My Herbivore shawl started like this:

Bluefaced Leiceter roving from FreckleFace Fibers

Blue faced Leicester roving from FreckleFace Fibers in Firenze

I don’t exactly remember when I spun it (Rav says my stash page was updated on October 20, 2011, but it must have been sometime in the spring), but I felt victorious upon finishing this yarn.  I wanted 400+ yards of thin 2ply and I got just that.  This was also the first yarn that I spun exactly what I wanted to spin – usually my handspun is thicker or more uneven than I like.  Spinning this yarn made me feel like I’m finally at the place where I can imagine a yarn and then spin it up (usually).  I don’t have a picture of the finished yarn all skeined up, but trust me, it was pretty.

Herbivore Shawl

I cast on for Stephen West’s Herbivore shawl in the middle of a July heat wave.  My thought was that since it would grow so slowly, I wouldn’t be working on the body of the shawl until after the heat had passed.  And indeed I was correct.

I worked on this shawl, a row or two at a time, for the rest of the summer, autumn, and winter.  It hibernated through frenzied Christmas knitting and witnessed the beginning of my foray into quilting.  And yet I plowed on.


Fast forward to February 2012.  Me, in my chair, in my pink gnome PJs, muttering under my breath as I unknit the hundreds of stitches in the last three rows for the second time.  The first time it was because I hadn’t realized I’d come to the end of the yarn.  I thought, “I’ll unknit this present row and then cast off,” forgetting that the pattern called for a garter stitch edge (which wouldn’t roll).  Also, I didn’t realize that the little ball of yarn was way too small for casting off.

Closeup of Herbivore

The second time I unknit those hundreds of stitches was when I realized the two things mentioned above.  I confess to sitting in disbelief for a moment, and then knitting quickly to try to outrace the end of my yarn.  You know the thought.  “If I just knit as fast as I can, I will finish before the ball finishes.”

And that never works.

But after everything, it is done!  And this is all the yarn that is left:

Yarn Leftover

Barely even a yard.  I’m calling it a success.


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