Works in Progress (WIPs): The Elder Tree Shawl

Elder Tree WIP: Wooly Mastadon

It’s Friday, and once again I’ll stop by to share my thoughts. I’ve had a UFO (unfinished object) lingering…no hibernating in my pile of UFOs for a few months now. It is the Elder Tree Shawl by Sylvia Bo Bilvia, a free pattern on Ravelry. I had started it at the beginning of April and hadn’t really touched it since. I’m using some beautiful yarn, not fancy mind you, but the colors are lovely (find more info here: lilwestie’s Elder Tree Shawl). It’s on size 8 needles and is lovely to work with. I just stopped. Now, I do have some background with UFOs. After knitting a relatively ugly fluffy pink blanket over all of around three years, I had decided I did not want projects to linger. Despite all that, I had created plenty of reasons in my head as to why I just didn’t have time to pick up this project.

  • It will take too much time.
  • The lace is too complicated.
  • i just can’t get into the stitch pattern.
  • I have to work in absolute silence.
  • I’m too tired after work.
  • etc……

Finally, about a two weeks ago, I decided to pick up that shawl. I love the color and the yarn, and knew I just couldn’t let it sit or frog it. One night, I sat down and knit 2 rows. That’s it, 2 rows. But that was all I needed. Those 2 rows showed me many of my excuses were wrong. At this point, it doesn’t take too much time. The lace is simple with every other row being a rest row, and I immediately was able to ‘read’ my knitting. I could work with music playing in the background, even music with words. I’m not too tired for this. Things have fallen into place.

I’m at a point in the shawl where 4 rows only takes me around 30 minutes. While I know that won’t last long as the shawl grows, I still have learned a few things about shawl knitting and myself in the process.

  1. Yes, lace takes effort and attention, but it’s doable.
  2. Knitting lace shawls is soothing. It takes just enough attention to keep you busy but still allows you to enjoy the process, the quiet, and the background music.
  3. If forces you to have a little uninterrupted knitting time which can help relieve stress from the day.
  4. The rest rows allow your mind to wander and help you calm down.
  5. You come closer to your knitting, you understand it.

Mostly, it helps me find some peace in my day, especially when I don’t have a routine. A big reason I didn’t pick up this project was because between my part time job, my internship, my freelance projects, and family and friends, I just didn’t have a schedule. Things were hectic and not being able to plan ahead gives me a headache. Slowly, as I learn this new lifestyle, I am getting back into things that I thought I just couldn’t start up again; music (my clarinet), friends, the shawl. It is helping me stay sane in the insanity that is life.

Its a lesson that I wish I had learned sooner…well, maybe I had learned it, but it got lost in the chaos and clutter. I have dug it out and with my shawl things are falling into place…for a little while at least.

~Stay Inpsired

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