Impending redundancy isn't doing much for my concentration when it comes to reading which is a shame because I've got a small stack of books I really want to read right now. I just can't decide which one to get on with first, so instead I've been knitting.
My stepmother gave me 'Uradale Shawls' when I was staying with her in June, the Scalloway pattern looked like a good project for getting through some of my yarn stash, and uncomplicated. What I hadn't quite appreciated is that in terms of yardage it's the biggest thing I've knitted so far, progress is slow, but it's also been a blessing.
I'm a big believer in the therapeutic qualities of knitting as a hobby. It gives me something creative to do which is always a positive, is absorbing enough to stop brooding, but still lets me listen to podcasts or half watch trashy tv (some of) which makes me feel even more productive, and is just generally calming. The size and nature of the Scalloway scarf is especially perfect - it's a really simple shape, with stripes that keep the endless stockinette interesting - it doesn't make unreasonable demands on a mind inclined to wander a bit.
I have never bought any of the Uradale yarn (it's an organic farm near Scalloway in Shetland) although I have seen the odd bits of it around in Lerwick, so I'm mostly using Jamieson's Spindrift with a bit of Jamieson and Smith's jumper weight in the closest colours I had.
Most of the patterns in the book are for large triangular shawls, and now I'm working out how much yarn you need from the given weights I'm realising just how big they really are, they're mostly stranded too, so they'll be warm. The given instructions suggest knitting in the round for most of the shawls with a steek you cut at the end. I think I'd rather knit purl rows and do them flat even if it would take longer.
Otherwise this is a really nice collection that reflects the landscape and yarn that inspired it. There's only one pattern that really looks like fairisle, everything else has motifs that pick up on local wildlife and landmarks. It's a lovely book to have as a souvenir, and the shawls themselves would be something to treasure.