Need a holiday handknit? Time for a Schmatta!

Secular Shawl Ministry

Dear Ann,
Sometimes you want to knit something for somebody who is Up Against It. This needn’t be part of any spiritual practice you’ve got going, although it can be. I had a strong urge to knit this Kiri for a friend. Only while knitting it, and thinking of the recipient, did I realize that I probably wouldn’t be knitting it for her if she didn’t look so dang good in a shawl. Not everybody has shawl chops. Just saying.
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The idea is that my friend will receive healing, galvanizing vibes from the potent fiber cocktail of cashmere shawl plus flannel nightgown (flannel nightgown sold separately). I imagine her curled up in a drafty house in the country, sipping a grappa in her Lanz of Salzburg nightie, looking impossibly romantic. She wraps the shawl snugly, thinking, “Wasn’t it nice of Kay to knit me a shawl?” (Be honest, my sister shawl missionaries. We totally want the recipient to think that.)
Orna volunteered to model the shawl. (She expressed her volunteerism by coming over for coffee. Thank you, Orna.) We had very bad light. You can tell it was snowing, from the light, right?
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Here is how Kiri looked pre-blocking.
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Here is Kiri after a very brief stint on the wires. Blocking is an amazing trick. So glad you turned me on to these wires. I really hate pin-blocking, but stringing a shawl up on wires seems like a fun craft project all by itself.
Git R Done Dept.
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I’ve been in a rare state of productivity. This quilt came back from the machine quilter last week, and I got the binding on in a flash. When a quilt comes back from machine quilting, it is so very nearly DONE that I can’t wait to get the binding on. It’s no trouble at all to sit there for hours, blind-stitching away. I wish I felt that way about finishing sweaters.
For the quilters and future quilters out there, this is a pretty faithful rendition of Joelle Hoverson’s “Foursquare” (edited to add: erm, actually I think it’s called “Cutting Corners”) pattern from her fantastic book Last-Minute Patchwork and Quilted Gifts. The only thing I changed was the dimensions, so that I could make it with fabric on hand. I think it’s a little smaller than the one in the book. Perfect nap size. Covers lap and feet without smothering person or being a chore to fold.
birdquiltfinis.jpg
I was surprised–honestly– to find that once again I put together the same colors I always do. “Hey! Chartreuse and slate blue!”–it always seems like a brand-new idea.
Finish a Blanket, Willya?
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Remember this old chestnut, a random log cabin in Finnish wool, started long ago for Afghans for Afghans? It got lost in the knitting bag wilderness, and at the moment Afghans for Afghans does not have a call out for blankets. But I’m finishing it now, for this project for a homeless men’s shelter. I’ve dispensed with the “random” idea, which was slowing me down and creating a tangle of ends from so many narrow strips. Instead, I’m doing whole skeins in each direction. It’s a great subway/TV project. (FYI, Masterpiece Theatre is running those Girly Classics on Sunday nights again. Last night Tess of the D’Urbervilles finished up with much manly weeping. Next week it’s Wuthering Heights. A tasting menu of bad men. Fantastic!)
Love,
Kay

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61 Comments

61 Comments

  1. Lovely shawl and quilt. You do amazing work. Oh and anytime I am down I put on your I didn’t knit this for you video. Instant gratification and smile guaranteed. Thank you..

  2. Lovely shawl. Like a cashmere hug.
    The manly weeping devolved quickly into the Ugly Cry. Did anyone else need to double up on the Prozac after that ending?

  3. What a neat quilt!
    LOVE the Blue Blanket!!

  4. I also love the fabric on the chair (couch/loveseat?) the quilt is sitting on. I think it is the fear of pin blocking a shawl that has kept me away from them, I’ll have to look in to those wires. I’m sure the homeless recipient of your beautiful log cabin will appreciate the warm wide bands!!!! Thanks for the project link.

  5. Gorgeous work, all of it. Thanks for posting.

  6. Seeing the afghan reminded me to thank you for the inspiration. This
    http://abovethegwb.blogspot.com/2008/12/we-are-really-close-to-done-here.html
    was inspired by a combination of the washcloth and the way this afghan grows. It is a delight! Thanks again so much.
    If the link doesn’t work, search for afghan on my blog and you will see all 4 posts on it.

  7. I find that I get my best knitting done to Masterpiece Theater’s Girly Classics. Tivo works wonders because then I always have a classic ready to watch while knitting. Although sometimes I have to wipe a tear off the wool in my lap, LOL!

  8. Gorgeous things, Kay! Very fortunate receipients!

  9. Kay, when I find something in the bottom of the knitting bag and finish it, it’s just a hat. (Did that, for FO #2 of 2009.) I think I must dream bigger from now on!
    –Elizabeth D

  10. What could be more comforting than handknit cashmere wrapped around flannel while watching a girlie classic?

  11. Is the quilt for sale??? It’s beautiful!

  12. You make me want to quilt soooo much! It’s not fair, really!

  13. I watched Tess too, while knitting a thumb onto my mittens. Somehow I imagine you were more productive; the story of Tess got me all worked up so I found the plot on Wikipedia and read it so I wouldn’t have any big surprises.
    The blankets are gorgeous, as is the shawl! I’m so impressed by everything you do!

