Comparing this project to climbing Mount Everest may be overstating it. A bit. I know—this is a piece of knitting, not a 29,000-foot-high mountain.
But I am definitely feeling the thin air receding as I slide down the back slope of this project. The symmetry of this triangle-shaped shawl means that there really is a halfway point of consequence. And getting home is so much faster than the climb up.
Once I hit Row 300 of Bristol Ivy’s Brambling Shawl, something encouraging happened. I got it. I mean: it wasn’t ever hard, but my scrawls on the pattern became fewer. The rhythm of the edge shaping made sense. Even the blocks of color, diminishing and increasing in size in varying proportion, fell into an order I could understand.
The hardest part for me has been following the pattern, which has a lot of repeats of batches of rows that include repeats within the repeats. Ack! My brain is so hurty! I haven’t ever worked this without the pattern at hand—and I continue to check off rows as I go—but the second half became rhythmic enough that I could listen to the entire podcast of S Town and simultaneously a) swap out colors and b) think a lot about John B. McLemore, the main character. (Anybody want to discuss it in the Lounge? I’ll set up a topic. Here you go: “S Town: The New Podcast from the Makers of Serial.”) (Kind of gutted by the whole story.)
Example of a Thing Becoming Intuitive
I kept wondering how the colors would trail off the edge when the time came. Sort of like that dread you have when you’re pregnant: what if my kid doesn’t ever figure out how to swim? Well, friends, when you get to the edge, and the color runs out, the pattern tells you what to do. The three-stitch garter stitch edge continues, yet the color does not. My relief at this actually happening was akin to that moment when the swimming teacher lets go and, holy kamoley, the boy floats.
The simplicity of the intarsia color change means we could, potentially, if we felt like it, make rugs or tapestries or even other knitted things. It’s so flat and single layered. I have no desire to knit up a panda-face pullover, but these swoopy colorblocks are a beautiful new sort of knitting.
if you’re just dialing in and wonder what all the intarsia is about, this project is from A Year of Techniques, Jen and Jim Arnall-Culliford’s clever program of lessons and patterns and yarns, oh my. We’ll be playing around all year long (this is Project 2 of 12), so come on in—you’ll float, I swear you will. All the details are here.