Thursday, May 30, 2013

Shawl progress: care for the caregiver

The mystery KAL shawl I'm knitting is moving very very slowly, but I don't mind (much).  I don't like to show too many pictures of what it looks like since it is, after all, a mystery... but really I'm so far behind everybody else at this point it probably doesn't matter. 

I only did the minimum number of repeats of the stitch for the second clue, which produces a very pretty offset leaf motif.  Some people were doing two or three times as much (and were ready for the next clue the day it was published, not that I'm bitter.)

What I noticed about the repeats I did do, however, was illuminating: when you knit just one full sequence of a stitch like this, you can't see it.  You have to do it many, many times to appreciate how it interlocks and builds into something that matters.  Even unblocked like this, you can see the dips and elevations in the pattern and it's their repetition that produces the viewer's reaction.

I think life is like this, at least where small ordinary things are concerned, and when we're not in a 'can't see the forest for the trees' mindset.  The things we do once, may very well be nice and appealing and memorable.  But the things we do over and over - they imprint on our minds and become routine.  We come to rely on them, because we know that when we do them next we will get the same result, and for the most part we humans crave that kind of security.

When I heard about this knitalong I resisted joining, not least because I had no idea what I'd do with yet another shawl.  But very soon in I knew I was knitting it for a close friend who paints landscapes and loves purple.  This colourway, called Boreal and shifting from purple to browns to greens and back again, couldn't be more perfect for her.  And the shawl, with this repetitive, organic feeling, is also perfect.

I should be knitting it for somebody else - I think I alluded to this when I cast it on at first.  Somebody she loves a lot, and who I also know, though not well, is facing a long period of treatment for something challenging to cure.  I should be knitting this shawl for her, but my gut feeling is that my friend could use some support too.  She's not a primary caregiver, but she's up there, and that's a tough job.

I mention it because this situation is the same kind of pattern repeat we use in a shawl, isn't it.  Somebody is hurting, and we do something to show our love and support.  When we can't make the problem go away, we can turn back to our predictable secure routines for comfort - comfort for us, comfort for the people we love.

(and isn't it great when those routines are entirely calorie free??)

Hope you're able to enjoy some happy routines today, and I hope I see you tomorrow - one of the happiest routines I have.

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