  14. Your gift Kiri is gorgeous! So beautiful. And you have become quite the quilter. Amazing work.

  15. Impossibly beautiful. All of it – but especially the quilt. I may need to finish that quilt top in the cupboard next time I have some time off (quilt piecing needs several uninterrupted hours I find)and then locate me a quilting service. Either that or start knitting another blanket. Decisions, decisions ……

  16. How beautiful! Esp the blanket! We are jealous of your snow!

  17. If I got something from you, I would totally say that. Of course, I’m not expecting anyone to hand knit for me, because I have my own darn needles (and my own needles for darning). Gorgeous shawl and quilt. I love your chartreuse and slate blue. They sound like new colors to me too.

  18. Dear dotty chair,
    I still love you so. I wish I had you, or at least the scraps that the upholsterer probably threw away when they were done….sigh…
    Jealously yours,
    Candy

  19. What a smorgasbord of loveliness! Ahhh!
    BTW, I really like snow light for flash-less photography…but it helps a lot if you actually go outside ;)

  20. Beautiful blues today. The shawl is wonderful, even if your model didn’t wear flannel with it.
    I have a thing for navy and chartreuse. But your slate is a great new idea (old for you, new for me).

  21. Beautiful Shawl! and even more wonderful is the Quilt! lurve that bird fabric…must ask which designer is it? :o) ek.
    p.s. I couldn’t watch Tess last night bc the first time i watched it I bawled my eyes out! But i’ll definitely be watching the WH next week. There’s also a great Masterpiece C.Dickens movie series being aired now too. ah, gotta love the PBS…

  22. Good idea. My mom made me a shawl for Channukah. It’s pink and lacy and soft. I love it. I’m sick with a stomach bug, sitting here reading blogs, under an afghan made for us by my DH’s long since passed away aunt (I hope she sees me using it while sick!), and you reminded me of Mum’s shawl. I DO think, “wasn’t it nice for Mum to make me a shawl”, and I’m cold, (blanket only goes up to my chest), so I sent a child off to fetch the shawl. Next stop is an email to Mum, thanking her, yet again, for the comfy shawl. Thanks, KAY!

  23. Wow! Productivity!! I LOVE the quilt…and the shawl, and the blanket. Have marked the calendar for Wuthering Heights!
    Thanks!
    (((Hugs)))

  24. “A tasting menu of bad men”. . . that phrase is priceless. You’re going to quoted a lot on that one, Kay.

  25. I am one of those future quilters..and I love, love, love this quilt..and the shawl..Lovely!!

  26. Not only is the shawl lovely for the recipient, it is a way to give a hug when you can’t be there yourself, when you need to give a hug as much as the recipients need to receive it. This one is lovely.
    And the quilt colors are absolutely lovely – like sea glass.

  27. Oh i utterly exceedingly am in love with your quilt! Can you post some more pics? i have never seen one the i just love every thing about it?
    BTW..what are the faberics and pattern you u used? I see some Amy Butler…but what else is in it?

  28. Oh i utterly exceedingly am in love with your quilt! Can you post some more pics? i have never seen one the i just love every thing about it?
    BTW..what are the faberics and pattern you u used? I see some Amy Butler…but what else is in it?

  29. ok…in my excitement i ignored that you posted where to find the pattern…sorry:)

  30. Your shawl is beautiful, a very peaceful color. I was wondering what yarn you used for this project. The pattern shows up better than in the photos of the original kiri in Kidsilk Haze. And, do you spray, steam, or wet block with the lace wires? Absolutely gorgeous. Thank you!

  31. From personal experience–there is nothing like a handmade shawl from a friend when you are Up Against It. I treasure mine, even though I am Fully Healed. (she says while wildly casting about for some wood to touch)
    Altogether lovely collection. I am so impressed. Someone’s kids must be back in school…

  32. Love the shawl but where do you get wires for blocking. I’m knitting my first lacey shawl now.

  33. Me: green and brown Moderne Log Cabin Blanket, soft heathered shades of Cascade 220, loves curling up in front of the fire with a good book.
    You: grey and blue log cabin, a true original, a little bit exotic with your Finnish wool, loves curling up in front of the TV with a little public broadcasting.
    Let’s get together, baby. We can keep each other warm. :)

  34. Oh I couldn’t even watch Tess. I just want to slap all those Hardy heroines.

  35. I’m the same way with purple and green at the moment – in both my knitting AND quilting. Seems new even in both crafts!

  36. yes– it is magic to know what we can make and give, with our hearts, to our friends, families…
    kay ‘n ann, i received book #2 yesterday at lunchtime, wanted to take the rest of the day off to knit & read your ideas! xoxo merci the photos, the patterns, the colours, and your voices in the text.

