Friday, February 19, 2010

The eye of the beholder - free shawl

Some things are ugly. A pimple, for example. Or perhaps roadkill.

But even with roadkill there are afficianados. For you see, one man's roadkill is another man's stew.

Then there is the ill-fated Pontiac Aztek - occasionally referred to as one of the ugliest automobiles of all time. And yet there are those who found its versatility beautiful. After all, it isn't every car that can double as a tent.

So we see that even ugly things can, and often do, have an inner beauty. Or at least an inner utility.

Also, there can be no accounting for taste.

My own tastes are somewhat - what's the word - eclectic. As Mrs. TSMK will attest, I have no qualms about mixing the striped shirt with the paisley tie. More to her horror, I have recently begun to enjoy the freedom that is the Utilikilt. Just yesterday, in fact, it took all of her resolve to accompany me and our sons on a kilt and Birkenstock-clad jaunt to the local nursery to look at bonsai pots. Oh yes, the TSMK aesthetic is occasionally unusual.

All of which is my way of acknowledging an important fact - my tastes are my own. What I like, I recognize that others may not. And what I dislike . . . Well, put it this way, I happen to find Megan Fox's forehead disturbingly large and wonder whether Renee Zellweger may actually be an unfortunate sufferer of fetal alcohol syndrome. [That last theory might actually explain her acting as well.] Obviously, I'm out of touch with the aesthetics of the mainstream.

It is with that caveat that I share my most recently completed project. The pattern is Bitterroot, by Rosemary Hill. It is easy to follow, and as you can see from the pictures in the link, it can lead to a spectacular finished product.

Unless I knit it and decide to play around with the suggested type of yarn.

Rather than make it lacy and delicate, I decided to make it in a slightly heavier weight of yarn. In this case, I've used Araucania Ranco Multy - a sport weight wool/polyamide blend. I knit it on US #6 needles, and it worked quickly - about 15 days from cast on to bind off. It incorporates about 1.6 skeins (so about 600 yds) and 600+ beads.

I hate it.

That isn't really true. I don't hate the design. But I hate this pattern in this yarn. It is a bit like scotch and doughnuts. I like scotch, and I like doughnuts, but I don't think I'd much like a Laphroig-flavored crueller - of course I love dark-chocolate & bacon truffles, so I could be wrong.

I thought the colors in the yarn - with turquoise and brown and green, would remind me of the water, sand and dunes of the beach. I was wrong. I can't say exactly what they remind me of, but for me it isn't good. And Mrs. TSMK doesn't like it either.

But one of you might like it. Perhaps your own tastes lead you to think that it is beautiful. Alternatively, perhaps you're desperately in need of a shawl for warmth (it is very warm) and you're conveniently color-blind. Maybe you're the kind of person who likes to unravel yarn and you're in need of a project.

So I'm giving it away through the blog. But I can't just give it away, obviously. I'm a lawyer by day and so believe there must be some sort of rules/structure around this offer. With that said, here are the rules:

1. I will only give it to someone who wants it for his or her own. So don't ask for the shawl if you plan to regift.

2. To be given the shawl, you must promise to send me a picture of you wearing/using the shawl, and give me permission to post the photo on the blog. If you win the shawl but fail to send a photo, I reserve the right to subject you to public ridicule - perhaps in limmerick form (e.g., there once was a welcher named . . .)

3. This will not be a random drawing or some such nonsense. No, I want you to tell me why you want the shawl. I'll pick from the group based on those responses. Please note that your responses (without your name) may be posted on the blog. Please note also that I will give special consideration to the creativity of your response, and extra-special consideration to responses written in haiku.

That's basically it. If you want a chance to get the shawl, shoot me an email at I look forward to getting your responses, and will accept responses until the Ides of March - subject to extension in my sole, and admittedly arbitrary, discretion.



  1. Colors of the sky
    Blend together perfectly
    Such a lovely shawl

  2. Mr. TSMK,

    This is beautiful. After reading your funny comments, I'm not sure if I want it! Whatever you may think about it, you did a nice job and the colors look good in the picture. Have fun posting someone's picture with it!

    Pat J.

  3. i think you did a beautiful job of the shawl also the photo of the shawl.
    i would gladly wear the shawl and curl up with a cup of tea and a good book.

  4. Dear TSMK, I am impressed by your skill and virtuosity with wool and needles. I have tried for years to teach myself to knit and even have a closet full of projects in various stages of completion. The latest attempt was a shawl similar to yours (in style but not complexity) that I finally gave up after 3 false starts. I'm hopeless at holding and manipulating those darn needles!!
    I would love to receive your shawl and would cherish it on cold winter evenings or even chilly summer days up here in Canada.
    Should you select my plea, I would be happy to send you photos of me, here in Mission, BC, wrapped in your fine artistry.
    Yours truly, Molly, the would be knitter