If you are looking for knitting inspiration, all you need to is look at Lori Ann Graham's (Lori times five) Ravelry page or blog. Her knitting is beautiful, and her photography even more so. Her love of shawls is infectious (she even has one named for her!) and so I asked her to share some thoughts on the topic as part of the Lieselotte Shawl KAL. Let's finish these shawls so we can join Lori for her #wearyourshawlwednesday on Instagram! Thank you so much for sharing with us Lori!
First, would you tell us about your knitting history- ie., where did you learn to knit and how long have you been knitting?
I've been knitting most of my life, learning at the age of 5, literally at my Norwegian grandmother's knee. She would have me sit on the ground beside her (her in her blue rocking chair) and she would guide my hands. I made endless doll blankets with wool my grandma Rose gave me.
Where does your love for shawls come from; is there anyone in your memory who wore or knit them, or is it something that happened when you started knitting them?
I think my love of shawls came from grandma Rose too. She always had one of her handknit ones on. But as a young girl, then a young mother, shawls felt a bit beyond my age I think. although I loved wrapping up in hers at home, it wasn't until many years later they became a part of my wardrobe (I'm so glad to see that thinking has changed!) The first one I think, was made while on a trip. We were on a 3 week drive around the north island of New Zealand. I brought a bag of alpaca to knit with, it ended up being a 'traveling shawl' (found on raverly under this name). So thankful I had that yarn too, there wasn't any to buy on our entire trip!
Is there a shawl in your personal collection that stands out as most-worn or favorite?
I love to make all kinds of shawls, but I think my favorite is the one that is more repetitive knitting. A simple pattern, with no charts (or minimal) and easy to memorize is perfect. The simpler the better, better for wrapping up in too. :) My favorite pattern right now is the hap shawl. It's a beautiful blend of mindless and simple chart. I love the techniques used in the modern hap. First the garter stitch center, then a lovely border and finally a knitted on lace edging. I have only made one so far, but it is so well loved and worn i am sure I'll make many more. There is also elizabeth zimmermans pi shawl. Endlessly simple and easy as a takealong project, as you progress the shawl turns into it's own bag (knit entirely in the round it looks like an oversize hat on the needles).
Do you have any favorite patterns or yarns when it comes to shawls?
I think shawls can be the most versatile item to knit and use. They don't care too much about gauge (as long as sizing and yardage requirements are taken into consideration) and they don't need to fit like a sweater might. They love to be wrapped around the neck or shoulders. Shawls are so comforting and forgiving. I have used them as a picnic blanket, to wrap a baby in, to cover a lap, for a pillow on a flight, or to cover a nursing infant. I love woolly wools, merino with alpaca is nice for shawls. Cashmere is perfect for softness and warmth, an investment in yourself (or a lovely gift).
Finally, any tips for styling or wearing a shawl?
I wish I could see everyone in a shawl, I've heard some say they are not sure how to wear one, or that it might not be right for them. I think if you love the fabric you've knit, it will love you back.