Two teachers at my school are retiring when the school year ends this week. Each has taught for over 40 years! In honor of their service to children, I wanted to make something special for them. I knew that I wouldn’t have time to do both gifts in the time I had available, but I really thought I could do one. (I will give the other to the recipient when she comes back to tutor next year as she has promised!)
The person who will be receiving her gift before the year ends is Tippi. She is a Southern lady in every way. She is amazingly gentle at all times, and she has a way of reaching kids who others wouldn’t even try to reach. If I had to choose one word to describe her, it would be “class”.
To figure out what I would do for Tippi, I had one of her best friends sit down with me and look through my Ravelry queue and stash listings. Many of the yarns in my stash didn’t scream “class” enough or were too bright for her fair skin. However, our friend found a beautiful match that would be possible and appropriate.
The Annis shawl from Knitty.com has been in my queue for a long time. To date, over 3000 of these shawls have been listed on Ravelry, and from the comments, I hoped that the pattern would be something that I could handle.
The Malabrigo Sock yarn had also been in my stash for a long time. When I purchased it, I was looking for something bright purple. Instead, the yarn was a really, really dark purple. In some settings, the yarn actually looks more black than purple. Although it wasn’t what I wanted at the time, I liked it enough to keep it.
The yarn was a mess in the skein. Much to my surprise, it took about 3 1/2 hours to get it out of the skein and into a ball. The yarn was so tangled that I couldn’t even use my yarn-winder! (A scurry of blind squirrels could have done a better job preparing that skein for sale than what the folks at Malabrigo did!)
It was worth the battle though. The yarn was dyed beautifully, with a subtle variation in color that isn’t obvious from a distance but glorious up close.
I had some falls along the way. This was my first beaded project. On my first try, the gauge was too loose. The whole thing just looked sloppy. So I frogged and tried again on needles the next size below those recommended. Then when I was about 20 rows into the short row section, I realized that I had mistakenly read “p11” as “pl 1”. That made the shawl really off-center.
The third try was the charm though. I put to stitch markers around the center stitch, and that kept me from getting lost.
Blocking was a pain, but I think that was mostly due to the fact that I don’t have super-fine blocking wires. I also thought about it this morning and realized that I could have achieved a more circular shape to the shawl if I’d used three wires along the bottom edge instead of two.
C’est la vie! The shawl still turned out better than what I’d hoped.
The recipient loved it so much that she ran around the school to show it off to anyone who would stand still long enough to look at it. (Much to my delight, quite a few people stopped for a very long time!)
I still feel like I failed a bit though. Tippi is a very special lady! While the shawl is beautiful, it still doesn’t match her!