From the same cotton as Bettany's jumper, I also made this asymmetric shawl:
It was based on a recipe called the Less is More shawl (that's a Ravelry link so I don't know if it'll work for everyone), the principle being to knit a very small triangle and keep increasing in stripes, then block it so it's a rather asymmetric big triangle to wrap around the shoulders. It was satisfying to knit; one of the things I liked doing was making a crochet edge on it:
It was late spring, and as Molly wasn't much up for walking by then, I often used to take her out in the car, sometimes after she'd had a bath and needed to rest in the warm wrapped up in a towel, and just drive to the top of a hill nearby, with the nearest clear view to the sea, and sit in the car in the sun with the windows open. I'd take some knitting, usually this shawl, and something to read, usually Scenes from Clerical Life on the Kindle, and listen to the birds singing. It's a gentle memory.
Anyway, I sent it to VR, who is very dear and wise and kind and clever, as I'm sure Robbie will concur, and both of them have been a most cherished source of friendship, kindness and generosity in all kinds of ways. I asked him if he'd like me to make him something too. He confessed ' I do have a hankering for one of those scarves that goes twice round the neck yet still has enough length to reach the knee-caps with both ends. But (the West Riding tendance cuts in) only if it were composed of scraps.'
'If you think I can't do that...' I replied.
Robbie is very tall, and I'm sure he thought there was no possibility of my having enough scraps of wool to fulfil this request. However, he underestimated my compulsion for wool-gathering and stashing, and it so happened that I had lately visited Emmaus, our kind of nationwide charity department store, where I had got rather carried away in the boxes there which contain other people's scraps, as well as skein upon skein of tapestry wool. (As someone who once thought needlepoint might be a worthwhile creative endeavour, I had a fair amount of leftover tapestry wool from never-to-be-finished projects myself, and it doesn't surprise me that there is an awful lot more of it out there.) The Emmaus volunteer looked at my bagful and decided her time was too valuable to count every item, shrugged and said five euros the lot.
So I set about calling his bluff. It was knitted in 1x1 rib, and rather than knit in blocks of all the many colours I had, I decided to do thin, two row striped of them, which would compensate somewhat for the varying weights of the different wools, and would mean I could blend the gradations of colours together a bit less abruptly.
There were rather a lot of ends to sew in.
By this time I'd finished Scenes from Clerical Life and onto Gros Câlin, in French as there's no English translation available, and indeed I'm not sure one would be possible. It's in essence a book about a rather forlorn character who keeps a large python - the Gros Câlin of the title, whose name means 'Big Hug' - as a remedy for his loneliness and alienation. It was a shared favourite of Joe's and Robbie's.
Lorsqu’on a besoin d’étreinte pour être comblé dans ses lacunes, autour des épaules surtout, et dans le creux des reins, et que vous prenez trop conscience des deux bras qui vous manquent, un python de deux mètres vingt fait merveille. Gros-Câlin est capable de m’étreindre ainsi pendant des heures et des heures
(When you need a hug to fill your gaps, especially around the shoulders or in the small of you back, and when you really how much you miss two arms around you, a python of 2.2 meters long is marvellous. Gros-Câlin can hug me for hours and hours.)*
Coincidentally, a message was passed onto me from a fellow blogger, that if I should see Robbie again to give him a hug from her too; I passed this on in turn but said I was working on a proxy.
By the time I finished the scarf, measuring in at about 14 foot, rather longer than the python, it was high summer, but I was too impatient to wait any longer to send it.
Tom kindly modelled it for me before sending.
I do in fact have a photograph of Robbie himself wearing it, in 28 degree July heat, having spent the morning sweeping up sharper-than-a serpent's-tooth pyracantha cuttings; he looks about as tortured and uncomfortable as a man can so I shall refrain from adding insult to injury by posting that here. I don't know if it goes twice round his neck and down to his knees, and I wouldn't be at all offended if it only ever hung on a hook in the hall or over the back of a chair somewhere. It's the thought that counts.
* 'reticulated' doesn't mean striped really, it means like a net, or patterned like one, like a python's skin is. A reticule was a little net bag, sometimes knitted.** trans. from 'Book Around the Corner', with thanks.