Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Free Pattern: The Sick Day Shawl

It's that time of year: colds and flu bugs are starting to go around. The air is full of sneezing and sniffling and coughing.

I caught an early cold last week, and spent a day as the doctor ordered: on the sofa, with several pots of tea and a big box of Kleenex. I planned to luxuriate in some relaxing knitting and TV.

The TV decision was easy: I'm partway through watching MI-5 (a.k.a. Spooks) on Netflix. This is a 10-season English program feature attractive spies and ridiculous international adventures. Perfect.

The bigger question was what knitting? I've been working on a bunch of design projects of late, and I knew I wasn't in the mood to for anything complicated. But equally, with a full day stretching out ahead of me, I also knew I'd have time to really dig into a project. Plain socks seemed too dull.

Ever since I completed Rosetta Tharpe, I've been noodling on the idea of a Half-Pi shawl - a semi-circular shawl using the same basic construction. I'd got the math partially worked out, and so before the decongestant properly kicked in, I did a bit of number crunching and planning. And then I went diving in the stash.

(Because going yarn shopping while contagious with a cold seems impolite.)

I found a couple of skeins of Briggs and Little Regal. This is a great Canadian yarn, a classic heavy worsted, with a decent yardage (250yds per skein) and a nice crisp, wooly hand.

And so the Sick Day Shawl was born. By the end of the first day, I had a full skein knitted up. (Seriously, I did nothing else that day. We had leftovers for dinner, and I didn't have any urgent work obligations.)

Even with just that single skein, I got a good sized shawl...

Over the next couple of days, I spent a bit more time, and dug into the second skein.

And by Friday night, I had converted about 450yds of an abandoned heavy worsted from the bottom of my stash into the Sick Day Shawl.

Ideal for that day at home in front of the TV. Ideal for knitting when you're not up for much of a challenge, but not totally discombobulated with medication. No special yarn requirements: use whatever you've got in the stash. 450yds of anything in the worsted-y aran-y sort of category (a 4 or a 5, if you go that way). Two skeins of Cascade 220. (Who doesn't have 2 skeins of Cascade 220 kicking around?) A skein of Cascade Eco would be great. Double-strand some sock yarn! Do you have a bunch of handspun that needs using up? Use whatever needles you have on hand.

The design is entirely forgiving of messed-up stitch counts. Got the wrong number? Fix it on the following row. And it's flexible, too, for how far you go. Got more time and yarn? Just keep working to make it bigger. Feeling better? Stop sooner.

It's good for you, too: the knitting is interesting enough that you'll stay put on the sofa, resting as you're supposed to.

And next time you're feeling under the weather, you've got something warm and comfy to snuggle with.

Free pattern on Ravelry here. Thanks to Gillian Martin for the outstanding photos.

Pattern will be free until the end of September, but after that I'll be charging for it - I've got to replenish my Kleenex supplies.


Natural fibre girl said...

Just what the Dr. ordered!! Perfect timing for the fall.

Thanks so much for offering this fun knit.


Leila said...

This is wonderful! I added it to my library-- thanks so much for making it available. I love the idea of a shawl with all the attributes you mention in your post -- right up my distracted alley :)
So pretty!

Thea said...

Lovely. Thank you!

Is it really cool enough for long sleeves and leggings in your part of the world, already? We still have mid 70's -80's in california. Ugggh! Come on sweater weather.

May said...

Thanks Kate. It's very generous of you to make it available on Ravelry. I'm hoping to hold off turning on my furnace until October and your shawl should contribute to that effort.

A Wee Bit said...

Just the sort of knit I need right now, and it looks fabulous!

Thank you!

Ann in NJ said...

Oh, this is perfect! I haven't been sick lately (knock on wood), but the back to school grind is kicking my butt and I sit there in the evenings holding my knitting, too brain-dead to work on the fancy shawl that's on the needles. Plus, I scored a BIG skein of gradient dyed yarn at the last sheep & wool festival I attended, and a pi-ish shawl would be perfect. Thank you!

nmaryann64 said...

Thanks for the wonderful pattern - working on it now. Me thinks lots of friends will be getting one for Christmas.


LannieK said...

Glad you're feeling better :-) Sick Day is a keeper - thank you!

Shireen Nadir said...

I love the shawl, and your write-up! Made me chuckle :) Can't wait to give it a go, and hope you heal up soon (as awesomely productive a sick person as you are!)

Louise Tilbrook said...

Such a fabulous shawl. Should be available on prescription :)

Louise Tilbrook said...

Such a fabulous shawl. Should be available on prescription :)