Having left my trusty sewing machine behind in Germany, my fingers began itching to MAKE something soon after I arrived in Amsterdam and I urgently needed some craft project to occupy myself. Sewing by hand was not an option, as I simply lack the patience for that and I would still have needed too much equipment.
Well, knitting it was then - I did know at least the basics, although so far I had only been able to knit socks (which I had actually been taught over the phone) and didn't know any terminology for anything I'd been doing, let alone was able to read knitting patterns. And there's only so many socks that I need anyway, time to expand my knowledge!
Off to the nearest yarn store I went, which was was in this case Penelope's Craft Boutique, where the friendly owner recommended a pattern for beginners like me and helped me pick the right needles and yarn for it.
I ended up with the Herbivore Shawl by Stephen West, who is apparently quite known in the knitting-scene and is living here in Amsterdam, and some Madelinetosh Light Merino in the colour "Flashdance" (why, of course I'm doing my experimental first real knitting project with an expensive yarn! *rolleyes*)
In the beginning there was a lot of cursing, unravelling und tutorial-video-watching involved, until I had gotten the hang of it and was able to knit away happily and frustration-free. Also, thanks again to my friend Nadja, who was there to help me in my initial confusion over knitting, purling and back loops!
All in all it took me around 2 weeks to finish, mostly while binge-watching Veronica Mars. Once finished, I first attributed it to my lack in skills and experience that it did not look as smooth and even as the sample piece in the shop - until a wise person told me, that it still needed to be blocked. For those who are as unfamiliar with the term blocking as I was until a few days ago: This involves gently washing the knitted piece, then stretching and fixing it into the desired form and letting it dry over night.