to finish.
The yarn is Brooklyn Tweed's Loft - a rather 'catchy' tweedy fingering weight yarn that I think results in a modern take on traditional lace shawl patterns. The colour is Button Jar. I gather there was a great deal of discussion among my friends about the most suitable colour. They certainly chose well. Such kind friends.
And a final thanks to Margarita for the great photos.