I first saw the Afternoon Tea shawl pattern when I first realized that Knitty existed. At the time, shawls seemed like crazy, complicated projects that only the most extreme of knitters could successfully complete. My skills barely encompassed knitting and purling, and any time I caught a glimpse of a chart I was sure it was something I could never learn to decode. The stitch pattern and design of the shawl didn’t capture my attention as much as the name did–I love tea in general and especially formal afternoon tea at hotels or tea houses. I imagined myself wearing such a shawl, graceful as the heroines of the novels I’d grown up reading, sipping my tea and chatting blithely with other frilly maidens. Then I returned to my slow study of simpler projects.
In late July I thought often of shawls, having seen some particularly lovely patterns come up in the “Most Popular” selections on Ravelry. When I stopped into a yarn shop and ambled through the yarn (as my patient friend and husband lounged in the seating area clicking away on their phones), I was thinking of some of those shawl patterns. I spotted a pretty pale pinkish brown flecked with paler creamish tones and knew it would come home with me. I wasn’t sure which shawl pattern it would work out for, but I knew that shawls made of fingering yarn were common enough that I must have at least a few in mind ready for this yarn.
In the grand scheme of Ultimate Knitting Plans Foiled By Poor Planning and Insufficient Memory Recall Ability, that was not exactly true. Out of all the shawls that were on my mind, none of them suited the yarn I had chosen. I browsed through patterns, seeking something for the new yarn, bouncing ideas off my coworker, and eventually opted for Afternoon Tea mostly because it is a free pattern. (Not really the best method of picking patterns, but in this case it worked out.)
The pattern is simple and enjoyable, but my experience wasn’t completely smooth sailing because I am stupid. XD I didn’t count my stitches correctly and lazed off when following some of the instructions, so when I arrived at row 103 for the first time, I had a number of stitches that in no way matched up with the number of stitches required. (I was off by over 47 stitches, yikes!) It was much better the second time around, although it was a little bit heartbreaking to rip out 103 rows of my work to start all the way back at the beginning.
The Labor Day holiday provided me with some time to finished up the shawl and work my way through the very long bind-off. I blocked it yesterday; I’ve never blocked a project of this size with lace to open up, so that was an interesting and fun experience. When I unpinned it this morning I felt very proud of myself, haha~ It’s a lot of fun to have finished another project that I thought would be forever beyond my reach. I wore my shawl to work this week, even though I feel a bit like a little old lady with it on. But it’s the amusing and enjoyable kind of little old ladydom. ♥