A few months ago, I mentioned the large shawl that my husband knitted for his mother about eight or nine years ago (btw, I said it was Irish but it's actually a Scottish pattern). It is still lying in pride of place on a couch in her living room, never used and rarely touched. However, I asked to take photos of it so that we'd have a record of what it looks like. I want to share them with you here.
This is my 6-foot-tall father-in-law holding up the unfolded shawl. This gives you an idea of how large it really is.
As you can see, the pattern is very complicated. It's hard to imagine how someone, just a few months after learning how to knit, could put together such a huge and complex piece like this. But he prepared for it so methodically. He found the pattern he wanted -- the Fir Cone Square Shawl -- in a library book, Folk Shawls: Twenty-five Knitting Patterns and Tales from around the World by Cheryl Oberle. With some cheap yarn, he made test squares of the border and part of the body to make sure that he was doing the pattern properly. He had trouble at the corners but he figured out how to make the corrections himself. After that, he bought the expensive yarn that he wanted and he set to knitting, several hours a day while in the middle of looking for a job at the time.
It is a stunning work of art and craft. If he hadn't gotten a job that required us to move, we wouldn't have packed up all of our knitting needles and yarn, and he may have continued with his knitting and made more such pieces. At some point, I'd like to take up knitting with him again, and this time I'd ask him to help me choose more interesting patterns than a dinky little triangle shawl that I made over and over again with different cheap yarns. Geez, the difference between our knitting sensibilities was embarrassing. O.o