Behind the Design – Rachel’s Tears

Out of all the patterns I have designed so far, Rachel’s Tears has the most of my heart and soul packed into it.

The name of this pattern came from two places. The first is from an Anglican service in a little booklet called Liturgies and Prayers Related to Childbearing, Childbirth, and Loss; the service is called “Hannah’s Hope, Rachel’s Tears.” Jared led us through it when we lost our first. I don’t think I could do it again, but it meant a great deal to me then, and it is perfect for those who are responding with sadness instead of anger.

The second namesake is my friend, Rachel. This beautiful human being has been a best friend over long distance for years, and we still keep our weekly skype dates. Rachel struggles with chronic physical pain. She’s no perfect saint, but watching her grow through what she’s been through has been a humbling encouragement for me. Rachel wears headscarves to church, so when I was deciding on a pattern for Lent, it made perfect sense to design a headscarf and name it after her.

This pattern starts with the narrow band of zig-zagging, faggotted lace. I struggled for about four feet of swatching until I found the right way to capture the look I was going for, then added the matte red beads. If you choose to wear it as a headscarf, this portion will lay across the forehead. I don’t think I need to explain the symbolism here aside from pointing out that the relevant portion of the pattern is the “thorn chart.”

After this band is completed, you pick up along one side and knit outwards in a deeply-textured leaf pattern – the growth that comes out of suffering. The points are finished individually, but without cutting the yarn – you will only have four ends to weave in at the scarf’s conclusion.

You can wear the scarf on your head, fastened in the back with a half-knot, a shawl pin, or a barrette. It also works as a decorative scarf, that you could of course make longer with more yarn.

Speaking of yarn, Dream in Color’s “Smooshy with Cashmere” is a dream indeed. The cashmere/merino/nylon blend takes dye more richly than any of the other Smooshy yarns I’ve seen, and I’m a sucker for pretty purples.

This is a quick and engaging knit; it flew off my needles in a week in the early winter, and both of my excellent test knitters enjoyed it. As usual, I’ve included both charts and written directions. The pattern is part of the Liturgical Year series, and is available for individual purchase on ravelry.

2 thoughts on “Behind the Design – Rachel’s Tears

  1. I’m so sorry for your loss Rebecca. I know you’ve mentioned a difficult time. May God bless you. Your work is beautiful and I’m sure your business will take off because of it.

    Kathy in Ohio


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