Tuesday, April 10, 2007

New Header Banner

I created this today:

The picture is my first prayer shawl, though technically it's a "lap blanket." I made it about two years ago. I was going through a very self-centered time in my life, having just gone through a very painful ending in a relationship. The church had just started a "Prayer Shawl Ministry" and I needed something to do with myself to fill up empty moments. I knew how to knit (though was only very much a beginner--I knit my stitches through the back), and so I joined. I couldn't even think of anyone to knit for, I was so full of myself. I picked purple yarn because purple is my favorite color, and the favorite color of my ex-boyfriend, so it symbolized a lot of my pain. I did pray while I knit it, and I cried a lot. After about the first skein of Lion Brand Homespun (it took 3 on size 13 needles, 87 stitches across) I began to think about who I could give the shawl to, beginning to feel a change in myself. And, ironically, the shawl belonged to my ex-boyfriend's grandmother, Mimi.

Mimi was a red hat lady, and I knew that the shawl belonged with her. When I'd finished, I had a friend crochet a red scallop border around the shawl. I gave it to her with a new feeling of wholeness and completion. It was like an ending to that chapter in my life.

Chapters don't really end in life, though. About a year later, Mimi died suddenly. (She fell in the yarn isle at a craft store, broke her hip, and died... but that's another story.) I was enlisted to care for her mentally retarded son because of my many interests and experiences in special needs adults. I went to her funeral. She was a wonderful, truly unique person and so was her funeral. Red hats and purple clothing reined. The family used my blanket to cover the table with her pictures on it. After the funeral, no one wanted the blanket I had made, so it was given back to me.

I am not friendly with my ex-boyfried (he is now happily married and expecting his first child), but I have Mimi's blanket. I have the memory of creating this first well-done knitted object and of joining the world again with me, to wrap around me. So it seemed only fitting to put it in the background of my banner. My first knitted object. The beginning of a new life, and the end of an old one.

And that's another great thing about knitting. Right now I am using the blanket to keep myself warm (the cat loves to knead the knitting with her paws, too), and it is a part of my roommate and my daily life. But it also symbolizes so many things. So many kinds of love and pain and healing. So I had to share why it is on my banner. And why I knit: because of the prayer shawl ministry, because of the color purple, because of Mimi the Red Hat Lady.

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