I started knitting this project in secret this past September. I finally finished it on December 16th and I am absolutely thrilled with the result, and even more thrilled that I can finally share it! Voila, the Eliina shawl knit in my own handspun yarn!
You may recognize this handspun from a very long series of blog posts that began last February and finally wrapped up in March. I was working on this yarn, my very first 3-ply handspun for weeks! The roving is Blue Moon Fiber Arts Sheep 2 Shoe in Crabby McCrabbypants. It was definitely a labour of love, and absolutely worth all the effort now that I've got 2 beautiful FO's out of it. The first FO was a pair of awesome, simple socks that I knit for myself last March after finally completing all the spinning.
It was so hard to keep this project a secret! My mom is a very faithful follower of my blog, and she is always very up to date on my current knitting projects. I talk to her every day, and usually tell her everything, from what I ate for breakfast to where I took Stella for a walk and definitely what I'm working on, especially if it's a cool handspun shawl that I'm particularly excited about. I really wanted it to be a surprise for her. So, for months I fought the urge to spill the beans about this project and on Christmas day, when she opened her present and saw this handspun beauty, the look on her face made my months of secrecy totally worth it!
Buying gifts for my mom really isn't very difficult for me. I know what she likes and what she needs, I could buy her something nice and useful, and I know that she would love it and appreciate it, but this year I really wanted to give her something extra special. She does so much for all her kids, but this year especially, between the new house, the wedding and running our business, she has helped Chris and I more than I can explain. I don't know what we would have done without her.
What could be more special and appropriate than a handspun shawl. I knit a shawl for her for Christmas a couple of years ago, (a swallowtail shawl) and I gave her a silk stole that she wore all night at our wedding, and I thought that it was time for a new, simple but beautiful shawl that she could wear everyday.
Picking a shawl pattern that high-lights rather than distracts from handspun yarn is pretty easy. I wrote about my process when I designed my Prism Shawl, I tend to choose patterns that are simple and graphic, with just a touch of something, like maybe a couple of eyelet rows, to keep things interesting but still keep the focus on the yarn and the fabulous shifts in colour. I also can't resist a pretty border. The Eliina shawl has a gorgeous, light and airy border that I am crazy about! It features a crochet cast-off that I love, just like my other favorite pattern, the Haruni shawl (I've knit it twice, here and here. The first one was gifted to my cousin for Christmas this year.)
I love how the shift in pattern on the border makes the stripes of colour turn into undulating waves. Particularly that burgundy wave that runs right down the middle of the border, so pretty!
Of course I had to test out the shawl in a mini photo-shoot the other day. I wrapped it around my neck and was very happy with the size and the drape and the way that it casually falls so gracefully and beautifully over the shoulders. I love shawls, they are just so elegant.
After all that work at secrecy for my mom, my poor dad got a pair of cashmere socks for Christmas (as well as a hat made by Chris!) but the socks weren't a secret. He knows that he's always going to get socks and he loves them, the only surprise this year was that I was actually able to get them finished and wrapped up in time to give them to him on Christmas day! He likes his socks very much, They are Anne Hanson's Cinder Block sock pattern knit in TFA Purple Label Cashmere sock yarn in the Olive colourway.
Pretty Handspun shawl Ravelry project page.