Casting on the Halo Shawl

Today is my first day back at the office after two glorious weeks off. Usually I'm a good sleeper, but I think I was so nervous about sleeping through my alarm that I woke up at 5am. That's okay though. After lying in bed and staring at the ceiling for an hour, I'm feeling mentally prepared for the 8.30 to five to begin again. And I had time to think about my new project, which has taken up a lot of my spare hours over the last three days.

After ripping out my most recent big project, I figured it was a good time to do a bit of a stash stock-take and get a better idea of what yarn I have, and figure out what to do with it all. In a similar vein to last year, I hope to keep being thoughtful with my stash and not keep adding to it with yarn I'm never going to use. 

For the longest time - I think maybe six years - I've had this divine organic merino four ply in my stash. And I have a lot of it. Three hanks of 200g each. It's undyed and a really beautiful creamy colour. I used the same yarn to make my Funchal Moebius and it was so soft and warm that I knew one day I would find another project for this yarn. (RIP Moebius, you are still lost and sorely missed). 

I'd also been dreaming about my own copy of Woolens by Jared Flood ever since I borrowed it from the library. It would have been great to reissue the book, but the wait list for it was so long that I had to return it before Christmas, and I'd expect to wait another few months to get my hands on it again. 

It's no surprise really; the patterns in it are just stunning. From classic cable scarfs to colourwork, there is really something in here for everyone. I can see a scarf and hat for Mike, as well as several more things for me. I figure the cost of the book will be well worth the amount of knitting I'll get done out of this. 

So on Thursday last week, I ordered a copy from Holland Road Yarn Co. It arrived on Friday morning (seriously, no one can beat Tash and team for service, they truly are amazing) and I decided within 15 minutes that the Halo Shawl was the project to start with.

I'm not a lace knitter at all, if anything, I actively avoid it, but this looked like a good entry into lace. In the past I've started lace projects with lace weight yarn and it's never ended well. But this organic merino, which is a heavy 4ply, is great to work with and easy to see what you're doing. I think using an undyed yarn for this project really shows off the pattern elements.

I've never knitted a round shawl from the centre before, so I've learned a new cast-on method which is always exciting, and I think once this is blocked, it won't look too fussy or girly like lace can do sometimes. I prefer scarfs with structure, so this design is quite feminine for me, but I think the thicker wool will balance that out. 

So far it's going well and I'm really enjoying the rhythm of the six row pattern repeat. The stockinette stitch between each eyelet block breaks up the pattern and gives my concentrating mind a bit of a break, and I'm happy with how much I've done so far. Now that I'm heading back to work, I'm expecting progress to slow, but I think this project will be a nice knit to unwind with at the end of a day in the office.


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