I am blessed to know fantastic women. Smart women. Funny women. Talented women. Above all, generous women.
I don’t know all of them as well as I would like. In some cases, I simply know they are wonderful.
This story starts with L. We have moved in parallel circles for many years, but we are barely acquainted. Nonetheless, her recent cancer diagnosis caused me great sadness. Word that she was leaving nothing to time and toxic medication, and instead, shaving her head clean of her long dark hair added to the shock. I wanted to do something for this woman I hardly know, but it needed to be something worth doing.
Which brings me to Jane. She is one of those very special women. Being around Jane is like finding instant calm ~ instant transportation to a warm hearth somewhere you’ve not been to, but know you like very much to sit ’round. Jane fought cancer and won. She is comfortable discussing it on her blog and with others. So I asked her, “What can I make? What did you get, or wish you had, that made things one bit better?”
Jane told me of a cashmere cap knitted for her by Jennifer. “It’s something no one thinks of – when you go to sleep at night, your head is exposed, and it’s cold. I wore it to sleep, and around the house. I still wear it.” That cashmere hat is one of Jane’s most prized possessions, made for her with love from one of nature’s warmest and softest fibers by the hands of a friend who dyed it, too.
Of course, there was perfect symmetry in Jennifer having made it. My good friend always overwhelms me by simply thinking of me, not to mention the unexpected gestures, big and small, that come my way from her Virginia home where Spirit Trail Fiberworks is located. She does this while managing her business and raising two outstanding young people. (Small wonder I stay up into the owl hours to finish booth samples for her.)
So I knew what to make. Next, what yarn to use?
A harder question than it might seem, given that there are many colors one would not choose for a person who is not well. Of course, one of the advantages of having a *cough cough* virtual yarn shop in your
house is that there’s plenty to shop from. Which is where Luann comes in. The skein of Great Northern Yarn Chamonix (color is true in project photo, not skein) was my “sherpa reward” for driving some of her stash to the Knitter’s Review Retreat last year. Using yarn from the older sister I never had whose life and mine have been intertwined in more ways than coincidence could explain just fit.
The pattern marriage was simple: Daisy Hat by Irina Dmitrieva. The pattern is written for a worsted-weight yarn on small needles. I was knitting for a not-petite person, but one with no hair. A head with no hair is far smaller than one with hair.
So I improvised.
The Chamonix – 70% mink, 30% cashmere – lacked much of anything in the way of natural elasticity. It is a DK weight. So I made the large size using this finer yarn and took the needles down to a US 1 and US 2 Addi Turbo. It pretty much knitted itself while I got out of the way. And after a bath, it softened and fluffed up just like Clara said it would.
Within a week of receiving her hat, L. was wearing it to work. In addition to the most lovely note, she called me. She talked about how good it felt. The Yarn Goddess apparently smiled on the endeavor: my improvisation fit as if it was bespoken.
I asked if she’d like another.
It’ll be finished in the next day or so.
All because I know fantastic women.