The finished Springtime Bandit

I see so many of my knitterly friends making shawls these days. It’s understandable – the projects are engaging to knit and look gorgeous. Yet I usually want nothing to do with them. Since patterns typically start at the center of the shawl, that means you end up with hundreds of stitches, often in lighter gauge yarns with crazy stitch patterns and charts to read.

This doesn’t make me sweaty or nervous, but what begins as the best of intentions ends up accompanied by a heaping side of knitter’s ennui. And trust me, casting on 500 stitches and starting at the long end doesn’t seem like a great compromise. I’m a pretty practical girl most of the time, so investing that much energy in a fancy scarf seems a bit crazy to me. If I need something to warm my neck, a cowl is perfectly attractive and simple to whip up, and I’ll leave the intense needlework for sweaters.

Starting to block Daybreak

So why am I suddenly shawl obsessed? They’re my foe of the knitted world… and all I can think about. I have two recently off of the needles, my second Springtime Bandit and a Daybreak. And each came with its own set of complications – a few misaligned stitches had me frogging back the Bandit, and a snagged edge on the Daybreak nearly left me catatonic for a few days. (Do I sound slightly dramatic here? Be glad you don’t live with me. That was a dark day.)

Now I’m planning to cast on a doozy, Jared Flood’s Rock Island. I’m excited, but it’s definitely going to challenge me, especially since I seem to have issues with blocking. A question for you all: I knit fairly tightly. Is this why blocking is always a headache for me? What is your favorite blocking method? I haven’t been able to crack the code on this step of the knitting process yet. I need your help!

Happy knitting!!

Just a note – The title of this post refers to a song by Baltimore musician Lesser Gonzalez Alvarez called “Mostly a Friend.” Listen to this folky-summery little jam from the 2008 album Why is Bear Billowing? on Fader.