Easy Going – Cheri McEwen

There’s nothing like sleet and a sick child to make us hookers run for our yarn. When it’s cold and rainy outside, I want nothing more than to bundle up next to my fireplace and lose myself in yarn and a good tv show (currently, I’m working my way through the X-Files…so maybe I should take out that modifier “good”). On top of the weather, I have a child who is under the weather. My poor daughter, who is rarely ill, has succumbed to this year’s flu, and has been coughing, shivering, and whimpering next to me since last year. Ok, yes, I know that was just Sunday, but it sounds so much more dramatic, don’t you think?

While she’s sick, I have to be ready to jump up at a moment’s notice. I’ve been running for the thermometer, tylenol, hot tea, chicken soup, pudding, popsicles, apple juice, cough syrup, mucinex, and kleenex, and that’s just been the last four hours. Having to drop my crochet every few minutes makes it difficult to track a complicated pattern. As much as I love a good, complex Doris Chan, it’s these drop everything days when I appreciate the simple repetition of a Cheri McEwen pattern.

What I love about Cheri’s patterns is that they look complicated, and while the first few rows might be a little iffy and require some attention, once you have the repeat down, they become wonderfully mindless, easy to drop and pick up again with little thought required as to, “Where was I?” I’ve made three of her Butterflies Shawl, and they whip up super fast. Today’s project (and likely the rest of the week) is her Small Talk Shawl. While it looks like a ridiculously intense pineapple pattern, it’s actually so simple! What’s really nice is that the pattern doesn’t call for a particular yarn or hook. If you use something proportionate, it will turn out like the picture. A slightly larger hook or finer yarn will make for a lacier look, while a smaller hook or chunkier yarn can give a tightly woven feel.

I first came across Cheri’s work on Crochetvolution and again on Ravelry.com while looking for shawl patterns. She’s quickly become one of my favorite designers, and I usually have one of her patterns working in a to-go bag for when I’m headed to the doctor’s or anywhere I may have to wait a while. She does an excellent job of explaining any pattern specific details, and always has a chart to go along with the printed pattern. I’ve found that a quick glance at the chart is enough to remind me where I am if it’s been a while since I’ve put down that WIP.

Great for a last minute gift because of the easy repetition, her stuff is fun to work on all year long. So while I’m trapped in my house nursing my sick child, I will finish whipping up this lovely Small Talk Shawl. I’m using some ancient baby yarn called Softer Than Angels. I know it’s ancient because the price sticker is from Winn’s, an old fashioned five and dime that closed down in the eighties, which makes this around 25 years old. However, a good acrylic never goes bad, and the lavender and green 3 ply is light and perfect for spring.

IMG370

That is not a pineapple!