A Gift to Me

What was the last thing you made for yourself? Just as a special gift to yourself?

If you had asked me that question a couple of months ago, I would have been completely stumped.

I mean, I have handwoven dishtowels I use every day but I only keep the ones that have small mistakes that make them unfit for gift giving or selling.

I have orphan placemats, too. I might set out to weave a set of six, to sell on Etsy or at a craft show, and end up eking out 7. So I keep the extra one.

And, of course, I have kept quilts I’ve made but I don’t really think of those as something I made for myself. I just make them because I have an idea I like and then tend to stick them in a closet and forget about them.

But I’ve been working on a couple of custom orders and doing lots of making for other people lately and I simply had a mind to rebel.

I made something for myself.

Just for me.

Something sort of frivolous and not really my style. 

I made a big, comfy shawl. 

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I rarely go anywhere that this shawl would be appropriate. My clothing style runs to jeans and turtlenecks and sneakers.

And I can’t really use it at home because I am rarely without a cat on my lap and cats have claws . . .

But I love my shawl.

I chose colors that make me happy—the very low-key blue and tan go with every single thing I own, like denim jeans!

The fiber is a blend of alpaca and silk. It’s soft and light as air, and warm as well.

I made the shawl big and long and wide, in a pattern called a plaited twill. 

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The weaving of it was fun and just a little challenging. I bought one pound of yarn in each color and used almost every last inch of both.

I’ve worn the shawl twice so far, once out to dinner and once to a concert in a chilly theatre.

And it made me feel like a queen.

I intend to make more gifts just for me!

I’ll ask it again—what was the last thing you made, just for yourself?

I hope it was something wonderful—you deserve it.

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106 thoughts on “A Gift to Me

  1. Love, love, love the pattern and colors! Beautiful shawl.

    I haven’t made anything for myself in decades. I knitted a couple sweaters just to prove to myself that I could do it. And they turned out pretty well. But that was it!

  2. I really love the pattern you’ve used for the shawl, and while the colours are a bit low key for me (no, really?), I think it must be totally you if it makes you feel like a queen. The last thing I made for myself that’s finished is my swoopy shirt, made from beautiful Liberty lawn in a design and colour I love, with a handkerchief point hem. I’m also making my Hatbox Quilt for myself. Mine, mine, mine!

  3. That is exquisite!!! And, definitely, the perfect mating with jeans—–or anything!!!! Your skilled creations are gorgeous and I’m glad you included yourself as a recipient….finally (I do understand this completely!).

    • I did pick that blue specifically because it would look good with my jeans. But then it turned out that it looks good with every single thing I own–I’m nothing if not predictable with color choices!

  4. It’s beautiful! It’s really not fair that you didn’t take a picture of you in it..😁 bet you can guess what I’m working on and only have one side left yet to bind then it is going on the bed! And no I’m not going to take a picture of me under it.😂

  5. I’m not sure I can name the last thing I made for myself, because an awful lot of what I make is to please me, even if eventually it goes to someone else. I do know the FIRST thing I made, quilt-wise. I made it in 2013, and the feeling of making it JUST FOR ME was revelatory. I hope you feel the same with your beautiful shawl.

    If you love wearing it, wear it a lot. It doesn’t need to be “appropriate” for the occasion. You can wear it to visit yard sales or go to the market or to visit friends or to wander through town … The more you do so, the more appropriate it will feel to you. Enjoy!

    • You’re right–I do just need to make a habit of wearing it. I think I tend to use clothing as camouflage–to not stand out in a crowd–and the shawl is a little showy for me. Silly me . . .

  6. Your ‘just for me’ shawl is stunning ~ totally my color palette. I love it too 🙂 I am a shawl person and wear them everywhere. So put on your tiara and wrap yourself up and head off on where ever you are going. This is really gorgeous Kerry! ~ Sharon

  7. Yes! In a way, it’s like buying chocolates for yourself, in which I am firm believer. 😉 And that shawl will look smashing with just about anything, especially jeans and turtlenecks. We know we need to be good to others. We also need to be good to ourselves.

  8. Oh that looks so comfortingly soft and pretty. Everyone deserves a pamper now and then. And when it is created by your own hands? Even better!

  9. Alpaca and silk…..that must feel like wearing a cloud! That braided twill pattern is wonderful; I love the way it shows in the mixed part of the weaving. Perfect with jeans or as a statement piece with black or navy or even white. I’m so happy you did this for yourself Kerry! It’s better than a bubble bath!

