Thursday, 29 June 2017

My Platonic Ideal of Shawls: A Cowl

This cowl is everything I want in a shawl. I know that should be a colon followed by a list of all the attributes of a shawl that I'm looking for but now that I come to write this post, I can't think of anything to say except that unlike all the (beautiful) shawls I've knit in the past, I want to wear this one. Not because I want to show it off (I do) but because it wears effortlessly. I never have to tug it or spend five minutes trying to put it on "right", or worry it'll get caught on something. I just...put it on. And wear it.

The yarn is a self-made gradient of Old Maiden Aunt sparkle 4-ply in the colours Twu Luv, Berry Good, Bramble, and Midnight. The first three were leftovers from Havra, Gudrun Johnson's first MKAL two years ago. 

It's the Starshower Cowl by Hilary Smith Callis, and it starts off as a semi-circle knit flat and then you switch to knitting it in the round to make a cowl. The pattern is easy enough although she has you switch which direction you're knitting in the round to reduce purl rows and keep you from having to work the lace on a knit round but i found it much easier to knit the lace by working the passed-over stitch on the following round. If you have the pattern, that will make sense. 

Would I knit it again or another shawl/cowl hybrid by the same designer? Probably not. The pattern as written comes in one size with a 39" circumpherance at the bottom. Now, shawls don't generally need sizes, unless it's "small or huge", but the pictures show it pulled down over her shoulders with what looks like plenty of positive ease, which is the look that sold me on the pattern only to find there's no support for modifying it. She suggest that if it doesn't fit around your shoulders, you just wear it bunched up. At the time of my knitting mine, she had responded every question and comment on the pattern except the one about making it bigger which she ignored completely. I worked out how to do so for myself and it wasn't so difficult that her refusal to do so feels like body-shaming. 

And that's fine; if she doesn't want fat bodies wearing her designs then this fat body is more than capable of modifying shawls in a similar way and there are plenty of size-inclusive designers out there to give my money to.