Over the past month, I've taken on the adventure of knitting a shawl. A serendipitous find that fell right into place. It's for my Mom. Her birthday is today, and although it won't be finished in time, it already feels like her. I never expected to knit a shawl. Ever. As I perused patterns, they always seemed entirely too intricate with a weight too akin to lace for my tastes, or patience, if I'm being honest. But of course, a Brontë would lead me to it, and inspired by a novel, I can endeavor most challenges.
Over the last month, I've come to realize that yarn and color choice are very important in a shawl. With memories and affections twined in each stitch, the time it takes is roused by the feeling of silky yarn with a striking shade, solid or gradient. If you imbue the entire experience with feeling before hand, it serves as great incentive to carry it through. Whether it's thoughts of your own Autumn adventures, how the color or pattern will bring a little portable magic to the person you're giving it to, a practical need to keep warm during the winter months, or a new way to present the "something old" of bygone romance during a wedding.
Shawls seem to carry with them a great deal of romance. Whilst knitting mine, I've been reading (and watching--swooning--over Richard Armitage) North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell, watching Jane Eyre, and writing a story set within the 19th Century, pondering the significance of this accessory in the time period. Shawls stand out to me as both practical and delicately feminine, able to keep one warm, whilst adding a touch of elegance to your daily wardrobe. Many seem to take on the ethereal quality of a butterfly's wing, as if it could tear with the slightest of grazings. I hold the musing that I would be draping historical romance over my shoulders.
Knitting prayers and well wishes for my mom into this shawl, I noted that this most feels like I'm knitting something weighted with significance. It feels like a heirloom, especially now that it's more tangible than a few rows of stitches. Like I'm united with generations of women knitting these to keep their girls warm, to adorn a new bride or mother, a small luxury from fibers spun by hand.
I've decided to knit a wedding shawl for myself one day. Sooner rather than later. It seems the kind of thing you knit your dreams into.