Vacation Brain


Fall_2016_MagazinesIt always comes as a bit of a shock when the knitting and crochet magazines start arriving for the new season. So far, Fall 2016 issues of knitscene and VOGUEknitting have hit our shelves. Can it really be true that summer is winding down?

It’s been a summer speckled with vacations for me, and I’m afraid I’m suffering from vacation brain. That is, I feel stuck in a sort of daydreaming mood. Friends and family, adorable kitties and good times are floating around in my mind, along with rainbows of yarn and parades of knit stitches. I feel wildly inspired but too relaxed to be highly productive.


Coconut, my best bud in Kansas

Is it just me, or does everyone pack vastly more yarn than necessary when traveling? When I’m preparing for a trip, I think of days and days of knitting in the sunshine. I’m sure I’ll be banging out knitting projects like nobody’s business. I’ll probably come home with five new shawls, because I’ll have so much glorious free time at my disposal. But somehow I end up knitting a little here and a little there – during the plane rides mostly. I don’t get much done, but I feel ok about it. It’s been a vacation well spent.

During my recent trip home to visit my family in Kansas, I packed three different shawls in-progress (I am a shawl addict. Click to see 100+ of my favorites.), and a few odd extra skeins for good measure, in case inspiration happened to strike.

Bridezilla_ShawlThe Bridezilla Shawl:  I told you about the bridezilla shawl when I excavated my cluttered knitting bag a few months ago, but it’s been slow going. I picked this shawl in order to challenge myself – it’s an all-over lace shawl cast on at the bottom edge (560 stitches) made with SO MANY beads (I decided to quit incorporating beads after 20 or so rows, but I’m glad for the experience). I’m loving working with a luxurious hand-dyed silk/baby alpaca lace-weight yarn from Highland Handmades. I love this shawl. It’s just that each row takes around 2 hours to complete at this point, and 2-hour time blocks are often hard to come by (even on vacations).


The Regina Marie Shawl: Shoutout to Katie from my regular Thursday night Stitch ‘n’ Spin crowd! Katie made the Regina Marie Shawl recently, and it was exquisite. We passed Katie’s shawl around our knitting circle and it looked gorgeous on everyone. I love how the border is knit first, leaving one stitch live on the needles at the end of every other row, so the center section can be knit without seaming after the lace border is entirely completed. This beautiful lace edging is charted in a pleasingly clear and concise way, but wow – this 16-row repeat is impossible to memorize. I’m spending more time looking at my pattern than I ever have in my knitting life. Good thing I thought up this clever trick (above) for keeping my pattern at eye-level and hands-free on the airplane (I’ve since discovered that, unsurprisingly, I’m not the first to think of this).

Laurens_Linen_Stitch_Shawl_WEBThe “I’m making this up as I go along” linen stitch shawl with various yarns purchased earlier this year at the Fiber Frolic: Linen stitch just can’t be beat for making hand-painted yarns look amazing. It blends the colors together so beautifully to make a more cohesive-looking multi-colored fabric. But since I’m a sucker for new techniques, I decided to change things up a bit by constructing this shawl like a triangle shawl, except with a panel in the center rather than a single stitch. It’s a simplified version of a Faroese-style shawl, which I’ve also yet to attempt.

I should probably stop daydreaming about shawls now and get back to work.

Note: Photos of the Bridezilla Shawl and the Regina Marie shawl are from Ravelry.

Written by Lauren Chesis

Lauren Chesis

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