Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Midsummer Night Shawl

It's the Fourth of July, and I'm in a little coastside town near San Francisco called Pacifica. Pacifica is known for its foggy days. In fact, we even have a Fog Fest every September, a street festival dedicated to wet mist, with sand castles, children's games, food, fun and a local drink called a Fog Cutter that would burn the chill off of anyone.

But I was born in San Francisco, which has its own share of foggy summer days.

As anyone who grew up in City knows, the number of times the fireworks have been clearly seen over San Francisco Bay on the Fourth of July can be counted on one or maybe two hands.

(As I get older, I have to add a few more fingers.)

Where I grew up, on Russian Hill, every Independence Day we would walk to the top of the crooked street, at the apex of Hyde and Lombard Streets, and look down the hill toward Alcatraz, sticking up like an umbrella in the cool summer Bay tea.

Typically, we would see the fog and a few glowing spots of color. We would shake our heads, zip up our parkas, and walk back down Hyde Street to Swenson's for an ice cream cone.

Our weather ranges from cool to cooler on most summer nights. The misty fog spreads inland from the Pacific Coast in the late afternoon, cuddling the City with its damp white blanket. This may seem
romantic when dining at the Carnelian Room, 52 stories above the Financial District, where you can see only fluffy mist beneath and blue sky above you.

Or, it may seem ominous and exhilerating as you perch at the edge of a cliff at Land's End and watch the creeping white tufts crawl through the Golden Gate, the bridge perm
eating the fog into white tendrils that merge together over the Bay, and finally climb the hills and drift into the valleys where they dissipate into nothingness.

We natives can feel it out there.
We can smell the saltiness in the afternoon wind. No one where we live has air conditioning.

Cool summer weather calls for a lovely midweight shawl -- something to wrap around the shoulders at the first sign of foreboding afternoon breezes.

A few months ago, I began corresponding with Margaret at Inspirations Yarn about the possibility of test knitting her latest shawl pattern.

I had sampled some of her beautiful hand-dyed yarn and loved the quality and her color sense. She sent me the pattern and yarn, and I got to work. I was very pleased with the clarity of her writing.

The Midsummer Night Shawl is knitted in an Elfin Lace pattern that is straightforward and somewhat easy to memorize.

I would call this an intermediate lace pattern, although beginners would be able to tackle this shawl while learning a few new tricks, such as knitting on a border or chart reading. The pattern is written out as well as charted.

The yarn color is Heirloom Rose, a gorgeous blend of rose, peach, and pink that blend together in bright harmony. The colors would compliment any skin tone, and I love the way the lace pattern shows off the yarn and the design equally well.


Laritza said...

How pretty! both the pictures and the shawl!

Jemima said...

Oh My! It's heavenly!

knitseashore said...

That shawl is incredibly gorgeous. So are your photos! What a lovely tribute to SF!