Sometimes there’s a project that just lingers on and on, despite your best intentions to finish it in a timely fashion. Life happens, other projects call to you, and before you know it, you look down and realize you’ve been working on the same project since before the start of this interminable election cycle for a really long time. I’ll admit that I’m not a “get ‘er done” kind of knitter. In fact, one of my favorite quotes (by the brilliant Douglas Adams) is “I love deadlines. I love the whooshing noise they make as they go by.” Back in April, I blogged about my mother’s cowl-to-be, made out of glorious silk, and I think it’s time for an update:
Do you know what that is? That’s a darning needle with my final sheet of mawata threaded on it. That’s the finish line coming into view at long last! Yes indeed, I’m binding off, using Elizabeth Zimmerman’s sewn bind-off for stretchiness. Ta-da!
This may not seem that exciting, but you must remember that I’ve been knitting on this project for years. I had almost started to wonder whether it would ever be finished.
Now, the end is in sight. Mim will get her Chiao Goo needle back (thanks, Mim!), my mom will finally get her Christmas gift, and I will get to choose a new travel project to stuff into my purse! Finishing something like this is bittersweet, a little like finishing a good book. You’re pleased to reach the end, but you’ve been immersed in it for so long, you’re not quite sure what to do with yourself once you’re done. Fortunately, in this case, Ravelry is here to help!
I started out as a one-project-at-a-time knitter. No starting a new one until I finished what was on my needles. As you can imagine, that resolution quickly fell by the wayside after I started working at the shop. One project became two, and two became three (“One simple, one complicated, and a travel-sized item!”), and it grew from there. We won’t even talk about how long my “to-knit” list is. Suffice it to say, Ravelry has been both a blessing and a curse. As a result of my cast-on-itis, some items take longer than I’d like to finish. Some items have even celebrated multiple birthdays on the needles. One item, in particular, is roughly the same age as my favorite toddler — and he’s growing faster than my project!
Toddler sweater! (Pattern is “gramps” by Tin Can Knits)
(Note for clarification: not MY child, the child of a friend. She deals with the day-to-day challenges, and I knit cute things and get sticky hugs and high-fives.)
This poor, neglected project, approaching its third birthday, is a beautiful cowl-to-be, knit out of hand-dyed mawata. I hadn’t heard of mawata until Stephanie Pearl-McPhee (aka “The Yarn Harlot”) taught a class on knitting with it here at the shop. Mawata is also called “silk hankies”, and is the result of evicting silk worms from their cocoons (sorry, silk worms!). To knit with it, you lift one whisper-thin sheet of mawata, stick your thumbs through the center of the square, and pull until it is stretched as thinly as you’d like. You then break the loop, and cast on. Mawata creates lovely, soft and lightweight items, and is ultra warm — perfect for our Maine winters!
(before & after)
Who on earth would be patient enough to wait almost three years for a cowl? Well, that would be my mother. With the patience of a saint, my mother has watched me periodically pick up and put down this cowl; she’s seen a baby sweater and multiple hats be cast on after (and be completed before) her “Christmas” gift. Yes, indeed, this is a Christmas present from 2013. In my defense, I had no idea how much yardage I would get from 25g of mawata. Let me tell you, it goes a loooooong way.
I’m enjoying knitting with it, but it’s time to wrap it up. That’s why I’m telling all of you about it — to hold myself accountable. This cowl will be done in time for Christmas 2016! (Mom, thanks for not guilt-tripping me on this. Also, could you please pretend to be surprised when you open the wrapping paper?)