Monday, June 6, 2011

Mystery Shawlette and a life lesson

What the heck is a Mystery Shawlette? It was a project in an online mystery knit-along. What? That didn't clear things up for you?   Photobucket

Wendy Johnson of Wendy Knits is a knitting designer with a blog, a few books, and many gorgeous projects to her credit. Most of the socks that I've made have been her patterns. When she presented the idea of a mystery shawlette, I was immediately intrigued. I've done mystery quilts before so I understood the concept. You do not see the finished project in advance. Instructions are given bit by bit so even an experienced knitter or quilter doesn't guess the outcome in the first few pattern segments.

In this case, Wendy made some yarn recommendations, told us how many stitches to cast on, and to knit two rows while waiting for the first portion of pattern. If you're wondering about the term 'shawlette', it refers to a small shawl, usually worn for decorative purposes rather than warmth.

Pattern directions were given on May 17, 22, 26 and June 2.  The shawlette was knitted from the widest part down to the smallest, so the slower part of knitting was in the beginning when the excitement of a new project is highest. I used a cotton yarn, Siena by Rowan. Here is the shawlette fresh off the needles and not blocked (pinned into shape while damp and left to dry). The straight edge measured 38" unblocked.
Here it is drying on the blocking tiles. The straight edge is now 55 inches and length of the center from straight edge to point is 25 inches.

I enjoyed the process and finished project so much, I think I will make this again, adding more stitches at the onset to make a full size shawl.

Time for a life lesson:

Everyone is familiar with the phrase "don't bite off more than you can chew", right? I'm betting that some knitters, especially those who have shied away from lacy patterns, are thinking that they couldn't do this, that it would be too hard. The beauty of a mystery knit-along is that you only have 12-24 rows of printed pattern in front of you at any given time. That isn't overwhelming. Break it down further, and each row is composed of individual stitches that you can handle. If you already knit, you know how to knit, to purl, to slip a stitch, to do a decrease and a yarn over. This pattern is definitely "chewable".

So is life. We aren't born walking and talking. We learn that and much more, and we learn in stages. We realize this without thinking about it the whole time we are engaged in formal education. We learn addition before algebra. The majority of us, barring medical problems, never lose the ability to learn.

Don't look at anything and talk yourself out of it attempting it before you give it a shot. It doesn't have to be knitting. I won't force you to knit if you don't force me to skydive or golf. Yes, I've tried golf and no, I don't ever intend to skydive unless I'm in a burning plane. I'm talking about trying things you think you'd like but don't think you have enough talent, endurance or knowledge to complete. Practice, be patient and ask for help along the way.

When something is tough, cut it into smaller pieces before you chew it. It might be the most savory or sweetest bit of life you'll ever chew.


Chatty Crone said...

What an inspiring blog today - I love it - if it is too big too handle - start smaller!

SkippyMom said...

Great advice and the knitting mystery challenge was the perfect metaphor.

I love that shawlette. So delicate and airy. Nicely done.

May I ask how long it took per the challenge.

Knitty said...

The first clue (set of directions) was given on May 17th, the last one June 2nd. I finished it on the 5th.