As I knit the Travelling Landscapes Project shawl, I had few problems. But the problems I did have seemed to cluster right at the end!
Shawls grow so quickly, and since I was using two colours I wanted the sections to look balanced – in whatever way that turned out to mean. The red is so much darker than the grey that the visual weight of each section became a really important consideration as I designed. But, of course, the shawl was growing and each row was taking more yarn than the row before. Yet I was without a scale. It meant that I had to do a lot of ‘trusting my gut’. (Not to mention some low-key worrying that I was being led astray by said gut.)
As the shawl progressed, I realized that I wanted to deconstruct the stitch pattern of the first red section, to pull it apart and play with the elements within it. I wrote on Instagram: “You know how on a vacation you can develop a theme? Similar experiences that are different but bring echoes of other moments into the present? As you gain a sense of the history and ecology of a place, your encounters seem to build on each other and branch out at the same time. I have decided to play with that feeling of strangeness merging into familiarity with the next sections of the shawl. I’m deconstructing the pattern from the first section, pulling out the pieces to stand on their own. It’s exciting to see it coming along!”
I really wanted to make that happen, but I was also just plain running out of yarn. I like to leave a buffer for other knitters, so when I design I don’t use up every last inch of yarn. But I know using up all the yarn is often something people love to do, so I wanted a final section that:
- played with the idea of deconstructing the first red section
- worked well as a final section and wouldn’t buckle or curl
- would allow those who wanted to use up every last yarn of yarn to easily do so
I tried a few things, and even ended up frogging the whole section on the plane from Munich to Toronto.
(The plane was in ‘pretend it’s night’ mode so that the people who wanted to could sleep, so the photo quality is pretty terrible. Sorry.)
Once I was home I think I asked everyone I saw about the shawl and had several video chats with my sister about it! I didn’t want to be making knee-jerk choices while I was jet-lagged, but I wanted it to be finished so badly!
I also had access to all of my stitch dictionaries again once I was home, and I paged through them, feeling like I was surrounded by things that wouldn’t work. It was like all of my confidence was leaching out of the project. Instead of feeling like I was knocking it out of the park, I worried that things were being wrecked in the last inches.
Good news: I was wrong.
Like a movie that seemed to promise a melancholy ending but instead pulled out a sweet last scene, this shawl ends with a smile.