Creativity · Knitting · Memoir · Yarn

Twiddling Needles: Works in Progress


It looks like this might end up being the lone blog post for this week. Oh well. I guess every week in life is going to be different, isn’t it?

I’m happy to report that this particular week has been chock full of knitting, and I have plenty to report. So, it’s going to be a good, long post. I have three projects going at the moment. All three of them shawls.

So then. Time for some shawl n’ tell.

(Ravelry links for the patterns are at the end of the post.)

The Hortense Beaded Lace Shawl, destined to be my bff’s wedding shawl, is coming along stitch by stitch.

Danny and I collected a few fall leaves last year, and I was luckily able to pick one out for the photos to help give a sense of the fall wedding’s main color pallette: navy blue and orange.


This is absolutely a homebody project. The charted pattern requires a good amount of concentration, the cashmere laceweight yarn is very delicate, and then there are the beads to wrangle with my tiniest crochet hook. Yeah, not really the kind of thing I want to just shove into my bag and take with me on the bus or to a knitting group.

Instead, I have been setting aside some time to knit a few rows of Hortense each day at home, propped up on the bed or sitting on our big comfy couch with some music playing, a steaming mug of tea within reach.

It has become like a comforting sort of ritual.


I have two more chart repeats until I am finished with the shawl body, which is the top portion of the shawl. The lace is a sweet beaded motif, which I have really fallen in love with. It makes me think of delicate leaves, flower buds, and clover. I’ll actually be a little sad when I switch pattern charts, but I am still looking forward to moving on to the lovely cascading lace border.



It’s been wonderful to be able to think of my friend, Bethany, while knitting this special shawl. I reflect on our friendship and all the memories from the past 17 years, and I visualize her beautiful wedding that will take place later this year, marking the beginning of a new chapter for her life.


I can’t wait until October.


The two other shawls I am working on are simpler patterns, easily memorizeable, and are projects I feel comfortable taking with me while I am out and about.

Maritana by Meghan Huber of New England Knitting is the official knitted shawl of the Knit North Yarn Crawl, which is a self-guided tour of 9 yarn shops along Boston’s North Shore, happening March 17th-20th. I will be in New England during that time, helping Bethany with some of her wedding planning errands while she is visiting the States for a couple weeks from London.

(I mean, I say “helping,” but really I’ll just be tagging along as she drives to Boston to attend fittings, tastings, photography sessions, etc. So, translated: plenty of best friend bonding and lots of knitting time for me.)


To allow ourselves a little respite from wedding planning madness, we’re going to set some time aside on the Saturday to participate in the Knit North crawl a little bit. We plan to meander our way down from the New Hampshire seacoast and stop into as many yarn shops as we can handle.

Once we decided to do the crawl, I figured why not sport my own version of the official shawl while I’m at it?


It is a triangular shawl, made up of a sequence of four colors, knit in either stockinette stitch or a more textured slipped stitch pattern, which creates a really cozy effect.

The pattern calls for a DK weight yarn, which I do have some of, but I really wasn’t crazy about the color combinations I was coming up with. So, instead of just going out to buy more yarn, I was creative and did some experimenting with other weights of yarn in my stash this past weekend.


The brown/tan yarn and the light blue are Isager alpaca laceweight yarns that I am holding double, and the red is a JaggerSpun Zephir yarn (50/50 Merino and Silk), which is also a laceweight held double. And the charcoal is a sport weight alpaca yarn by Elann called Peruvian Quechua (discontinued), which I am trying to knit more tightly to get as close to the other yarns’ gauge as I can without having to change needles. Because, well, I am lazy sometimes.

The four colors I chose actually stir up some warming memories of living in New Englalnd during my high school years. Fourth of July evenings in the park, Red Sox games on TV, the houses and boats at the pier in Portsmouth, New Hampshire…

Photo by John Elks III 

My version of Maritana will probably end up being more like a cowl/scarf sized accessory rather than a full sized shawl with a 70″ wingspan. So, I’m estimating that I’m about a third of the way done.

And finally, my third shawl, Dotted Rays by Stephen West, is about halfway there.


I made a couple of changes to my original plan for this pattern. First, I decided to hold the fingering yarn double to make a thicker, squishier fabric. And second, I am incorporating another color. The dark purple color is called Light Noise and the lilac color is Darkest Desire. Both are naturally dyed Cormo yarn by Sincere Sheep.

The striping effect is very subtle but I really love it a lot. I was really hoping, when I purchased these yarns last summer, that I was going to make a project incorporating both colors together. And now I am!

This will be a nice warm scarf/wrap to wear in chilly Boston a couple weeks from now. And very much appreciated, I’ll tell you.


Have a good Friday and weekend, everyone. Craft on.

Ravelry Links for the above patterns

Hortense Beaded Lace Shawl

Maritana Shawl

Dotted Rays

2 thoughts on “Twiddling Needles: Works in Progress

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