I'm a big fan of Diana Gabaldon's Outlander series and it was with great anticipation, and thanks to a good friend, I was able to watch the first episodes of the new series based on the first book. The costuming is full of lovely knitted garments, rich woven tartans, some lovely cartridge pleating, and all-in-all a textile lover's delight. Knitting patterns and stitch alongs inspired by the show abound. I want to play, too, but I have another garment in mind.
A Sontag is kind of a wrap around shawl. I've made them from big triangular shawls by tying the ends together in back or adding a button and loop. That's pretty much it, from what I can see. And they stay on nicely, not slipping here and there.
While looking through the Outlander knitting on Ravelry, I came across this Sontag pattern I really liked: Kay's Tess d'Uberville's Shawl designed by Kay Meadors. It perfectly fits my need for a brainless knitting project. I have umpteen projects going, including some knitting, but all take more energy than I have right now in the evenings. And there was another reason for a new project.
A favorite activity of mine is to knit and read. I'm rereading the first Outlander book and wanted a very simple knitting project to go along. And also for knitting in waiting rooms at doctor's offices.
This garter stitch Sontag fits the bill.
(You probably need to sign up for a Ravelry account to see the links above. It's free and Ravelry is a wonderful site full of great knitters, yarns, patterns, and conversations. Their pattern search feature is awesome.)
Many years ago I was in a knit-along group to make a shawl collar jacket with lovely dimensional flowers on the collar. I got yarn for the sweater and the flowers and knit samples. It was a lesson in custom fitting the sweater and I made lots of pattern notes. And along the way I realized that while I really loved the design, I'd probably never be comfortable wearing a sweater with dimensional flowers on the collar. (Watching the Kentucky Derby with the horseshoe shape of flowers that bedecked the winning horse convinced me of that.) I worked on possible ways to make the flowers removable. And then thought about just omitting them. And I began procrastinating. I never cast on for the sweater.
I pulled out that yarn (lovely Cascade wool) and knit up a swatch for the Sontag. First, I need to make the shawl larger than the pattern. Second, my wool knits to a finer gauge than the pattern. And I'm thinking I may like to make a Sontag a bit more like the historic one in the photo at top. I ignored all of that, pretty much, deciding to think about it later on. I cast on and began knitting. And reading while knitting. I was in heaven! (I debated this morning about doing a bit before heading in to work and decided that was too dangerous.)
So there are decisions to come, but for right now I'm in knitting heaven. A very good place to be.