My friend Cynthia has been having a rough 2009. Ordinarily, that would mean getting on a bus with the biggest chocolate cake Sheffield has to offer and Being There. Unfortunately she lives a bajillion miles away (which wouldn't stop me, being an I-would-walk-500-miles kind of girl*), and there's the small matter of the Atlantic too. So since I can't get to her to give her hugs & chocolate cake she needs, I needed to make something to do the job for me. After a brief dalliance with the idea of a crocheted 10ft tall Golem (with Emet embroidered in shiny silver thread on its forehead), which was abandoned** in favour of making a shawl.
Shawls are an excellent hug substitute, quick to knit or crochet and can be as complicated or as simple as you like. This is my first shawl, so went for the simplest pattern imaginable, a basic triangular shaped shawl. So what you need to do is go out and find yourself some nice wool. And I mean the fluffiest, cuddliest, snuggliest yarn out there. You can go for something pretty and delicate, something big & chunky, wispy mohair knitted on oversized needles to make something lacy-ish, eyelash yarn to make something big & fuzzy, like if a cavegirl went to a '60's disco. I used Wilkinsons Soft'n'Fluffy fancy yarn in purple, which is more exciting than it sounds, see!
This shawl took 6 50g balls of yarn, though you could use a couple more, or one or two less, depending on how big a shawl you're after. I wanted a BIG shawl
So now you have your yarn, you'll need the appropriate sized needles. Most balls of yarn will tell you the recommended needle size (I used a pair of 8mm needles). Also, you don't need to knit a gauge for this. Yay.
Cast on 3 stitches. When you start the next row, increase 1 stitch. There are lots of different ways to increase stitches, use whatever you're most comfortable with (there's some clear diagrams & information on increases and lots of other knitting info here).
And that's pretty much it! Just knit to the end of the row, turn & increase the first stitch, and knit to the end of the row. So your first knitted row will have 4 stitches, the next will have 5, the next 6 & so on. Just knit & knit & knit until you think it's big enough. Then cast off, weave in the loose threads, stick in an envelope with some chocolate & put in the mail to anyone you love who is is far away but in need of a hug!
*Damn. Now that song is never getting out of my head.
**Partly because, even if I used fluffy purple wool, a gigantic formerly-fluffy-but-soggy-from-the-swim HugMonster may not be all that comforting. More terrifying really. Also, I'm really slow at crochet.