“Spring drew on . . . and a greenness grew over those brown beds, which, freshening daily, suggested the thought that Hope traversed them at night, and left each morning brighter traces of her steps.”
― Charlotte Brontë, Jane Eyre
Since my last post, I have been busy picking up pieces, tying up loose ends, and attempting to begin life as a very different person. At the end of last month, nearly six months to the day that my son died, my mother passed away. Loss and trauma have radically transformed me. In some ways, I find myself calmer and possessed of a deeper spirituality and a greater appreciation for natural beauty, but, sometimes, out of the blue, I am blindsided by grief and uneasiness about what catastrophe lurks around the corner, and it is at those moments that I realize that I am in some ways more fragile than in the past, although few people might recognize this fact as this trait is hidden under a veneer of busyness and business as usual. Thankfully, though, knitting, designing, and gardening have been sources of comfort to me (perhaps there may be some truth to the cliche´ that artists and creative types are tormented souls). While in the aftermath of recent losses, I approach mundane tasks such as cleaning the bathroom or filing bills with a sense of dread—and often procrastinate in executing these matters—I seem to eagerly, and sometimes obsessively, work on my yarn-related endeavors or dig in my garden.
One of the latest design projects is my “South of Broad” shawl, inspired by a trip I took to the Charleston area in February of this year. I went alone on this get-away, one where I basked in the sun on days that were unseasonably warm (suitable for shorts and sleeveless tops). While I spent most of my time on the beach, I did make a foray into Charleston, where I leisurely meandered through the historic district located south of Broad Street. The area South of Broad is considered to be quite posh—a cut above its northern neighbors. I named my shawl South of Broad not due to any sort of snobbery, however, but because I’d wanted to create an accessory that was, like the hidden gardens, trailing Spanish moss, and pastel-colored anti-bellum mansions found South of Broad, romantic and elegant. I also thought the name suited a shawl that eschews modern asymmetrical, and multidirectional design.
|Even in February, flowers were in bloom during my visit to Charleston.
|Loropetalum, or Chinese fringe flower, has such cheerful, fluffy blossoms.
|I love romantic lace.
|One day, I will go on a garden tour of Charleston, so I can visit these hidden spaces.
|Here's South of Broad in a more rustic setting.
The shawl is made with two skeins of fingering weight yarn from Delicious Yarns. If you aren’t familiar with this company and its products, you’re in for a treat—albeit not a tasty one but most definitely one that satisfies a knitter’s appetite for colorful and engaging fibers. Delicious Yarns plays on the food concept with its clever names for its products—such as Sprinkles, Frosting, and Sweets—and its delightful staging of its products to look delectably edible. Be sure to check out the clever photography on the Delicious Yarns website.
I’ve also recently completed designing an asymmetrical triangle shawl, a shape that is definitely au courant. I designed this project to highlight some beautiful Gershubie yarn. This yarn was hand-dyed to celebrate the 13th anniversary of my local shop, Cottage Yarn, so the design will be posted on Ravelry on April 21, the day of the anniversary celebration (and also Local Yarn Shop Day). I am also in the throes of designing another shawl with an interesting construction, one that begins with a square that is knit from the center out, with triangles radiating from each side. A lace border will be picked up around the bottom.
|This asymmetrical triangle shawl is over 100" along the top edge. It wraps nicely, though.
I took time out the other day to visit Daniel Stowe Botanical Gardens in Belmont, NC. The early spring flowers on the grounds and the lush orchids in the conservatory inspired me to think about bright colors for future projects, although I will probably be finishing up these designs and knitting them in the heat of the summer. It seems that each new season brings the gift of its unique beauty which works as an impetus to creativity, but this blessing is bittersweet, as each season also brings forth memories of loved ones and a keen awareness of how time and life continue, heedless of our losses.
|This bromeliad was growing in the orchid conservatory, as were the air plants below.
|These snowball trees were so fresh and white. I have to plant one in my yard.
|The conservatory is so peaceful.