Every year the store has, what I'm told, are epic Christmas parties. And up to this year I hadn't gone to any of them.
I'm not much of one for office parties to start with - it's that fine balancing act of hanging out with people from work in a social setting all the while trying desperately to come up with something to talk about that isn't work. Add to the mix that these Christmas parties are semi-formal-ish - guys in suits and ladies in dresses (or suits), and I'm way out of my comfort level. Heck, I only own two dresses (and one of them I'm not ever likely to wear again, being my wedding dress and all), and it's only by a miracle that I haven't broken an ankle in the few times I've worn high heals.
So my first year I didn't go. I'd only been there two months, didn't really know the gang, and wasn't sure how much longer I'd be around (because I still foolishly thought I could get somewhere with my grad degree). The next year, I thought about going, but we had a curling Christmas party the same night, and I really like those guys.
This year though, apparently I had no choice. One of the guys even bought me a ticket to make sure I went.
Now, the dress that I would be wearing is sleeveless. And the party is in December. And since I'm not much of a dancer, I was expecting to get cold. I do have a pashmina wrap in the perfect colour to match the dress, but I figured that if I was going get
I was going to knit myself a black lace shawl.
I've wanted one since my high school prom. So much classier than the typical matching-fabric-wraps that come with most dresses. And the vintage look is something that I love.
The party was set for December 1st. I was informed that I was attending October 2nd. Two months to knit a lace shawl? No problem!
Do I sound crazy yet?
October 3rd I came home with Dropps lace silk/alpaca blend from Wool Thyme in a beautiful shiny black. Even Andre got into the game. I turn around for two minutes and look what happens:
He's too good to me!
After poking around for a while I settled on a tribute to Elizabeth Zimmermann with the EZ 100th Anniversary PI Shawl: Camping.
This pattern was super easy to follow, and fun to knit (once I got a few rounds in and stopped dropping my needles). And for the first few weeks I thought I was going to make it with piles of time to spare.
Note to self, when a shawl pattern starts with CO9 and and ends with BO867, it's going to slow down each time you double the stitches. As pretty as it is, I was about ready to strangle myself with the yarn while working through the vines.
Thankfully, Andre and I had planned a week in Toronto in early November, and while I didn't get much knitting time while we were there, there was still the train ride out and home to put serious length on this thing.
And on November 27th, there it lay on the bed with a couple hundred pins in it, blocking away happily to itself. With two whole days to spare!
I made a few small changes to the pattern. Firstly I used true lace weight yarn rather than the fingering weight called for. The biggest difference (other than the damage to my eyesight from trying to see lace knitting in black yarn on a train at night) is that it came out about 4' across rather than the 5' + indicated by the pattern. Which worked out really nicely because it hangs perfectly to my elbows and stays out of the way when I'm sitting down.
Change #2 - the spiral wheel was written to be entirely done with ssk. Not my favourite thing to do, especially since it takes longer per stitch than K2tog. So I reversed the pattern, K2tog-ing happily around and now the spirals twist the opposite direction.
And while I do love the rounded edges in the original pattern, I was a little bit pressed for time, so I left the edging with points rather than scrounging another several hundred pins. You know what? I love it.
So two days latter, off I toddled in my high heals, dress, and shawl to the Christmas party, and had fantastic time. Turns out most of my worries of work place Christmas parties were unfounded. My department and my store are both packed with awesome fun loving people, and we had a blast.
Now to figure out what to knit to wear next year...