A good friend of mine had the opportunity of visiting New Orleans pre Katrina. While there she discovered a small yarn shop in the French Quarter and purchased several skeins of Mango Moon recycled sari silk. In 2005 this was still a novel yarn and something that I had not glimpsed before. I had just reentered the world of knitting and was greedy with yarn lust. The idea that the Mango Moon Company supported impoverished women in Indonesia was appealing to me and I splurged to purchase a few more skeins through eBay. After that the skeins sat because I couldn't seem to find the right pattern. Now and then I would haunt the Knitter's Review forums and the Knitty boards to ferret out more info on what to make with this stuff. The more I read, the more I became discouraged. It seemed that sari silk was plagued with inconsistencies in the ply, plenty of unwanted add-ins in the form of small twigs, spinner's hair, and even toe nails. To add to other owners opinions, the smell is enough to drive the most hardened knitters away. My bubble burst. The skeins looked lovely in a wood bowl and I had plenty of other stuff to knit.
On a trip to Orlando and a visit to the local Sip and Knit, I found that they carried Mango Moon. Perfect, I hoped for some help finding a pattern. I left the shop with a skein of Capelli, a thin carrying yarn, elastic in nature and reminiscent of wooly thread used in sergers. This yarn would help give the heavy silk some bounce and elasticity. Without this stretchy thread, anything that I made would just hang limply. I also bought a Fiesta Yarns pattern for the Tassled Shawl along with a pair of hot pink size 15 needles.
I cast on and soon found this pattern poorly written and the shawl a disaster. Sick of the whole mess, I packed everything away into the back of the closet.
Fast forward to 2008. Our county library has improved their online card catalogue to resemble Amazon. I could search for knitting title by publication year and see the covers. I quickly had mass quantities of books from outlaying libraries on hold at my local branch. Among the titles was a books called Knitting With Ribbon Yarn. I first dismissed this as a book for knitting novelty yarns. However the book was filled with wonderful patterns and I also found the pattern for the Luxury Shawl, perfectly suited for the sari silk that was hibernating in the closet.
I soon cast on and made tremendous progress barring the modifications that I made for the front panels. I wanted them a bit longer and I decreased every 6 rows instead of every 4 rows. I finished this shawl in less than two weeks.
I am pleased with the results. The shawl is ferral looking with its massive color changes and ragged threads protruding from the back lace panel. The size is generous enough to keep shoulders warm over a light jacket. The tassels provide the needed weight to keep the shawl anchored in place. It's a casual look that will work with jeans or a little black dress. Knitting with this yarn was a novel experience, one that I will not repeat. I am happy with the result albeit the smell after blocking it is tough to take. Ah well, there's always Fabreze and a good airing.