prairie shawl

garter stitch prairie shawl, originally uploaded by cosymakes.

Simple Garter Stitch Prairie Shawl
by Cheryl Oberle, from Folk Shawls
6 balls of thrift store alpaca? doubled

a thesis knit that i finished as part of my independent study that my professor artfully titled “Knitting as Focal Practice and Theological Discipline.” sometimes i fear i’d be lost without her. she is the one who encouraged me to not only knit my thesis, but to knit practical things for my thesis. even better, during the integrated project proposal meeting, she wore this shawl.

i followed the pattern to the extent that i could and followed the rules of my yarn for the rest. i had to double the yarn which caused issues in numerous ways and was by far the most frustrating thing in this simple knit. mostly the yarn made up for the issues it because it is so soft and lovely. i had to really watch that i didn’t drop one of the yarns… and when i did it often looked like it wasn’t dropped because the yarn is fuzzy. i suppose it didn’t help that it was also a bit splitty.  i don’t recommend this combo.

here’s a bit of what Cheryl Oberle has to say about Prairie Shawls:

American Pioneer Settlers were by necessity extremely practical people, and the women often wore shawls in place of more restrictive and less versatile coats. For everyday work and travel, women needed heavy shawls in a “practical color.”

i admit that my shawl is not the most practical (not the most hardy yarn). but i think that the pioneer settlers would agree that you use what you have… i’m also betting that they used a lot of natural colors also. someone on flickr suggested i try to dye this with local natural dyes and i only wish i had the time. i would so like to get into natural dyeing. Simmy has some amazing posts on that if anyone’s interested.

6 thoughts on “prairie shawl

  1. It’s so fun to see your thesis coming together. And the image of Maxine wearing this shawl at the proposal meeting brightens my day.

  2. I got “America Knits” by Melanie Falick, mostly for the profiles of spinners, fiber farmers, and knit-wear designers across the country (although there are a handful of really excellent patterns I will refer to often). It’s been really fun reading those profiles and then checking in on your burgeoning knitting business. It’s like one of my best friends is in the next generation of this culture of creative knitting. You’re inspiring.

  3. Lovely shawl. I’m knitting one myself, though from huge balls of off-white acrylic that was given to me when my roommat’s mother destahed last year. I figured a simple garter-stitch shawl would be all that yarn is really suited for. It may not be wool, or alpaca, or any other yummy warm fibre, but it even acrylic can take the edge off a chilly night.

  4. Pingback: Smaller « never enough hours

  5. Pingback: maxine’s little garter shale shawl « cosymakes

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