Thursday, October 20, 2011

Shawl story

Finishing my FoxyMaple shawl project was easy compared to writing about it here.

Do you remember how it started - the idea I had to combine my braids of Foxy and Maple fiber from Twisted Fiber Art clubs into one big project so I'd have enough for a shawl?  I was so excited to take on an experiment that right away I could see would work very well and be fun to do.  Several colours were the same, or very similar, in both colourways but each had a few more shades and as I spun my way into July's Tour de Fleece I got to experience them all up close.

I learned so much more about spinning when I made this yarn, too.  It came out bulky like all my newbie yarn does, but pretty consistent in size, which is still a novelty.  The summer had just started and I was enjoying having a cup of tea and then taking my wheel out to a corner of the porch for an hour's spinning and birdsong every morning.

Of course nothing is perfect: while I was enjoying those hours, somebody I love was dying.  I had already designed my Escapist shawl while worrying about that, and because Lannie was worrying too I knew I was going to spin the FoxyMaple and knit it into one of those shawls for her.  I thought about that a lot as I spun, when I wasn't thinking about the chances of getting good news, or at least not the worst news.

And then we did get the worst news.  It came while the Tour was still running, and I shifted the FoxyMaple to a spindle so it could come in the car with me when I left town for the funeral.  It just seemed so important to keep going.  I spun some while sitting with Lannie one evening;  I handed the spindle to her so she could hold it for a while. I didn't have to tell her I was making it for her.  Who else would appreciate everything that was going in to that fiber?

I started the shawl in August, but by the end of the month things were just busy.  You know how it is. I had to set it aside for a while.  I'd work on it sometimes, a row here or there.

The yarn was heavy and light, both at the same time, and the fabric I was getting was so dense.  I was sure the shawl would be too small to be of any use.  When I finally had time to finish it and cast off, I was amazed by how tiny it was, just a little bundle not much bigger than the two braids it came from.

I put off blocking it.  Blocking out something big like this is hard anyway, I find - it takes a lot of time and even more space.  When I finally did get it into its bath and stretched it out it was huge.

See what I had to do?

Yep.  I had to pin the corners to the underside of the mat.

It was all-encompassing, and so full of holes.

I'm sure I don't need to spell out how that brought right back to me all the little losses tied up in that one very big loss.

This shawl and I have been on quite a journey. I hope I never take another one like that, but I'm glad to have something so useful to show for it and I think really, though it's full of sadness, it's also full of beauty and love.  It has an artist's eye for colour from Meg at Twisted, and it's got resourcefulness from me, trying to do something productive to get through a bad time.  It's full of tenacity, and companionship, and warmth.  A lot of warmth.

It felt important to take this one last picture of the shawl on the portable step that Les built, in the corner where I spun the yarn.

I'm ready to let it go now.  I hope Lannie will find comfort in it, but I know one thing for sure:

she is gonna look awesome wrapped up in these colours.

1 comment:

sally anne said...

That shawl is fabulous....Lannie will love it.