The brown shawl is not exactly brown; more a mix of charcoal and silver colours. The yarn was in a pack , with a large circular needle, that I bought in Lidl's sale ( yes, things in Lidl are even cheaper after Christmas than before...) for 5 euros, the same price and provenance as the Sistine Chapel jigsaw. Both jigsaw and shawl are long finished, but I felt the latter needed something to brighten it up a bit. I rather fancied those felt pompoms from Nepal that have been around as jewellery and trimmings for a while, but when it came to it, I couldn't find any locally, and could only buy them on the internet in large quantity and at some expense from abroad, which rather seemed to defeat the spirit of thrifty serendipity in which the garment has been created.
My solution was satisfactory on more than one count: using up, letting go, and rediscovering a childhood pleasure. Tapestry wool pompoms! Bags of tapestry wools sit mustifying in cupboards and boxes. I am not going to finish any existing tapestry projects, begun before even we left England, or start any new ones. So I cut cardboard discs and set about making pompoms,something I haven't done since I was a nipper, and I'd forgotten what a pleasure it is, especially the random variegated ones when you wind the wool round in different colours and see how they turn out. ( You have to make your own entertainment round here...).
Making a shawl is satisfyingly easy: you just cast on three, then increase a stitch at the start of each row by doing yarn over, and don't stop till you've had enough. Any yarn, any gauge. You have to do garter stitch so it lies flat, but you could do something fancy with a garter stitch border. (I found the pattern on the web but unfortunately it downloaded on a wordpad file with no record of its original source, so no link, sorry about that.) A triangular thing really does sit more easily over the shoulders than a rectangle. The long edge needs to be about as long as your arm span, which is about the same as your height, so work out about how many stitches you need from your tension square. If it's bigger it's even better. The shawl is good for sitting at the computer, which is in a slightly draughty spot, or curling up on the sofa. Tom sometimes nicks it, and Molly likes it too, though can get her claws caught in it. I'm resolved to only knit things that can be done in one piece, or maximum two, so I could come round to socks if some kind soul were to show me how to turn a heel.
The shawl is mostly acrylic with a bit of wool, but a pleasant texture. Knitting the baby coat with Loch Sunart's fabulous silk/alpaca blend was a treat and a privilege, but while the knitting craze sweeps the internet and beyond, and my knitting/blogging buddies roll around sensuously in natural fibres of heavenly hue and luxuriant texture, I find it is something altogether more tawdry and synthetic which is tickling my textile tastebuds. I'm talking about the seductions of spun polyester.
I found an remarkably cheap source of these yarns ( Bradeo on the retail estate behind Carrefour near Conforama, for those in this neck of the woods who might care to know), and cannot believe the things that can be done with the slippery and deceptive stuff. I know it's terribly tacky and completely right-off, and it does have a slightly weird petro-chemical smell to it, but it's such fun, and I'm hoping it's made from recycled plastic bottles.
The amazing Barbie pink fluffy one, above, has already become a scarf for young A., whose delight in Barbie pink belies a tough and serious-minded character.