I received the most lovely surprise in the post yesterday.
By the luckiest chance I won the beautiful book "Forgotten Ways for Modern Days" over at Annie Cholewa.
Please pop over to visit her thoughtful space if you get a chance. You'll be glad you did.
I always use natural, gentle and homemade products around the home but have found myself uninspired by household tasks of late. I suppose it is easy to fall into survival mode with a big, busy family. What is that saying about shoveling snow while it's still snowing?
I understand that I need a level of beauty and order around me. It is the way I'm made. (Moon in Libra)
Yet I am comfortable with homely shabbiness. I enjoy seeing piles of books, jars of colouring pencils, floury counter-tops and scattered balls of yarn. These are the marks of a happy, full and living home.
But a drop of essential oil, the scent of lemon zest, mustard yellow drying balls for winter loads and pots of salad resting on the windowsill ... make my heart happy.
And more than that, they inspire me to enjoy the small tasks again.
Today I am ordering some roving to make those mustard yellow dryer balls with the girls.
Last week I had a need to knit something very simple and warm for myself. I wanted something therapeutic, rhythmical and garter stitched. I learned to knit by knitting garter stitch squares and there is the nostalgia I suppose.
I wasn't sure whether this shawl would turn out as I hoped but somehow, as if by magic the vision in my head appeared upon my needles.
It is a very simple pattern. Gauge doesn't really matter as the garter stitch pattern is very forgiving and allows for a lot of stretch. This shawl is pretty much medium sized but it can be adjusted by knitting more rows in the middle section to make it longer.
Using 3.75 needles and 100grams Sirdar Country Style DK in Slate
Cast on 3 stitches
First row K2, knit into the front and back of next stitch
Second row knit
Continue in this way increasing on one side of the shawl every other row until you have 72 stitches on your needle.
Now increase every 4th row instead of every 2nd row until you have 75 stitches on your needle
Continue knitting straight in garter stitch for about 6 inches or so. (your yarn will probably end around 3 inches in and this will mark your halfway point)
Instead of increasing on the second stitch from the bottom edge of the shawl you'll now be decreasing by knitting two stitches together.
First row of decrease: K2, k2tog, knit to end of row
Knit next 3 rows straight
Repeat until you have 72 stitches on your needle
Then continue decreasing by knitting two stitches then knitting two stitches together at the beginning of every other row (the bottom edge of your shawl) until three stitches remain on your needle.
Knit two together.
You can stretch the shawl length ways and block for a wider wrap that you can pin with a shawl pin.
I decided to sew the points together without blocking first (about an inch and a half along both seams) I wore it this way all day yesterday and it seems to work well.
Joining Small things and Frontier Dreams