Wearing this shawl I shall always feel the sea breeze on my face and imagine the mist surrounding me as I make my way homeward to Avalon.
Among other things, I have romanticized the Shetland Isles and the mystique of the Shetland wool produced by the hardy sheep that live and manage to survive there. It's an infatuation that began years ago when I purchased a Jamieson's Shetland Knitting Book featuring designs pictured on the isles and describing the region and way of life.
It is thus, against all probability, that someone living in Southern California found herself wanting to knit a traditional Shetland Hap Shawl. I chose The Cora Shawl designed by Sharon Miller (Heirloom Knitting) because of its feminine and pretty colors. Some purist will claim it's not truly a Shetland shawl because the yarn, Jamieson's Ultra laceweight is actually a 50/50 blend of Shetland wool and lambs' wool. It's a small nuance that I was not aware of at the time I began this shawl, back in May 2007.
It is, however, a traditional Hap Shawl design with a flower and diamond center and a shaded old shell lace border.
I wrote on May 1, 2007 "I fully expect this project to take at least 1 year." And so it did, and then some. Not that I worked constantly on it, because, if you look around on this blog, you will see that I was knitting on other things at the same time.
I have seen similar styled shawls knit in heavier weight yarns. But make no mistake, while using a heavier weight yarn is no doubt a faster option, nothing can compare to the pure decadent pleasure of wearing a true lace weight shawl.
If you are interested in Shetland's history you might enjoy visiting the Shetland Museum. For more specifically on Hap Shawls, Heirloom Knitting has an on-line booklet here. And, for a less romanticized view of the lives of women who lived and knit on the Shetland Isles, you might read Needled's article Tea and Knitting which points out the less than rosy view of Shetland life for women. I must say, I wouldn't want to have to knock out these shawls regularly or a hat each night for a living. I think that would be a difficult life.
Particulars: The Cora Shawl by Sharon Miller of Heirloom Knitting (other Sharon Miller Shawl's I've knit: Dove and Birch); US 3 needles; Jamieson's Shetland Ultra Lace-weight 2 ply wool: 14 balls (172M per 25g); Colorways: 7 Mystique, 2 Azure, 2 white, 1 clematis, 2 opal; dressed dimensions: 68 inch square. Modifications: none - except I didn't block it severely so my shawl is roughly a 63 inch square. When I have occasion to reblock it I might use a larger surface to get the increased inches - although it's plenty large as it is. For those so interested, the nitty gritty project details are on my Ravelry Notebook.
Finally, this is a very well written pattern and I followed all of the steps and advice given with a fervent zeal. Well, almost. The pattern directs:
"obviously, you will always knit with clean hands"Oh, that's very obvious. *Cough* *Cough* Just a second. Sorry. I was just choking on a cookie I was eating and had to brush the crumbs off my computer keyboard. Where was I? Ah yes. This tip reminds me of the other obvious rule, namely, that one should never eat near a computer keyboard. Very good advise.
I Thought I should Let You Know....I've been absent from the blog and the blogosphere in general because we have received some heart breaking news. Our dear Mr Puffy has been diagnosed with bladder cancer. It's been almost a month since we learned of his condition and I know all of you will understand how difficult this is for us.
It is not operable. Steve (a medical doctor) has done extensive research and we understand the nature of the illness and the state of medicine for his condition. Mr Puffy is currently on a medication that is controlling his symptoms and he's feeling well, eating well, and enjoying his afternoon tea. I can almost forget he's sick. Almost.
If you have a minute you might say a little prayer that Mr Puffy not suffer unnecessarily and that he continue to have a good response to the medications. It is my prayer that he not be afraid and throughout it all that he know how much his mommy and daddy love him and will always love him.
After several horrible weeks, the medications have allowed us to resume a normal life, which means long walks, long snoozes, and guzzling treats. And, more than ever, we cherish our special tea time together. This past week I made a moist Alabama Blueberry Bread, redolent with the fragrance of warm blueberries, cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg which is the perfect late Summer tea treat. While Mr Puffy has his own treats for tea, I find it hard not to share a little of mine with him as well. He seems to particularly enjoy this cake! The recipe can be found on-line here curtesy of Penzey's Spices, which I halved into a single loaf quite nicely. Steve sagely noted that this loaf served with a dollop of ice cream would make a wonderful dessert too....
Until next time, be well, love well, and cherish everyday with your loved ones.