Monday, April 23, 2012

Paula and the Piper's Journey

Hi Knitters,
To keep things simple all links will be found at the end of the post.

My Piper's Journey shawl is finished and I haven't been able to stop wearing it since I unpinned it from the blocking board. This was a fun knit and the final product is a wearable and pretty shawl. I highly recommend the Piper's Journey shawl and the Quince & Co. Chickadee yarn.

I wish you could all hold this shawl in your hands. It is beautiful, soft, light and airy. The 100% dk weight American wool from Quince & Co. is soft enough to wear next to your skin without being itchy at all. This is coming from someone who has a lot of allergies and sensitive skin.

The sweet simplicity of the Chickadee yarn is perfect for showing crisp stitch definition and for holding the blocking efforts in place. I think this project showcases the perfect match of yarn and pattern.

There are many ways to wear the Piper's Journey shawl. I basically never want to take this handknit off. I know this will be the most worn shawl of mine, no doubt.

You can wrap it around your shoulders and tie the ends at the front.

You can throw the ends over your shoulders and put a shawl pin in to hold in place.

The curved shape makes the shawl sit so nicely on your shoulders. It really stays in place, no fussing is required.

Here's how I wore it to TC's soccer game last Sunday, all wrapped up warmly around my neck. There was such a chilly wind and the shawl really kept me toasty. It felt so good.

The shawl begins with the garter stitch body of the shawl and ends with an 18 stitch applied lace repeat that is quite simple. Applied lace means it is knit right onto the body of the shawl so you are knitting the garter edge stitches together with the lace as you work along the edge. At the end you only have the lace stitches to bind off and you are done!

The Piper's Journey is a clever and fun pattern to knit. This is my first time doing an applied lace edging and I found it to be entertaining and easy. I think this would be a good first project for lace as the lace pattern is quite simple. If you have any interest in trying a simple, straightforward lace shawl, this is the one for you! The pattern is well-written and clear. I loved everything about it.

The Piper's Journey is a very popular pattern on Ravelry and that is mostly due to the winning combination of Paula Emons-Fuessle, the designer, and Quince & Co yarn. I am a huge fan of both. Paula hosts the weekly podcast, Knitting Pipeline, where Quince & Co. is a sponsor. If you haven't listened to Knitting Pipeline, please go have a listen. I learn something every time I listen and I have enjoyed every single episode, many more than once. I think so many have made the Piper's Journey shawl (there are hundreds of finished projects posted on Ravelry), not only because it is a great knit but because they love Paula, just like I do. This is Paula's first published pattern and it immediately shot to the number one hot pattern on Ravelry. How fun is that?

Paula includes lots of knitting in her podcast, not only her current projects, but also lots of discussion, and tips on techniques, and new things she has learned with each project she tackles. It is so much more than a show and tell. Paula teaches. I like to think about what I have learned with each project I knit, too. There is always something new and Paula always points this aspect of knitting out. This is a good way to approach knitting.

Some of Paula's episodes include letters that she and Elizabeth Zimmermann exchanged many years ago. Paula used to attend Elizabeth's knitting camp in Wisconsin. I love the thought of a young Paula making the journey from Illinois to Wisconsin to attend knitting camp to learn from perhaps the greatest knitter of all time. The forethought Paula had to save these precious handwritten letters is incredible. I don't know if I would have done the same. Now we get to hear the voice of Elizabeth through Paula and these letters, it is amazing. The letters are just as good as any book of Elizabeth's, cleverly worded, sincere and smart. Paula is an Elizabeth Zimmermann devotee and discusses many of the projects she knits using EZ's books. I love this and wish I had the time to knit through all of my Elizabeth Zimmermann books. This is a goal of mine for the future.

Paula is a curious sort, meaning she has many interests beyond knitting that she shares with her listeners. She is a nature-lover and researcher, a teacher (she has video tutorials, too), a bread-baker, a good friend to knitters Bronwyn, Char and Sara (knitters who visit and chat with Paula on some episodes), a bagpipe band member, an avid reader, an active community member, a mother and wife, a lover of her home and family life, and a lover of life in general. Paula lives a life that is so endearing. I have read many new books and watched movies and PBS and BBC series all on Paula's recommendations and she is spot on. She also hosted the first Knitting Pipeline retreat this spring, which I was unable to attend. I hope and intend to attend the next one in the upcoming year.

I love to hear Paula's humor. She laughs at herself and that makes me laugh. She is humble and funny and she is always trying her best to do the right thing. Paula is relatable and smart. I love many podcasts and podcasters, however, many are quite young. I am in my upper forties and I have been knitting a very long time, approaching three decades now. It is so refreshing for me to listen to someone with a certain maturity and someone who has many years of knitting and life experience to draw from and share. Being from the midwest and having kids who are getting older, like Paula, draws me in like I am listening to someone I have known for years. We very often have so much in common that it is striking at times and I love that.

Don't miss out on this treasure we have been given, Knitting Pipeline. I hope Paula continues her work for a long time.

Now for all of those links:
Knitting Pipeline (You can listen on the site or on itunes, read show notes and see photos.)
Knitting Pipeline Ravelry Group (I am a member and joined the Piper's Journey knitalong.)
Piper's Journey shawl pattern on Ravelry
Piper's Journey shawl pattern in Scarves, etc., Book One, on Quince & Co. (a fantastic collection)
Quince & Co.'s Chickadee yarn
Blocking the Piper's Journey shawl
Quince & Co.
Elizabeth Zimmermann

Have a super start to your week, Knitters! It's a beautiful day out there.
best, susie