What Color is Your Parachute?* is a famous job hunter/career counselling book. For someone who has always felt so conflicted about career choice, it's kind of funny that I have never read it. I wonder if it even includes motherhood as an option?
Anyway, having children changes you, obviously, but in subtle ways which you might not expect. My experience is that when you get over those first few weeks (months) and re-emerge from your tracksuit pants into the world you find yourself a different person. You want to wear different clothes, different colours. Dark blue, which I had always eschewed as looking matronly on me, is suddenly just the right colour and I have recently acquired a few t-shirts (yes, the dreaded VS) and two cardigans (Ben Sherman and H&M via Goodwill) and Yves and Daybreak have come off the needles.
And suddenly you also want something different in your life. Something neutral, something chic, something ... beige. Yes, I was looking at yorkiegirl's knitting projects on Ravelry; all those neutrals - cream, oyster, alabaster, parchment, linen - so serene, so sophisticated, so what I wanted right now. So, I knit myself something.
The Vital Statistics
Pattern: A Little Ruffle, available free from Sadie & Oliver. Thank you!
Size: As per the directions is a great size.
Yarn: I had always thought of paler neutrals as something that I couldn't wear but on this project I didn't care, I wanted something beige (or thereabouts, I'm calling it wheaten). And I'm delighted with it - I received a compliment immediately from a very colour- and design-savvy friend that the brown looked great and the grey picked up my blue eyes and I felt wonderful. I will have no hesitation in wearing this with confidence now.
Oh and the yarn, well of course I liked the colour - it was a men's zip-up cardigan that I bought for Tim but there was a mark on it and a hole appeared and it sat around for a few weeks so I decided to make it into something else, for me. To achieve the weight I wanted, I ended up double stranding this yarn but picking out a single ply as I knit along - tedious and a bit wasteful. It's 92 per cent merino and 8 per cent cashmere - it didn't knit up very nicely which surprised me, given the yarn content. That was perhaps because it was recycled and had a lot of kink in it. Once I blocked it the drape became beautiful and it's very soft.
The grey is some Columbia Minerva Princessa that I got free at a stash swap, colourway is 2229 'Dark Oxford'.
Needles: 4.5 and 5mm.
Start to finish: 18 August to 15 September 2010.
Stash/recycle content: Whoo-hoo - all of it!
Comments: Excellent, simple, free pattern - not really a half-circle shawl, more like a scarf with tapered ends and a frill. I did a provisional cast on of the initial 10 stitches to avoid having to pick stitches up in order to do the frill. that just seemed like double work and I try to avoid that where I can. As for the striping, I just winged it on that. As I didn't carry the yarn up the sides of the work, I was able to knit three rows of alternating colours and I really like the effect, it's quite graphic.
Verdict: I really love this scarf. I have already worn it a couple of times and felt great for being a bit daring. My only reservation about it is that it might be more a 'little house' than 'little ruffle with the brown and grey but I think that the graphic effect of the stripes updates it a bit. I must say that wearing it, I realised, that if you are a knitter, you need to be comfortable wearing knitwear.
* I'm not one for extreme sports but I have been watching Project Runway lately so parachute silk seemed like a more appropriate title for me.