Monday, 15 April 2013

Bringing Back the Parasol

Summer is on its way, and with it, the inevitable heat and glaring sunlight. I can't begin to tell you how I dread it. I'm a cold weather person. I sunburn with heart-rending ease and my temperament, which is irritable at the best of times, can only be described as borderline postal during heatwaves.

Every summer I vow to singlehandedly bring back the parasol in order to provide myself with some relief from the sun, but every summer I fail to find one that looks anything that I could even pretend to be trendsetting. The only parasols available seem to be the white, frou-frou, lacy kind that are meant to be carried as a bridal accessory, or the paper and bamboo kind you find in Chinatown, and I'm neither a bride nor Asian. The lacy ones, besides being wildly mismatched to my completely non-lacy wardrobe, don't even look like they'd provide much protection from the sun, and with my luck, the Chinese characters on the paper parasols probably read something along the lines of, "This stupid white person doesn't know what her parasol says." The parasol, like any other accessory, does need to bear some relation to the other items one is wearing and carrying, and to one's lifestyle, if it's not to look ridiculous. I need something I can carry when I'm wearing clothes made from jersey, khaki, and denim.

But as always when I can't buy a suitable version of something I want, I start wondering whether I can possibly make it myself. Then I google the matter and find out. I found the beautiful lace parasol above, made by Maiya Mayhem from a heavily modified crochet pattern. It's a wonderful piece of work, but it looks more decorative than functional to me, and it is a little too ornate to go with my casual summer clothes.

Then I found this one, by blogger Mrs. Fife, who has generously shared her project notes on the project's page on Ravelry. Unfortunately, as incredibly impressed as I am with her work, again this parasol won't provide a lot of protection from the sun and is too lacy. And I could post more exquisitely knitted lace parasols, but I'm sure you get the point, and if you are here to look for a knitted lace parasol pattern for your wedding, have probably already found one. I think I'll skip to the one practical parasol pattern I found.

I very much like this parasol, which is a Knitty design from Spring 2007. It should provide decent shade and sunburn protection. It's simple yet polished in style, and, if made in a neutral colour, will complement my clothes and other accessories. Perhaps most importantly, it won't make me feel like some absurdist theatre version of Scarlett O'Hara (it's not like I even get what people admire in the original). I think I shall begin keeping an eye out for a vintage parasol frame that is worthy of this pattern. I am already dreaming of being able to walk outside in July without getting black spots in front of my eyes. And — dare I hope? — of fewer scoldings from my dermatologist. Sad little dreams, I know, but they are mine.

1 comment:

  1. Love the idea of a knitted parasol! Thanks for this.
    Was walking in the park last summer with a paper parasol - a little girl asked her mum 'Why has that lady got an umbrella up when it's not raining?'