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Friday, October 07, 2005

Gift Giving Friday V

Its that time of the week again. Time to give you gift ideas. Today's idea is a shawl or afghan. Now you could do a really complex work of knitterly art, or you could do a simple pattern and make it a prayer shawl/afghan. Basically the idea behind a prayer shawl/afghan, is that the knitting becomes almost a meditation with you putting a prayer, good wishes, and basically positive energy into the piece for the receiver. Its hard to think positive thoughts into stitches that you've frogged 5 times and you still can't get the pattern to line up and you're really thinking of chucking the whole thing across the room and buying a gift certificate. So in this case, a simple pattern is necessary to maintain the positive thoughts as you knit them into the shawl or afghan. I'm suggesting an afghan for men (they love warm blankets), but it could just as easily be for a non shawl type lady. For shawls, there are several easy patterns that come to mind. There are garter stitch triangular shawls all over the web. Or do a stole. Stoles are essentially really long, wide scarves. Feather and Fan and Vine Lace are two patterns that are easy to memorize, both of them being 4 row repeats. For some reason I find the Shetland Fern pattern easy to memorize and read even though its a 16 row repeat. What you want is something easily memorized so you aren't chart dependent, so you can relax and enjoy the knitting process. You don't even have to work the shawl in laceweight yarn. Use sport weight or DK weight for a more substantial shawl that you can actually finish in time for Christmas.

For afghans, again a simple garter stitch would work. What about seed stitch or an easy basket weave. Choose a soft yarn, that you know the recipient will be able to take care of as far as washability and use slightly bigger needles than usual to help the piece to drape nicely. Whoever you make the shawl or afghan for will be getting not only your knitting (and isn't knitting a tangible piece of time?), but also all of the well wishes you have put into the piece you've knit.


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