Something Different

As longtime readers know, my tastes in yarn tend towards earthy and autumnal with the occasional gentle pastel or solid red. But a couple years back, I was living in Kansas and my dearly departed LYS got in HEDGEHOG FIBRES. There was a whole group of us who would meet up at the shop and knit once a week, and every single one of us fell hard in quick succession for speckles and pops and neons.

I came home with a with a tutti fruity speckle in an 80’s color scheme and a contrasting felt-tip-marker-bright fuchsia. Why? Because they were amazing together. And I NEEDED them. Of course.

Shortly thereafter I cast on for the Across the Pond Shawl by Mina Philipp/Knitting Expat. How I came to find this pattern has been lost to the crevasses of memory but probably on a Ravelry trawl because she designed it before I was following her podcast. I cast on this and about three other projects, because, I reasoned, once I had the patterns printed and the yarn skeined and that fiddly little setup bit done, the projects would just fall off my needles.

And those, dear readers, are famous last words. Because I mentally tagged these projects “backup” projects, they all took literally years to finish. I’m pretty sure if I had cast this on while on a deadline for another project, I would have had it off the needles in a matter of weeks. The pattern was simple and straightforward (Mina even wrote out a beautifully clear step by step for the textured stitch), it just kept falling down to the bottom of the pile.

Fast forward to this summer, when I was bitten by the finishing bug and finally started knocking projects off my WIP list. Finally, finally, I had warmed to pink, I needed a simple project, and it was this shawl’s turn.

I whipped through the rest of the body, zoomed through the border lace, and popped it in my bag with some light reading in time for a family trip up to Vegas.

Yes, a family trip. With a tiny human dictating bedtimes, entertainment choices, and restaurant options, it wasn’t too hard. Querido and I even considered making the up-and-down flight from Phoenix to Las Vegas Peanut’s first but decided against it when we realized we would also need to lug a car seat, stroller, and enough snacks, diversions, and spare outfits for either a long weekend or two weeks (with a toddler you never know). We chucked the lot into the car and hit the road. I was excited to see the Joshua trees and Hoover Dam, and neither disappointed.

For a swift two and a half days, we celebrated birthdays, ate yummy food, and took a touristy wander down the strip.

Peanut got all excited for the escalator to the pool and disliked the pool itself intensely, worried about the litter in the Bellagio fountain while massive jets and musical accompaniment swirled in the background, and turned down a powdered-sugar crepe in favor of my delicious but very expensive gelato. Us grownups went to bed early, slept in, and tried our best to finish up the ginormous portions of food he left uneaten.

The shawl was a perfect travel garment, small, light, and wearable. While wandering the Strip, Grandma took over stroller duty and I commandeered Querido to take pictures in our suitably over-the-top surroundings.

Look at those little curlicues at the ends! I love it. Many thanks, Mina, for a fun project, and to Kristi for stocking such outrageous yarns. This shawl has so many happy memories attached to it, I can’t wait to wear it all winter.

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