Eddie Izzard is very funny. One of the things that I particularly like about him, though, is that when I watch his shows I have the feeling that he had the same sort of upbringing and education that I did. Izzard is a British, dyslexic, transvestite stand-up comedian who went to school near a place called Beachy Head, so I assume that this sense of kinship is a talent of his rather than an amazing coincidence.

What ho! The completed bawk — or rather, a slice of it. If you plan to make one (this is #19 from Rebecca home #7), you might like to know that in addition to a lack of clarity about the neck and shoulders, this pattern is also written in metric measurements. (“It was 300 feet tall,” says Eddie Izzard. “Oh, now we’re metric. So it was 14 cubic litres tall.”) I have a clear mental image of one centimeter, and can do a good handy estimate of any number of inches up to a foot, but 14 centimeters is for me a distance that occurs only on metric measuring tools. So I just continued this thing until I ran out of yarn, and it looks about right. So one skein of Wool-Ease will make you one bawk pretty exactly.

 I intend to make another half-dozen of these over the next six months, but at the moment, I am freed up to consider a new knitting project. Oh, yes, I still have a few WIPs. However, one of them is the prayer shawl, and it is flat too hot to be knitting something that sits in your lap while you work on it. The bath ensembles are small projects which will be finished soon. So I can certainly think about a new project, and what I am thinking about is — a shawl.

One reason that I am thinking about shawls is peer pressure. Or whatever you call that feeling you get after seeing something a lot of times that maybe you want one, too. Advertisers rely on this feeling heavily. But many knitting bloggers are having a Summer of Lace, making lovely lacy shawls and showing their pictures hither and yon. I’ve been doing texture and color stitches for a while now, and haven’t done any lace. It seems like time I got around to some.

Part of it is making the Prayer Shawls. They are heavy, cozy objects, but they still bring to mind the whole idea of shawls.

And then Sighkey mentioned possum fur yarn and I went and looked at some online and found laceweight fur/wool/silk yarn being shown in the form of a shawl. The lightness and warmth of the stuff was being marveled over in the description, so I am left with the thought of a light, warm shawl for fall evenings.

Now, here I must explain some terminology. There are scarves, stoles, and shawls. A scarf is a long thin rectangle, usually worn around the neck. A stole is a larger rectangle, usually worn around the shoulders. For both of these objects, all you have to do is to choose a nice stitch from your stitch collection book and knit a rectangle. You can make borders of some kind if you feel like it, but you really don’t need a pattern. I have recently seen lots of “patterns” for stoles and scarves which are just a rectangle of some often-collected stitch, but no matter how many copyright notices they contain and how cute their names, these are not new designs. The scarf pictured here, the DNA scarf, has unique features and an original cable pattern, so it deserves the name of a pattern, but for the most part, it’s just a rectangle.

Shawls can be square, round, or triangular. A (non-square) rectangular one is, strictly speaking, a stole. I have several books which detail the construction of a traditional square Shetland shawl. I also have half-a-dozen stitch collections, with lots of nice lace stitches, so I should be able to make a square shawl with no difficulty. I also have Elizabeth Zimmerman’s clear instructions for making a round shawl.

To make a triangle, you just start with three stitches and add on every row until it’s as big as you want. You can’t help but come up with a triangle if you do this. If you want more detail and pictures, here is a wonderful Shawl Workshop for beginners. But if you want to use a complex lace stitch, and especially if you want that nice mirror effect where the patterns meet in the middle of the triangle, then you will need some complex calculations. Or at least a good example to work from.

I own 38 knitting books. None contains an example of a triangular lace shawl. None has calculations for making one. So what kind of shawl do I want to make? The only one for which I have no pattern, of course.

Obviously, I must buy a new knitting book. Any suggestions?

Apart from knitting and sewing, we are on summer schedule. That is to say, the grown-ups work a lot and the kids have such hectic social calendars that we rarely see them. The garden has gotten a bit jungly — subtropical summers naturally lead to that. Plenty of peppers and tomatoes and herbs in the vegetable garden, but the green beans are being a bit slouchy. We are still able to keep up with everything by using it fresh so far; canning is in our future.

And it is my xangaversary.