I've long been a fan of Liesl's blog- her knitting, sewing and photography are such an inspiration. She's just an all around creative gal (check out here spring swap - so fun- and her naturally died yarns too!) And recently, she's begun restoring a family farm (swoon!) I asked her to share some thoughts on the topic as part of the Lieselotte Shawl KAL. Thank you so much for sharing with us Liesl!
First, would you tell us about your knitting history- ie., where did you learn to knit and how long have you been knitting?
I taught myself to knit and purl when I was a teenager and I tried to get the hang of it so many times through my twenties, but it never stuck. My Grandma crochets and knits and a couple different times she gave me a refresher on the basics but again, it just didn’t click. The jumble of letters and numbers in a pattern was confusing. Half of the time, I couldn’t remember the difference between knit and purl. Finally, in 2011, I borrowed Knitting for Dummies from my local library and set out to make some simple dishcloths. I also signed up a Ravelry and began looking around at patterns and projects. It was a rocky start but eventually it clicked and the obsession has just snowballed since then.
Where does your love of 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?
My love of shawls is very new. I never wore shawls and for that reason, I figured I’d never want to knit them. Then I came across the Jane Eyre Shawl, which is a big, warm, wrap-around-you kind of shawl and thought I’d like to make it. Unfortunately, in my inexperience, I kept making mistake after mistake and became so discouraged I frogged it. In early 2014, I got caught up in the excitement of the Ysolda Teague Follow Your Arrow KAL and joined, despite the fact that I didn’t knit (or even wear) shawls and despite the fact that I really dislike surprises. It turned out to be such a fun experience and I loved the final result.
Is there a shawl in your personal collection that stands out as most-worn or favorite?
Apart from my Follow Your Arrow, I think my favorite and most-worn shawl is not actually one that I made but one that was gifted to me by a fellow blogger. It's a simple triangle shawl and she gave it to me at a time when I really needed the "handknit hug" a shawl provides.
Do you have any favorite patterns or yarns when it comes to shawls?
The Jane Eyre Shawl is a Faroese style shawl, which has a wide center gusset in the back and shoulder shaping that helps it stay in place when you move around. That was a big factor in changing my opinion on shawls. I wanted something that wouldn't constantly be slipping off my shoulders since I'm very active. I'd still like to knit the Jane Eyre or some other Faroese shawl in the future. I hate to choose a neutral answer but I can't say that I have a favorite yarn for shawl knittng. Every yarn has its purpose, whether it's a lighter yarn that creates a soft, drapey fabric or a thicker yarn that produces a stiffer, warmer, heartier shawl. I like them all!
Finally, any tips for styling or wearing a shawl?
One of the reasons I shied away from shawls is because I figured they looked a little too old or something. But Ravelry opened my eyes to all the many ways to style a shawl! I usually wear mine bundled around my neck, kerchief style. This helps keep my neck warm when I’m wearing a coat. I’ve overcome my fear of wearing shawls since having a hand knit shawl draped over your shoulders is wonderful feeling