    • It’s a lovely fiber blend, for sure, and fits my style (to use the term loosely!). I don’t have to ask what you’ve made for yourself lately, with all those wonderful items for the sewing bee!

  10. wow, wow, wow Kerry – what an utterly gorgeous make, and very well deserved. I love every aspect of the pattern, colour, yarn. My very favourite bit is where the pattern shows blue against the taupe in the final picture. I’m in the middle of a few projects for me – picked up again after finishing that huge crochet blanket for my friend last year. It is nice to be working on things which do not have to be perfect or finished to a timescale.

    • Thanks so much, Liz! I love the subtle pattern, too. In person, you can see the pattern in the texture of the areas that are all blue or all tan, as well. And, yes, it’s nice to have the lower pressure of making for oneself.

  11. Its gorgeous and the sort of thing that will go just as beautifully with a casual outfit as a more dressy one.
    I often can’t part with things I’ve made so they end up as mine even if they didn’t start out that way. 😊

  12. Your shawl is exquisite. I imagine it feels wonderful and oh so luxurious when draped over your shoulders.

    I’m not nearly as expert as you when it comes to hand crafted work. I would not feel confident giving my knitted garments to anyone other than close family who are going to love me despite my sad crafts.

    • Thanks, Susanne–it does have a very luxurious feel! And maybe you simply haven’t found the right craft yet! I was an awful knitter and pretty much hate crochet but then . . . weaving spoke to me!

  13. That is an excellent question to ask oneself! And your answer to it is astounding! I LOVE the shawl. I’m trying to find an pattern for several things actually. I want to use some fleece I have here to make a hooded scarf because my head must be covered in the cold or wind. I like the shawl idea to cover the back of my neck and shoulders. I’m thinking of making a sack dress for the hot summer coming and several other things but they always get put on the back burner. The shawl you made looks absolutely heavenly. Just my colors as well. I did finish a quilt I had put away for way too many years and now use quite a bit. Great food for thought here.

    • Thanks, Marlene! Your taste and mine must be a lot alike! I love the idea of a fleecy hooded scarf–I really hate it when rain drips down the back of my neck. It sounds like you have the right attitude about being good to yourself.

  14. An amazing shawl and made of amazing materials. I use shawls a lot–with jeans, over a coat, for chilly restaurants in the summer. This one is beautiful!!! I think the last thing I made for myself was my table runner. May have to make something else soon!

    • I need to be more like you and just get in the habit of grabbing this shawl and finding ways to wear it! Your table runner was a lovely gift to yourself but, yes, it’s time to make more!

  15. I so want to run my fingers over your creation, and tug gently on that fringe. Personally, I’d wear it even to bed. (I’ve been known to sleep in cashmere sweaters.) And it’s absolutely the right blue. You darn well better wear it, and not save it “for good.” In case I didn’t make myself clear, I love it.

    • You made yourself pretty clear–and I thank you for that! Regarding the fringe–I twisted it and tied it before wet finishing, as I always do. Then I put the shawl in the washer and dryer, for wet finishing, and about half the fringes came untied in the process! Gnarly, snarly mess! I was able to salvage it but jeez . . .

  16. I recently made a cardigan for myself but it was too big so I spent two evenings unpicking and ripping back to yarn (silk and alpaca also astonishingly) But you know I also think that everything I make is for me even though most of it gets sold or given away or even just packed away somewhere…… I love the process of creating for its own sake and have little interest in the piece once its finished. I do have one painting on my livingroom wall. Oh, and I made a crochet blanket for myself last year because the yarn was gifted to me by the Snail of Happiness. It is beautiful and I love it! So yes, I have and do. Good question! And I love your shawl, it is beautiful and I can imagine it is wonderful to wear.

    • “I love the process of creating for its own sake and have little interest in the piece once its finished.”–This could’ve been me, writing this. It says exactly how I feel most of the time. I do hope you re-make your cardigan, though–that fiber combination is so nice to wear!

  17. Let me add to the chorus of wonder….it is beautiful Kerry. If only the internet was tactile, then I would know how beautiful it felt. I believe too that you should wear it whenever and wherever. keep it handy to throw around your shoulders when you need the extra warmth ~ and a cuddle! My blue linen dress was the last thing I made for me. It was such a success that I am getting organised to make something else, just for me.

    • The shawl really does have a lovely feel–so soft and light. I will try to take the good advice you all give and wear it often. And when I see things like your blue linen dress, it makes me wish I could sew . . . .

