Awhile back, I knew this wonderful woman named Donna. We worked together at a candy store in the French Quarter. She was in her sixties, and tart as a lemon. The perfect example of a Sassy Old Lady. I have been wonderfully fortunate to have encounters with these women throughout my life. Sassy Old Ladies always have something to say, so pay attention. They tell bawdy jokes, make inappropriate comments, cuss like sailors when it’s warranted, look the very picture of respectability when it’s not. I will be one someday if I’m lucky. I mean, I have too many tattoos to look truly respectable, but then again, the world is changing, so you never know. My bestie works for the government, and he tells me of these “generational sensitivity” classes they have to take, where they are taught not to discriminate against people with tattoos and piercings, and told that’s just this generation’s method of self expression, which has no bearing on their level of education or affiliation with biker gangs.
If the federal government can get with the program, so can everybody else, m’kay?
Anyway, back to sassy Donna. Donna was also a knitter. A much more accomplished one than I at the time. And I was talking about this huge pile of yarn I’d accumulated, that I had no idea what to do with. You fiber junkies know what I’m talking about. The Stash. The infamous hoard of balls and skeins of yarn that you pick up because they’re on sale, or some well meaning but craft ignorant pal gives you just one of, or something so delicious you couldn’t help yourself.
If you’re not careful it’ll take over the world. My stash was getting to that point. I had four baskets in my relatively small apartment jammed to the tops with a totally mismatched accumulation of delicious fibers. And I’m complaining about what to do with them when sassy Donna says, “Why don’t you just knit a shawl?” Eh? So she offered for me to come to her apartment and show me.
Now, we’ve seen the pretty shawls out there. Little shrug-like affairs, or large lacy affairs. They’re attractive, but you wear them in early fall or late spring. The shawl Donna taught me to make is a solid, tight weave you can wear out into the 40s if you’re so inclined. And I have. And best of all, it ate up like 500 yards of fiber. They take awhile, as by the time you get to the wide bit you’re working with 300 or so live stitches per row, but what a way to empty the stash. My largest one took 800 yards, and is so warm I’ve been comfortable down to 37 degrees. I checked a thermometer.
I’ve got a few for sale here at my Etsy shop…http://www.etsy.com/shop/LaCornejaNegra, if you want to check them out.
They are not cheap, because they’re not made with cheap fiber, and they take forever to make. Here’s a custom one my friend had me do.
That sucker is waaaarm. I could make one with Lion Brand or something. Then it would be much less expensive. But like all 100% acrylic yarns, it would age badly, and not be anywhere near as warm or beautiful. If someone custom orders one in all acrylic fiber, I’m happy to do it. I’ll make a shawl according to what the person ordering it wants to spend, same as the nichos. But if they want my two cents, I’ll tell them to spend the money on the good stuff, and it’ll get them an heirloom piece. My pal there will be able to pass that shawl on to her daughter, in good time.
I’ll never forget Donna or the stash killer shawl pattern she passed on to me. And every time I make one I’ll think of her sassy, snarky, wonderfully inappropriate self, and hope she’s well, wherever life has taken her. Cuz that’s how it should be.