My friend, Maria, is unfailingly generous with my children and myself, and so I always try to find something nice to give her at Christmas and for her birthday. Of course, for her birthday I made her the Juliana shawl (which I’m fairly sure she liked as she’s worn it quite a lot). I wanted to find something even more special if possible to give her for Christmas. When I saw the Aeolian shawl that Machelle had made, I thought that would be perfect for Maria. She’s a very elegant, feminine person (I know, I don’t know why she’s friends with me either!) and so I knew that, if I managed to make it well, and in a colour that she liked, she’d really like it. And I know that she appreciates the time I put into making things. It seemed perfect, as she wouldn’t be able to buy something exactly like it in the shops, and noone else would have the exact same thing unless they went out and bought the same yarn and used the same pattern.
I took the opportunity of my visit to the Ally Pally show in October to look for the perfect yarn. I know that so much lovely yarn is available online, but nothing compares to being able to actually handle the yarn before buying it. I found lots of yarn producers that I’d not heard of before (but will definitely look for in the future!) and ended up buying a skein of Yarn D’amour Ariadne silk/cashmere blend. It is the most gorgeous yarn I’ve ever owned. The photos don’t do the colour justice at all. The cashmere remains the same colour throughout, but the silk changes slightly from pink through to purple in an almost shimmery way. I’m glad that it was to be made up as a gift, as I’m not sure I would have let myself spend this much on a yarn for myself! Anyway, it took about a month to knit, which I don’t think is bad as it was my first knitted lacework project, and the first time for me to follow a chart.
And here it is in full, photographed while it was blocking on my bed;
Plus, I used the Ravelry group I mentioned before, the Harry Potter Knitting and Crochet House Cup, to encourage me to finish it. One of their challenges in November was to finish something which could potentially gather dust. I had reached a tricky and discouraging part of the project so this challenge was perfect. And then I won another prize! So Maria is my lucky charm. I shall have to make more things for her and see whether those items win me prizes too!
Of course, after all that work I couldn’t just wrap the shawl in plain old wrapping paper, so I made a gift box in a complimentary colour, using leftover yarn to tie it up;
And she loved the shawl! She wore it that very night, to Midnight Mass on Christmas Eve, and I think she’s been wearing it every time I’ve seen her since! Definitely a hit. But how am I to top that for her birthday?? Now THAT will be a challenge!