Pacific Northwest Shawl By Evelyn A. Clark. Yarn: Valley Yarns 2/14 Alpaca Silk
This shawl has sentimental value to me for several reasons. I first saw the pattern knit up by one of my college peers as a sample at WEBS. It was one of the most stunning things I had ever seen (having not had much exposure to lace), and on my last visit to Northampton a few years ago, I picked up the yarn and the pattern to make the shawl. This was to be a long-term project, and was my first go at anything beyond a simple lace pattern. However, in the year that followed I couldn't find a good reason to cast on, as I didn't know the right person to fit the shawl.
And then I met her: a bold, striking, intelligent woman who lived on the west coast, who looked like the shawl-wearing type. She also happened to be the mother of my now ex. I loved this woman dearly - we had many frank and wonderful conversations, and she treated me like part of the family. Having finally found the right reason to cast on for the shawl, I began knitting, thinking of giving it to her on a happy occasion somewhere down the road in our relationship.
Did I in some way insult the knitting gods so as to prompt them to smite me? Had I found myself some perverse permutation of the legendary boyfriend sweater curse? No later than four days after I had cast on for the shawl did I receive an email ending my relationship. Darn it. After that email, I just couldn't stop knitting. Counting YO's and k2tog's was so much easier than thinking. The shawl provided a source of comfort and focus during the months that followed when being alone with the thoughts in my head was too hard.
I shall certainly be more wary of knitting for future relationships, having also knit three lovely pairs of man-socks into the cavernous hole of no return. However, when knitting is for some of us one of the strongest ways to say "I care about you", that's easier said than done.
The shawl is still going to the originally intended recipient (it's not her fault things turned out the way they did!). Part of me doesn't want to send it off knowing that I'll never see it again, as it reminds me of those marvelous Northampton days, and because it's been a fixture in my knitting basket for so long. At the same time, it also reminds me of less-good times, and clearing out the closet might just be best.
Now that the shawl is done and blocked (what a cool transformation), I'm itching to start a new lace project. What should it be?