A couple of years ago the South Australian Hand-spinners and Weavers had sample bags at the Stitching and Craft Fair. I think they were free to the first 50 customers of the day and I was lucky enough to get one. Inside were - in my case -two skeins of green Shetland wool which I added to my stash. After knitting the two swing jackets last month, I went through my stash to see if there was anything I could make up while in the mood. I found a skein of apricot merino/silk/alpaca mix that I made up into a shrug for Brigid ( and forgot to photograph).
Meanwhile, Veronica saw the pile of skeins and made very complimentary noises about the green Shetland wool. Needing no more encouragement, I set about finding a pattern I could use to make her something. It is about 4 ply - a little fine for a shrug (or rather, insufficient wool to knit a 4 ply shrug!). In the end, I decided on a hat, and found a pattern called Mairi Tam in Wendy Knits Lace.
This proved to be a great pattern to make on a recent trip to the Gold Coast with three of my grandchildren. I got it started before I left and it served me on the plane and the first couple of days away.
I had almost forgotten the pleasure of knitting small lacy things with shape. The initial pattern is simple enough to remember and it is great fun to see the shape emerge. The decrease rows require a bit of checking back with the pattern, but, with the help of markers, the rhythm sets in and it is easy to keep track and check for mistakes.
The instructions were to block it around a dinner plate. I thought this would stretch it too far, especially the band, so I used a smaller microwave dish. Even that, I thought, might have been a bit too far. It might have been better not to block it at all. When I got home I added some shirring elastic by hand through the band.
It was a big success!