I didn’t finish the shawl I was knitting for my mom in time for her birthday, but I finished it just in time to give it to her before she left. The story of this shawl began with a single skein of bright yellow yarn that I got from Three Fates Yarns at the Oregon Flock and Fiber Festival. I fell in love with the happy yellow color (and the super soft merino) and had to bring the skein home with me. I decided it was meant to be a shawl. When I was looking up shawl patterns on Ravelry, I came across the Pebble Beach Shawl. It made me think about my mom, who loves going to the beach more than anyone else I know. One of her favorite things in the whole world is to walk along the beach looking for shells, it makes her so happy. Living in Florida, I knew knitting her a wool shawl might seem a little funny, but I also knew there would be opportunities to wear that lightweight shawl. Windy beach days? A trip to northern Florida for work? She’d be covered. In merino at that!
When I first started the shawl, I wasn’t doing a few of the techniques correctly and could tell it wasn’t turning out right. I had to keep ripping it out and starting over until I got it right. I watched youtube videos and kept trying until things suddenly clicked and I could feel that I was doing things right. That is such a good feeling when that happens. (I included links to some videos I found helpful in my Ravelry notes.) It was the first shawl I’ve ever knit and some fellow knitters introduced me to the world of highlighter tape to keep track of where I was in the pattern. (Highlighter tape is awesome!) I enjoyed knitting the pattern and my mom’s shawl is the loveliest thing I’ve ever knit. While I was knitting it, I thought about all the happy things that yellow color reminded me of. Sunflowers. Lemons. Sunshine. The whole time I was knitting that shawl, it felt like I was knitting sunshine. In keeping with the sunshine theme, I loved knowing my mom would be able to wrap herself up in a warm burst of sunshine anytime she wanted to.
I had been working on the shawl for weeks, hoping I could get it done in time for her birthday. With a busy schedule and not much knitting time, I wondered how I would finish it. I kept the mantra ‘One stitch at a time, one row at a time’ and made a goal to get a few rows done every day. Some days I didn’t get a single row knit, but other days I got a knitting opportunity and could make up for it. On the day of her birthday, it wasn’t done. I kept working on it while she was here. We stayed up late together one night while I tried to get the last rows finished. I envisioned taking pictures of the Pebble Beach Shawl at the beach, but the picot bind off took much longer than I expected and I ended up working on that and casting off the shawl at the beach instead. That night we blocked it and the next morning I finished drying the shawl as much as I could with my mom’s blow dryer. We took some pictures of her wearing her new shawl in the garden right before she left for the airport.
And in the garden was our first sunflower of the year! We’ve been waiting for the sunflowers to open, hoping they would bloom while my mom was here, and the first one did open during her visit. My mom played around with wearing the shawl with a shawl pin or simply tying it. (Jeff made that gorgeous shawl pin in mountain mahogany wood. More of Jeff’s handmade wooden shawl pins can be found in our family’s shop.) I made the small size of the shawl and thought it was really sweet, but the medium or large sizes would be great too for wrapping around. I asked my mom and Jeff to each hold a side of the shawl so I could take some pictures. I may have wanted to snap quite a few pictures of it, but it was my first shawl after all! I came across this quote that summed up how I felt about the shawl I made for my mom…
“Wherever you go, no matter what the weather, bring your own sunshine.” -Anthony J. D’Angelo