knit next?" my friend asks me.
She is folding the shawl I made her cousin. Her cousin is in hospital at present and has indicated she is feeling cold. They can put it around her shoulders rather than try to dress her.
The shawls has been designed to stay on the shoulders without slipping off. It is not my idea but the clever idea of women who lived long ago in the Faroese islands. They needed something they could continue to work in. Cardigans were not really known then. Most women wore shawls - sometimes more than one shawl. They wore shawls with linings for double the warmth. The outer layer would be hard wearing heavier wool and the inner layer would be finer wool. There would be shaping at the shoulders and then long "wings" that could be tied behind their backs.
I doubt that these things were as comfortable or warm as a modern pullover but they were what was worn and they have progressed to being used by others as well. Some of them are beautiful. I have a pattern (given to me) for a beautiful shawl designed to look like a garden. I have never made it because I do not, normally, knit patterns designed by other people. My excuse is that I am too lazy.
Nevertheless it is a lovely pattern.
But I do make shawls. They are useful gifts to people like the woman now in hospital. I once made one for a man who had to spend weeks in hospital. People said "he won't wear that!" but he did because he could not get dressed. After a bit though he was well enough to go out into the hospital grounds and sit for a while.
I made his a sturdy, dull brown. It was plain apart from the border where I put a row of "fish hooks". He still has it. He still uses it when reading in the evenings.
I have a list of things I want to knit this year. My goddaughter will be going to university. She needs a couple of garments. A friend needs a new cardigan with deep armholes to make it easy for her to dress. My father needs a new "gardening" jumper made from the leftovers. I actually need to make something for myself having reknitted the cuffs on two garments last year so that they will last a little longer.
But, I might just make another shawl or two. They are useful for people. I like to be able to think of them wrapping themselves in warmth when they need it.