As promised, I am going to talk about that cruise. My mother-in-law likes to cruise and she likes to take her kids and their spouses on cruises with her when she hits milestone birthdays. Her 85th birthday was exactly that! So she took us all on a cruise to Hawaii and back again.
Now, a while back I had asked her if she would prefer a pair of hand knitted socks for her birthday or a shawl. She lives in Florida, so she nixed the socks. After searching through the shawl patterns, I settled on Tibetan Clouds Beaded Stole. Again, keeping in mind that she lives in Florida, I went searching for an adequate yarn. I found Lyndon Hill, which is a combination of cotton and silk, perfect for Florida! Alas, it is a discontinued yarn, but I found enough on eBay, and in a great color to boot. So, as is my habit, I purchased one more skein then I thought I would need (I’m always grateful that I choose to buy the extra skein). Then I searched and searched and searched for just the right color beads. Finally I found them online and ordered them. So by mid July I had all the materials and was ready to start. I checked Ravelry and it seems that I had a lot of projects that I started in July; 3 to be exact. One I just finished last week, and the other two still need to go.
Like I said, all materials were set and on hand. Now here is where I end up wondering what’s going on in my head. My MIL’s birthday is on October 31, so we were flying off to San Diego on the 26th of October. I knew about this for over 6 months, I had all the materials for over two months, yet, I started to knit the shawl on September 23rd. One month to knit the shawl. So, I sat down and put together a schedule. Ambitious, but I felt it was doable.
This shawl starts in the middle and makes the center square circular – let me clarify, you go round and round and make a square. Then you knit out from two opposite sides of the central square. Several false starts (I find starting a circular shawl in the center very hard to do, but worth it once you get going). I was right on schedule with the center.
I chose to knit the two sides simultaneously using one circular needle, so I attached a new yarn to one side and continued on with my current skein on the other side. I continued on schedule. Then one day I revisited the pattern and took a close look at the line that said repeat 8 times. OH NO! I had read 1 time when I put together my schedule. Now to be clear, each pattern repeat consists of 20 rows with a center section that was repeated 6 times every row. Since I was working both sides simultaneously that doubled the amount of knitting – making the total number of repeats of the same 20 rows = 16 (we are talking 320 rows here). At this point I had to double the daily knitting. I kept to the schedule for two more days, but it was now October and I had lots to do other than knitting. I know, how could that be??!!
I then hit my next roadblock – I had miscounted the number of beads I needed and I was way short! I can only say that I’m glad I noticed this in the middle of October and not two days before I was supposed to finish the shawl. So I got online and ordered more. But due to time constraints I had to order them 2nd day delivery – ouch! They arrived on October 17th. Panic is starting to set in. I really wanted to get this done before I left because I didn’t want to be carrying blocking wires with me on the ship. But, I had to pack, so….
I took it with me. And blocking wires too (I figured how many I would need and just packed those). They went in my checked luggage, with a slight bend. Believe me, when we boarded ship they were the first things I took out and put someplace where they could stand straight.
So I knit and knit and knit. I knit in the airport. I knit on the plane. I knit in San Diego. It was now the 28th and I still had lots more to do. So for two days I would sneak off someplace on the ship with a cup of coffee and my knitting. In response to questions like: “What did you do today?”, I’d say rather vaguely, “Oh, just sat around in the lounge and read.” We, fortunately, had bad weather and rocky seas in the first few days, so the pool and the sun was not competing with my knitting for attention.
Here are a couple of pictures of my knitting on board:
I know striking colors – red upholstery on the couch and purple rugs.
I meet a few other knitters (spell check wanted to change this to kittens, but I resisted). One who wanted to tap me as a guru to help her with her knitting if she got stuck. I never saw her again, so she either found someone else, or she needed no help. The other knitter was truly ambitious. Since the weather was cool, she started a bolero jacket right there on board and was hoping to finish it before it got warm. I saw her a few times after that, but never had a chance to find out how it went. She was a fast knitter, so maybe she was successful. One can only hope.
I managed to finish the shawl on the 29th of October. I washed it in the basin in the bathroom to our state-room and spread it out on the floor, taking liberal use of the towels they provided.
I am rather proud of this shawl. In looking it over while I blocked it I did not see one space in which a bead was missing and all my yo’s and k2tog’s looked symmetrical. It came out very long (I think I measured it but I have no idea where I jotted the measurements down, if at all, so I cannot tell you how big it was). A word about the yarn: I am really sorry that it’s a discontinued yarn. I absolutely loved working with it and wish I had a garment made out of it. It was soft and smooth and very well-behaved. I think yarn companies discontinue yarns to keep us on our toes building stashes so that we don’t miss out – but that’s a topic for another day!
I also had a hard time getting a good picture of the finished shawl, here is one of my attempts:
Ravelry page. Well, I am glad I finished on time and once that was done I could actually enjoy the cruise and get some reading and sunning and swimming and eating done!