Poor Max woke up feeling sick yesterday. He spent a good portion of the day sleeping and resting, drinking water and orange juice, and just generally feeling a little puny.
At one point when I peeked in on him, I found that he had taken the feather and fan comfort shawl that I knit while I was pregnant with him and had wrapped himself up in it. My heart melted. I love that shawl.
Now, this shawl isn't really special, at first glance. In fact, outside of my family, no one else would probably fall in love with it in the same way. The shawl is made from a simple pattern, knit with cheap yarn that was purchased second-hand for practically pennies at a yard sale, and if you look closely at the hand-knit fabric, you will see that it is full of a beginner's mistakes and twisted stitches.
What makes this humble shawl special is the story behind it: the reason why I was knitting it, and the true comfort it brought to me during that painful, uncertain time of life.
I knit this in 2005, the year that my father-in-law passed away from lung cancer. I was pregnant with Max at the time and had been having some complications with the pregnancy. It was a scary, emotional, roller coaster phase of life.
The shawl was easy, mindless knitting that I could use to distract myself. It felt good to watch the shawl grow and change and to see how all the colors of this yarn, various acrylic blends in shades of blues and greens that were rather ugly on their own, interplayed and become something pretty once blended together.
This was my first real “knitting as therapy” project. This was also my first non-scarf, non-blanket project, so I liked it for that reason, as well.
I love this shawl, and I love seeing how Max is drawn to it, too. I like to think that the love and prayers I put into every stitch are living within the shawl, wrapping up my son as his Grandfather looks down and watches over him.
Yes, sometimes I knit to relieve stress or boredom, but there are other reasons to knit. I knit because of the comfort that it brings to me and the comfort that my knitted items bring to my family. I like to see those I love wearing and using the things that I make.
Knitting is a way to show love but it is also a way to solidify precious memories, one stitch at at time, and a gentle reminder that beautiful things can come from humble, even painful, seasons of life.
Pattern: Feather and Fan Comfort Shawl by Sarah Bradberry