Thoughts on Beachsongs.

I’ve got a good start going on my Christmas gift for my mother-in-law. She’s getting a “Gail aka Nightsongs” shawl.

In July my husband’s sister and niece came to visit. I set the niece loose in the yarn store, where she selected yarns and projects for members of her family. For her grandma, she chose a skein of Fleece Artist Nyoni in “Ivory”. But something had gone wacky in the colouring, because this ivory was shot through with copper and gold and steely grey… it was beautiful. And it reminded us both of the beach near my MIL’s house: the colours of sand and waves and pebbles in the surf and driftwood. So although I know that she does not go to the beach unless family is visiting, I still picture her in my mind’s eye standing at the look-out point, watching people she loves frolic in the waves, with the wind tugging at the shawl she has wrapped warmly around her. Never going to happen. But maybe she’ll wear it to bridge and the ladies will think its pretty and she can say “my daughter in law made it for me with her own two hands”.

My second skein of Ivory Nyoni, purchased online, is pretty. But mostly driftwood coloured, without the richness that drew my niece to it. I started the shawl in the darker yarn, and after 6 pattern repeats, when the cake of yarn was collapsing in on itself, started alternating the lighter yarn every 2 rows. So the finished shawl will, I hope, be lovely around its edges, and exceptionally beautiful at its heart. And in that way it will be like my MIL.

I despaired for a while of ever getting the lace sorted – but the secret turned out to be stitch markers. Lots and lots of stitch markers. Each motif (is it a flower or a feather?) is a reasonably simple repeat. The decreases always point to the centre of the motif, and the sum of the stitches from two adjacent motifs is always 18. Enough predictability that once each motif is marked off from the others, this has become a project I can do while watching mildly interesting television or take to group knitting nights.

I’ve managed to catch and repair errors on the purl row, magically reversing the locations of knit stitches and yarnovers from the pattern row before. Yay me, that was a proud moment. But I’m not always counting so furiously on the WS row, especially when knitting in public. I won’t catch everything. Doubtless there will be errors.

Right now, Beachsongs is a sort of clumpy mess, and its really hard to imagine what it will be like when it is blocked. But however she finishes, it has been nice for me to hold the niece and her Grandmother together in my heart while I work on it. I have married into a family of remarkable women.


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