  37. I LOVE TESS!! I missed it on tv, but should really read the book again. Thanks for the inspiration!

  38. gifts of warm thoughts are the best

  39. My metaphorical hat is off to you. Whereas you knit an ENTIRE SHAWL for someone whom you wish to encase in knitterly goodness, I knit my favorite people socks. A shawl is way too many stitches and too big a commitment for me, plus at least one of my fav. ple. is male, and I don’t think he would wear a shawl. Just sayin’…

  40. Is the shawl for Alison Hyde? She is very ill at this moment…go to http://www.spindyeknit.com for an update. She would Most Certainly love the shawl, and appreciate it. (But I’m not sure if there’s a connection between you two.)
    Love the blanket. I am running off to the stash to get blanket yarn out.
    Thanks for the inspiration, as always!!!!

  41. Is the shawl for Alison Hyde? She is very ill at this moment…go to http://www.spindyeknit.com for an update. She would Most Certainly love the shawl, and appreciate it. (But I’m not sure if there’s a connection between you two.)
    Love the blanket. I am running off to the stash to get blanket yarn out.
    Thanks for the inspiration, as always!!!!

  42. The log cabin has inspired me! I have a stash of 1824 Wool that I want to do SOMETHING with, and the log cabin using whole skeins is a great idea! Thanks!
    Also, I love your taste in quilt design!

  43. On Sunday I suddenly got the urge to make a quilt (hasn’t happened in a while)…is there a January movement or is Kay sending out pyschic impulses??
    Anyway, the quilt and the shawl are just super lovely.
    I would love to have one just like it :)

  44. How big is your knitting bag!?!

  45. Beautiful quilt and blanket!

  46. Beautiful quilt and blanket!

  47. Heathcliff smackdown.
    Vote
    a. Laurence Olivier
    b. Timothy Dalton
    c. Ralph Fiennes

  48. Shawl, quilt, afghan: love it all. (Yes, I do remember when you started that log cabin for Afghans for Afghans).
    I really appreciate the variety of craft, prolific nature, and great taste that you ladies have brought to the forefront in this blog, giving us all the inspiration to follow our individual bliss, as in unfolds and evolves.
    LoveDiane

  49. A, that is a lovely shawl, B, I thought you might like to know that there a few guys out there that are willing to wear kilts with their sweaters. You can’t really tell in the photo, but he is wearing a kilt with the sweater, and he’s done so many times since (once while at a job fair at a high school, for the library he was working for at the time).
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/22402372@N00/560703000/

  50. Amazing collection of productivity! My next log cabin blanket will be better yarn quality. DD and I did small squares on the last one (we wanted to divide the knitting) and so we ended up with LOTS of stitching and ends, etc.
    I should do Kiri shawls instead. Gorgeous.

  51. Ah! “Shetland Triangle” is the name of the shawl (in the book ‘Wrap Style’), that I was trying to think of the other day. It’s similar to Kiri, but is not as long, and took me only one skein of Jade Saphire. It was really fun to knit: lace, but not so complicated. (Is Kiri like that, too?)
    Should like to try blocking wires some day. Once you thread the wires through, then what do you do?
    LoveDiane

  52. Lovely shawl! I love the trim ;) You may have sold me on blocking wires!
    Lovely quilting!

  53. Beautiful picture of the shawl!! Would you give me permission to post it in my blog with a link to your blog and to the kiri pattern?
    Claudia

  54. Kay, I love the shawl – what yarn have you used? It looks so beautiful with really subtle variagations… just the sort of thing my stash desires!

  55. Love the shawl! I used blocking wires for the first time this Christmas – what a wonderful invention!!! So easy!
    Love the quilt too, but I have no talent for that!

  56. Oh, I loves me some bad men!

  57. YAY for the Finnish Blanket! :D

  58. All the F.O.’s are so inspiring, but I have to tell you that I am literally PANTING to find out where you got that bird-on-branch fabric in the dotty chair quilt. It is exactly what I’ve been looking for our bedroom. And since I am on just-a-bit-better-than-dial-up, wading through all the comments is a testament to my devotion to finding the source! Oh, please – and email, a future post – help! THANKS!!!

  59. All the F.O.’s are so inspiring, but I have to tell you that I am literally PANTING to find out where you got that bird-on-branch fabric in the dotty chair quilt. It is exactly what I’ve been looking for our bedroom. And since I am on just-a-bit-better-than-dial-up, wading through all the comments is a testament to my devotion to finding the source! Oh, please – and email, a future post – help! THANKS!!!

  60. I finished up a fabulous asymmetrical wrap from Wrap Style to Tess of the D’Urbervilles as well! So looking forward to the month of Charles Dickens on Masterpiece Classics!

  61. I love your quilt, your afghan, and your dotty chair! What great taste ! (which I always say when someone’s taste dovetails with mine.) I get the impression from this list of comments that your chair is featured regularly in photos shoots and is much admired. Any more info? (oh, I know, we’re such pests;-)