Foggy Sunset

Foggy Sunset
Photo by Aisling Doonan

Saturday, 28 July 2012

Café Parisien Shawl

We are technically on our holidays.  This year we are doing a proper 'staycation' using our home as a base and taking day trips.  Technically becoming tourists in our own back garden.  It's fun, people are actually taking us for tourists and asking all the usual questions like "are you enjoying your stay" and "where are you from?"

I have to say I'm getting a bit of a kick out of it.  Mostly because we have never done this before, and we are able to leave the house in the morning and do something fun, but return in the evening and relax in familiar surroundings.  No "I forgot to pack so & so" or "I wish I'd thought to bring this or that".  Also, and this happens to be my biggest bonus, no bringing home a mountain of dirty clothes in a suitcase to be dealt with as soon as you unpack.  Nothing will take the gloss off a well earned rest and taint happy memories than a mountain of dirty clothes.

So far, we have been to Sligo town (I hadn't been in ages, mostly because I can't make sense of the one way system :) but it rained most of the day.  I sniffed out a yarn shop as soon as we had parked (The Gingham Duck) and bough their only two balls of Opal sock yarn!  We had a really nice lunch in Sligo Source which is a lovely restaurant, wine bar and cookery school on John Street. 

Next up was King House in Boyle, which is a restored Georgian mansion built for Sir Henry King in the early 1700's.  It was converted into a military barracks in the 19th century for the Connaught Rangers.  It now houses a civic collection of contemporary Irish art and many interactive exhibitions.  We spent an hour or so wandering around looking, reading and listening and the kids even got a kick out of running around and looking at the museum pieces.

We went back to Sligo then (sunny weather this time) to the Eagles Flying centre and spent the most entertaining afternoon watching the magnificent birds swooping within millimeters over our heads while the handler gave a talk.  Afterwards we were free to wander and there was a petting zoo that the kids loved.  A raccoon ate treats out of their pockets and they held a mouse and petted a goat.  Simple, but effective!

We have more events planned, I need to go and see the Titanic Exhibition in Belfast, the zoo in Dublin and Powerscourt Waterfall.

Every evening we come home, sleepy and happy and the kids go to bed and I can get back to my knitting.  

I bought Gossamer Webs by Galina Khmeleva several years ago and even as a practiced lace knitter I balked at the charts!  I'm not sure why, there was nothing in particular that put me off but the first shawls construction left me a little baffled.  But that is the nature of some knitting patterns, it's no good reading it alone, you need to have needles and yarn ready and knit as you read before everything makes sense.

I had also thought that though the shawls looked nice in the photo's there are only a few of them so it's hard to get a feel for it.  Enter Ravelry and a handful of finished projects that show how beautiful the shawls really are.

I cast on using my go to yarn Jamieson and Smith Shetland Supreme 1 ply in Natural and 2.25mm needles (my red lace chiaogoo's, how did I ever knit before I found these needles?)

The shawl was a wonderful knit, fun, interesting, great construction and a beautiful end result.  As you are decreasing every other row, the number of stitches on your needles is diminishing before your very eyes and you really are finished before you know it!

I think it will be perfect for over a cocktail dress at a wedding, light but warm, not too bulky or large.

I love how the yarn blooms and grows after washing and blocking.

There's such a beautiful halo, and the colour brightens significantly after a wash.

The pattern is repeated over the body of the shawl, but it still doesn't get boring.

My only regret is that I didn't knit it sooner!

Next up is the Pine Tree Palatine Scarf, which is the stole/wrap pattern that comes next in the book.  I even might knit the third (and most visually stunning) Medallion Square Shawl.

Happy knitting



  1. Aaaaah. Pretty. (I say that a lot about your projects, don't I?)

  2. How beautiful that shawl is. You are clearly enjoying your "staycation" and seeing some very interesting places.Bonus - gives you chance to get back to your knitting at home each evening. I envy your visit to the Titanic exhibition

    1. Yes, it's a huge bonus, I have all my patterns and yarn to hand :) I can't wait to get to Belfast to the Titanic Exhibition, I've been enthralled with the ship since I was a child so it will be a dream come true. I'll probably have an entire post dedicated to it when I get back! Thanks :)