I call it my Everything Shawl. I've worn it daily all winter long and believe me when I say that's the last thing I thought I'd ever do. I mean, it's mohair. I love mohair, love to knit with it, but mohair itches and I have the type of skin that loves to make me crazy.
The shawl started out as Road Trip Knitting (should that be trademarked??) and it was originally intended to be a cage cover for one of the parrots. I intended to make three huge covers because mohair traps the warmth beautifully, is feather-light (no pun intended), works up fast and looks pretty.
And I had a lot of it in my stash. (Outback Mohair, if you're wondering.) Anyway the plan was to cast on three stitches, knit them, then do K1 YO K1 K rest of row for as many rows as it took me to reach the desired width of the blanket then start decreasing in similar fashion until I was back down to three stitches. Bind off et voila! A finished blanket that would be light, warm, pretty, and useful.
So I started knitting. And knitting. And knitting. And suddenly the wingspan on the thing was well over seven feet and I was sooooo tired of all that garter stitch. What the hell, I figured. I'd loosely bind off. Maybe fringe it one day. And I'd end up with a shawl I'd probably never use in a color that, while pretty, wasn't really me.
Then came the first cold day. I was looking around for something light and unobtrusive to drape over my shoulders when I saw the shawl. Now if you're like me, you haven't made many things for yourself. For some reason most of my knitting goes to someone else. Especially the pretty knits. So I grabbed my huge, kinda ratty looking, shawl (still unfinished! lots of loose ends!) draped it over my shoulders and laughed as the point scraggly ends puddled on the floor at my feet. (Which isn't easy since I'm 5'9" tall. We're talking a lot of shawl here.) What to do? Why not harken back to my European ancestors and wrap the ends across my chest, bring them around back, then forward again to knot them at the waist. Hey! I kind of liked it. The shawl was securely in place. I was warm but not too warm. And it didn't look half bad.
And that was when I fell in love. The shawl isn't pretty. it isn't fashionable. It isn't even finished. But I love it beyond reason. I love it so much that I slept with it over my shoulders every single night. I wrote with it around my shoulders every single day. (I'm wearing it right now.) I draped it over my head to run out for the mail on snowy days. I plunged my fingers through the big accomodating garter stitch holes when I didn't have my hand warmers right next to me.
If anything ever happened to the shawl I would throw it a big funeral and sit right down and knit up another one.
The picture below shows my other two comfort knit favorites of 2010: the socks are from Wendy Johnson's Knit Simple pattern, knit up in Regia Softy. Fun to knit with, incredibly soft and cozy, but they shed inside like a chinchilla so beware when you wash them. The hand warmers are my favorite default pattern - Bonne M. Burns's Voodoo Handwarmers from Knitty a few years back - done up in good old Lion Brand Wool-Ease in denim. I can't tell you how many times they've been through the washer and dryer. I would be lost without them.
Do you have any well-worn favorites?
PS: Thanks for all the great Road Trip suggestions! I'll contact you over the weekend w/questions and hope to mail out yarn next week. xoxo