Cherylcan's Blog

Life and Literature

Persistence Pays Off

Earlier this year, I tagged along with my husband on a work trip to Halifax, Nova Scotia. One day, while he worked, I took the ferry to Dartmouth Yarns. That was my only destination, even though I knew it was crochet day (and I cannot do that). I wanted to get the materials for a prayer shawl for a close friend’s mom who is battling illness. Knitting a prayer shawl is a spiritual practice, before you begin knitting , a blessing, prayer or wish is, dedicating the work of your hands and the intentions of the receiver.  You play soft music to enhance your knitting time, remembering that this is a reflective time, and think calming and healing thoughts.  Essentially, you transfer your prayers, energy and good wishes for the person into the creation of the piece. I wanted to pick something relatively simple (I believed cursing the pattern is not healing) but unique.


They had lots of beautiful shawls displayed around the store. I decided to try the Arpeggio (or broken chord) by Ilga Leja, a local NS designer. I also picked Fleece Artist wooly silk in an amethyst colour, from across the room. I loved the soft silkiness of the wool and silk combination. Medieval European soldiers wore amethyst amulets as protection in battle in the belief that amethysts heal people (from “The Curious Lore of Precious Stones“). For the main color,  I matched the pink in wooly silk ball, the only ball in the store that matched was the Halo (75% wool and 25% heard Angora) yarn. It was so soft and felt that it would warm her without being too itchy or heavy. I was ambitious enough to use the store swift and ball winder, so I could start as soon as I got back to the hotel. I was so excited on the ferry back that I almost got it out to start it right there.

I had a number of false starts, even frogged the shawl once. It is all knitting so I thought it would be easy but the technique uses lots of short rows to make the shawl drape properly. For some reason, I had a really hard time getting my head around how to do them. At one point I even started a different pattern but I could not get up on the Arpeggio. Last weekend I gave it one more try, I am so glad I did. I love how it is turning out. The drape of the material and its softness is the perfect combination for creating a healing hug to wrap in.IMG_1226


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