Dear Mother-of-God. I. Am. Done.

It took a dogged persistence and a weekend of focus, but I managed to get fracture complete before my friend arrived for the conference.

I’m not sure why this was such torture for me. The pattern is easy to follow; the size isn’t so overwhelming that I was afraid the end would never come; the yarn is luscious to the touch. And yet… I was glad to weave in the ends of this one.

It’s interesting; it has some components of Westknit’s Clockwork, but more broken up and really, more delicate. If you’ll recall, this is the shawl for my friend, Goodwitch. She fell in love with the yarn and the colors when we were yarnhopping in Austin (actually, only about 15 minutes from her home. Who knew?) and just thought the piece was light and lovely. She loved the colors because they reminded her of the beach. I loved the color names for what they said about the piece: “Cedar — I am grateful for the wisdom of my ancestors” and “Peace Within — I remind myself that peace is found within.” I thought they were so very calming, and the silk/wool blend was just perfect to give a friend who lives in the middle of Texas. I started knitting this as a thank you for her wonderful hospitality time and time again but, in an odd turn of fate, Glenda’s father passed shortly thereafter, and I was struck about the added significance of the Cedar color in providing some comfort for her dad’s passing.

Memorial Day weekend, I realized I needed to make some serious progress on this project if it was going to be done in time for Goodwitch’s arrival, so I put in a lot of time over the holiday weekend. Finished the first set of stripes, the second full block of blue, and the first full pattern block. For some reason, I had an extraordinarily hard time switching to the pattern; somewhere I’d lost 2 stitches, so I had to incorporate them somewhere inconspicuous, which meant frogging several rows, tinking down, and reknitting. Finally I made it back on track, and finally made it to the point where I’m noticing that the rows are considerably shorter than they were, and that makes me happy as well. As I continued up the shawl, I I substituted shorter cords on my circulars.

A note about myself: not really sure I love the bottom up idea. Not in shawls, not in sweaters, not really in anything having to do with knitting. I think it’s because if something goes wrong and the unthinkable happens and you run out of yarn, you are suddenly up shit creak without a paddle or a skein to save your life. I would much rather do top down knowing that my rows were getting longer at the end, but that if I had to, I could end early, or camouflage my error as a decorative border.

I was a tad concerned that this was not gonna be big enough. Until I blocked it (last minute, of course–in fact, about 10 hours before I was going to see her). ZOMGBBQWTF. Thank god I only made a small!

As you can see from the picture, it blocked out bigger than my dining room table. Seriously. And that magical question, as always, is “How does soaking fibers and then stretching them out to dry end up making a deliciously soft finished object?” The world may never know. But what I do know is that the tumultuousness of the emotions that ran across her face when I presented her with this scarf, and explained it’s significance, was beautiful and overwhelming and raw and real. And to know that something I’ve made can cause such an effect on the recipient is an amazing experience, and it is well worth the love, time, and effort put into it. If I only see that effect once in my life, it is enough.

Love to you, Glenda. May you wear it and remember your father with love.

I love the holidays. We don’t travel like other families do, and I am secretly glad for this. TheCop put his foot down years ago when our daughter was born and he couldn’t handle loading up our small car with baby stuff, holiday stuff, packing stuff, a new baby and an under-slept, over-caffeinated wife just so we could drive to a location where he then couldn’t relax for a week. Instead, we stay home and create our own family traditions. This made great sense with each new kid added to the mix. It’s probably one of the few things TheCop has ever put his foot down about and with which I wordlessly went along.

That doesn’t mean company isn’t welcome to visit. On the contrary; I love cooking for lots of people, and holidays are one of the few times I get to do the June Cleaver domestic kitchen goddess thing (just don’t look at the rest of the house). This year my sister TheProgrammer came for Thanksgiving, bringing her newly minted fiance with her. These are two of my favorite people in the world. We have a lovely time together and I cannot refuse her anything. When I went out to stay with her when she had hip surgery a couple of years ago, she wanted to learn to knit, and I came prepared. She can cast on like nobody’s business but, by the third row, her stitches are so tight she literally cannot get her needle through the stitch. It’s practically a gift, that, because now I feel sorry for her. While I was there I made her a cropped red cardigan and, for her birthday, I introduced her to one of Portland’s lovely yarn stores, Knit Purl, and had her pick out Noro that I would transform into the classic striped Noro scarf.

You get the idea.

So during a few hours on Thanksgiving where I wasn’t cooking, we went downstairs and I let my sister shop in my yarnporn stash for her next project. I wasn’t terribly worried about her wanting something I didn’t want to give her — she fell in love with a new fibre or color every third skein. (I told you we were related.) But then I started showing her some finished objects, and that was the beginning of my downfall. She wanted to see my cream tweedish jacket I had been working on that she’d heard so much about. That was my first mistake. She loved it and now wants one of her own. Hmmm. Well, okay, but let’s redirect her to smaller projects that can be easily finished, shall we?  I thought she might like a hat next, so I brought out several for her to try on.

That was my second mistake.

She tried on my Rose Brown (Rose Red but in, well, brown) and fell in love with it. Totally, absolutely, completely in love with it. Cool! Because I happen to have another skein of ultra alpaca and can match it exactly. And then came the words a knitter dreads:

“Oh, so can I have this one then?”

What the what!??!? My second project ever! And then the horror of it all: I heard myself say, “Sure.”

What the what!??!?

And then I realized why knitters are the way we are. Our finished objects are nice, and beautiful, and finished, but they are so much better when they’re given with love. And that, ladies and gentle knitters, is why we find ourselves up at all hours trying to finish holiday WIPs as the hours draw us closer to those gift exchanges we’re not quite yet ready for, our knitting traveling everywhere with us, just trying to manage a few rows here and there. I think it’s why we do what we do. Even when we don’t realize we’re doing it. It’s all about the love.

Tis the season.