I am now four weeks into my husband’s 100 day challenge—the challenge was that I should wear my handknits for 100 days since I had knitted 100 projects. As I have delved further and further into my armoire to find knits to wear for the morrow, my concern about my vanished shawls continues to grow. What terrible fate has befallen them?
Day 23: Agnes by Kim Hargreaves
It is an enigma worthy of a fashion mystery novel, such as Purses and Poison or Hostile Makeover. Chick lit mysteries these days include every area of fashion, from purse murders to knitting-related massacres. It is only fair that I take my part, casting myself as the ruthless detective who must solve this shawl crime. The Vanishing Shawl Mystery has now begun.
Day 24: Audrey the 2nd (Gudrun Johnston)
Inspired by P.G. Wodehouse’s spurious detective in The Mystery of the Pink Crayfish, I will sharpen my pen and write out a list of suspects. Whom do I know that had both the means and motive to destroy my precious shawls? A prime suspect immediately emerges:
Have the shawls met the same fate as the murdered ball of yarn? Perhaps. And yet my instinct tells me no. The kitten hides nothing. He is not so devious as to conceal the evidence. But of my shawls, there is no trace.
Every good detective must create a timeline. When were the shawls last witnessed? Is there a sequence of events that relate to the crime? Strangely enough, all evidence points to Paris!!!
Paris was the reason I knitted the Opal shawl. The French knitting group, Tricot Opera, invited me to join their shawl knitting challenge and fashion show. Tima had the brilliant idea of asking everyone in the group to knit a shawl, and then we created our own knitting parade which was photographed in the garden of Le Palais Royal in Paris.
It was so lucky that my trip to Paris coincided with the fashion show that I could not resist joining in the fun, and I had a truly wonderful time meeting that charming group of Parisian knitters. As you can see, multiple witnesses can vouch for the presence of my shawl in the garden of the Palais Royal.
However, that fashion show was the last time my shawl was ever seen again. But perhaps this is just an isolated incident. What about the other missing knit, Aimée?
Egads, Aimee also disappeared when it accompanied me to Paris on the following year. A pattern has emerged! Paris is the mystery spot!
Unfortunately, the pattern does not make any sense. As enthralled as I am by the romance of Paris, I do not run streaking through the streets, tossing off my knits onto random passersby. What else could this French connection possibly reveal? Have the customs officials taken to employing wool-eating hounds in addition to bomb-sniffing dogs? Or did the chambermaids at my hotel develop a craving for shawls? These possibilities are absurd. No, as a good detective must, I have crossed all the suspects off the list until only one remains: myself.
Day 25: Fitted Sweater by Louisa Harding
Day 26: Coat by Lana Grossa
What made me do it? And where did the shawls go? Did I succumb to a moment of madness or sheer absence of mind? I am afraid, my dear reader, I will never know. The shawls have gone with the wind, leaving me bereft.
Day 27: Raine by Kim Hargreaves
The greatest probability is that I wore the shawls on the plane and they fell under my seat while I slept. I would hardly have remembered them as I sleepily exited 13 hours later. I suppose, if I am guilty, I must find a way to pay restitution for my crime. Here is a first attempt:
Day 28: The Salvaged Olso Cowl
A life for a life—behold the reincarnation of my Oslo! Out of the ashes of a failed jacket emerges this humble cowl. Although my shawl Opal is dead, Oslo lives to take its place.
As you can see, Oslo was once a jacket which was dismembered and left for dead. The Oslo jacket was a spectacular failure I experienced early on in my knitting career, when I thought I was supposed to follow a knitting pattern to the letter. As a beginner, it did not bother me that the pattern had no waist shaping, I did not even scan the pattern schematic. The jacket fit the waist of the model who was wearing the design in the pattern photo, so the pattern must fit me! As naïve as I was back then, it did not even occur to me that a six foot two model weighing 100 pounds would look significantly thinner wearing the jacket than I would. Yet the difference was great indeed!
I had fallen in love with the cable detail at the bottom of the jacket and spent my entire birthday money on the yarn for the project. It was my first knitted jacket and I worked on it for months, only to be crushed when I put it on and discovered I looked like a sausage stuffed into a casing. But when I unraveled Oslo, I saved the cable panel because I could not bear to accept total defeat.
For years, that cable panel and all those expensive yards of cocoon yarn I had unraveled haunted me, much like the ghosts of my departed shawls. But at last I have redeemed myself by turning the cable panel into a useful garment!
I saved the piece by picking up stitches on either side of the cable panel. I worked two garter rows and four rows of a slip stitch pattern as follows: *slip 2 with yarn in front, knit 2* to the end. Then I worked one row of K2P2 ribbing so that the purls were on top of to the two slipped stitches and the knits were on top of the two knitted stitches, and I bound off.
The cowl has a celtic look, which was exactly what I wanted. When I wore it today, I enjoyed the warm softness of the cocoon yarn around my neck. It is a wonderful relief to have resuscitated a knit that meant so much to me, but I still have to atone for the crime of disappearing another shawl. Stay tuned to the next installment of The Vanishing Shawls Mystery…..
and to read the next episode in the 100 Day Challenge, click on the link below: