During the last stages of finishing my Evenstar shawl, I’ve found myself having to answer this question: How do you finish knitting something for someone who has died?

When I signed up for the Evenstar Knitalong by Sunflower Designs, I gave the project very little forethought. Lord of the Rings? Lace? Circular shawl? I’m in. When I found the eminently affordable Jojoland Harmony to knit it in, the deal was sealed. I named it Undómiel and cast on.

It was a mystery knit-along, so I didn’t know what the final product would look like; I didn’t even know the designer by reputation to know if I’d invested a bit of money and a LOT of time in an heirloom masterpiece or some forgettable modernist crap. As I’ve said before, I am more of a project knitter than a process knitter, and this much blind faith in a project was rather unprecedented.

It didn’t even occur to me to ask myself who the shawl would be for until I was well into it. Once I did think about it, I had this odd feeling that… it wasn’t for me. So as I continued, I started to look for a potential recipient. Someone who might enjoy something this unusual. Someone who would appreciate it for even a fraction of the effort that went into it. Someone who would have occasion to use it. A few possibilities came up, but nothing solidified.

The process of making this shawl was delightful. I tried my best to keep up with the clues, but whether I succeeded or not, I didn’t look at anyone else’s work before I was done my clue. The surprise of seeing each shape form was a new experience; thrilling, even, in a very slow sort of way. And more things were born in the process than just a shawl – The beginnings of the project were the beginnings of a friendship, when Jonica and I discovered we were on this journey together.

Then, in May, everything changed. A new person came into my life very unexpectedly, and suddenly I knew. The shawl would be for her. Maybe she would love it, maybe she’d never use it after the day she received it, but it didn’t matter to me. She was worth it, and it was hers.

Then a month after she came into my life, about halfway around the border of her shawl… she passed away. And there I was, with a nearly finished shawl, knowing in my heart of hearts who it was for, and knowing she would never see it.

So I slogged on, a less exultant about the passing beaded repeats. Knitting through a broken heart, knitting through the grief, wondering how to heal from such a quick and unexpected joy and loss, and not knowing what I would do with this shawl, probably the most beautiful thing I’d ever made.

Now that it’s finished, it’s everything I hoped it would be, and I am proud of it. But my heart is too much in it to give it away to anyone else now. So I will wear it a few times, then wrap it in acid-free tissue paper, put it in the bottom of my cedar chest, and save it to wrap about my firstborn baby girl. It’ll be a gift… from her mom, and from her big sister.

15 thoughts on “Over

  1. *disclaimer*: yes of course it was way too early to know gender. but both Jared & I had a strong feeling it was a girl. We’ll never know, so we’d rather pick one than refer to our baby as “it” forever.


  2. aw, Rebecca. What a beautiful, beautiful post. I’d had an inkling you were pregnant a little bit ago. I’ll be praying for you, that your pain and sadness heal and that you find a new joy to fill you up.


  3. Rebbie,

    your shawl is beautiful! I know we have become friends thorugh this KAL. It is not always easy to do something like this. I know I shared a story with you about what I have went through. The loss of mine is still felt and I have several that are in the cedar chest wrapped up for them. So I do understand the feeling. It gets a bit better. HUGS!

    Now, I only have 19 more repeats to go!


  4. BIG HUG. I’m praying for you and Jared, and I’m so sorry. The shawl is beautiful. Thank you for being so open and sharing with all of us. Love from Switzerland, Tina


  5. Rebecca: Tina Lockett sent me this link to read. I’m a current (second time around) student at TSM. I, too, recently had a miscarriage (3rd one)….This post really spoke to my heart…not only the beauty of the words and the composition, but the openness you have about your loss. The Shawl is beautiful, really beautiful.

    Again, thank you so much for sharing.


  6. I’m so sorry to hear about your and Jared’s loss… That shawl is amazing. It’s like you’re wearing a rainbow. A sparkly, lacy, intricately evanescent rainbow. And this post is amazing too. I just wish they didn’t have to come from such sadness.


  7. The subjects in this post are delicate ones; I’m so sorry you had to experience so much grief and loss so close together. I think, though, that in a way your care and love will somehow seep through to the wearing of the shawl–that this object (beautiful and wondrous by your skill) was made and held with a love that God will not ignore. May it be blessed to bless others.


  8. I am so sorry for your loss, but moved by your heartfelt words & honored to have my design be part of your story. We never know how or when we will touch another soul. I hope your knitting brings you peace in the process and joy of creation.

    I have every faith that God is with your family: you, Jared and the baby that grew within for too brief a time yet lives on always within your hearts. I will hold you in the light and wait for an email from you, telling me the shawl has come out of storage to be wrapped around your new little love.

    God bless & keep you all…


  9. I just started my shawl. I was waiting until I retired to begin it. I knew it was a special shawl. After reading your story I now know I was right. You shawl is beautiful. I love the colors.


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