  18. this is simply gorgeous and will go with your jeans/denim wardrobe so well ^^
    I do clothes making for myself, but nothing very tricky – I just make simple clothes for pottering around the house & garden in bright colours that always make me smile ^^

    • Thanks, Claire–it does fit my wardrobe, that’s true! And I am always impressed with people who can sew well enough to make wearable clothes, and even better if the clothes make them smile!

  19. What a beautiful job you did! I love everything about it. I’m curious, though, as to what the challenging bits were in weaving it, since I’ve been planning to do a plaited twill for my next project. Also, two pounds of wool, yowza. I wouldn’t have expected it to eat up quite that much.

    • Thanks, Brenda! It really wasn’t that challenging a pattern. The only thing that threw me, for a bit, was that the threading was on 8 shafts and I assumed the treading would be the same as the threading. But there was a 9th treadle and it made all the difference! And now that you say that about the amount of yarn . . . I used two cones of alpaca/silk I bought at Webs but now I’m thinking they were 8 oz. cones. I hope you’ll do a post about your weaving!

  20. I love that shawl! Wrap it on top of the sweaters and jeans and wear it daily!

    I often knit for myself, but the last oneI did was also a shawl – light gray and charcoal gray. I love it!

  21. I love the colours! I also love the plaited twill weave; I don’t think I’ve seen anything like it before. I do wear shawls and pashminas as I get cold easily (especially the tops of my arms) but only when I’m out or reading or on-line. I have tried wearing them working round the house but they inevitably get in the way and I resort to my old fleece jackets.
    I can’t remember the last time I made something for just me; probably before I got married to Richard! I love gardening and have made gardens for me but recently, through lack of time I’ve had to abandon flowerbeds. I live in hope that things will improve soon.
    Do wear your shawl as often as you can! That special buzz we get when we wear something that makes us look and feel good is something we older ladies need to experience as often as possible!

    • Oh, I agree–I could never wear a shawl when I was trying to get things done around the house–it would drag through everything and just be a nuisance. Your gardening was a nice thing you did for yourself–maybe now that you’ve gotten the big work under control you can enjoy them again? And maybe it’s time for a nice quiet craft you can work at, while sitting in the garden?

  22. Hi! Beautiful shawl! No doubt you not only felt like a queen wearing it, but also looked the part! That’s a great question though, as I always give away or sell my Handwovens as gifts, also like you I only keep the ones I with errors. We deserve better!

  23. Beautiful – enjoy wearing your own creation with pride! Alpaca and silk together must feel heavenly. The pattern is impressive; did it take a long time to weave?
    As you know, I make for myself all the time. I love the coziness of handling yarn in the winter, and just finished knitting myself a scarf.

    • As always, the most time-consuming aspect of weaving is winding the warp and dressing the loom. The actual weaving doesn’t take all that long–a few days. It’s hard to say because I never just sit down and weave a whole thing–I do an hour here and there. And, yes, you are good at being good to yourself!

  24. That truly is stunning – you are gifted, Kerry. We share an affinity for the same color schemes. I have many pieces of clothing and also jewelry in those shades. (And my eyeglasses are blue and my 12-year-old dyed my hair a similar blue a few weeks ago 😀 ) That shawl would be perfect with jeans and a turtleneck. Gorgeous. Love that you made something lovely for yourself!

    With my “craft” being cooking, it’s a lot easier to make something nice for myself though it sometimes just means making what I want for a meal. Last night it was Cobb salad – a craving I’ve had. And sometimes it is boneless buffalo wings. Hardly in the same category as your elegant shawl, lol. Well done, my crafty friend.

  25. I love that you’ve made something special and beautiful for yourself, and *bonus* it makes you feel like a queen. Nicely done.

    Let me think….nope, I’ve got nothing. Last several sewing projects were for my sister, cards for friends, crochet blanket for a colleague…oh dear.

  26. Beautiful. . . you have such a wonderful sense of design and colors. Now that you have this beautiful shawl, you should think of some fun places to wear it. It’s too pretty to languish in a drawer or closet.

  27. I am delighted to read your blogs. I would love to start weaving; your shawl is gorgeous. If it were mine, I would wear it with my blue jeans AND my church dresses.

    • Thanks, Laura Kate! I always said I was never going to take up weaving, because I had too many hobbies already. Little did I know, it would become *the* hobby I love the best!

  28. Pingback: My Weaving Ways (Winter 2019) | Love Those "Hands at Home"

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