I love shawls. When I taught first grade, I used to flap around the room in one like a giant crane, tickling the kids with the fringe. Many of those children are probably suffering from "shawlophobia" as adults and seeking professional help.
I still have the shawl I wore on my first Communion Day thousands of years ago. It was made by my Italian neighbor who taught me to knit in Italian. That's probably what I like best about my shawls.. .the memories they evoke. Every shawl in my collection reminds me of a the person who made it. One was made by my spinning guild for a demonstration. It is a conglomeration of thick and thin singles that would make a sheep to shawl judge cringe but it's made from the wool of my first sheep. I laugh to think of the day we made it. The bagpipe player began accompaniment, playing faster and faster. Of course, we spun faster and faster til someone screamed in a tangled mess of over spun yarn .
My Shetland sheep and a Scottish grandmother gave me the impetus to learn more about traditional Shetland knitting and try my hand at some shawls of my own. Not finely spun or well knit, they have made me feel connected to my sheep and my Grandmother' homeland. There is something special about knitting with wool from your own sheep and putting a name on the fiber.
This summer I fell in love with a shawl made by Tari Lohrey at the Wooster show. It was handspun BFL wool, dyed with natural dyes. The pattern was Irish, the other part of me. I couldn't believe that Tari agreed to trade her beautiful shawl for one of my sheep! It is in my collection and another treasured memory.
With Fall in the air, I'm anxious to get some of those shawls out and go swooping around again.(Get your children off the streets.) Elisabeth counts the sheep pictures in my house. Maybe I'll get her to count my shawls.