On the Needles : When Socks Transform into Hugs

In part one, I explained why the thought of sending surprise socks was nice but not terribly practical.

So this is what the sock turned in to. 

sunshine shawl for sad people hedgehog fobres

It's The Sunshine Shawl for Sad People and it's a free download on Ravelry. 

Like most projects, I stumbled and fumbled to start with but, as I got going, it was a welcome respite from... life.

easy to knit shawl

While working on this shawl I learned that a cousin of mine was seriously injured and subsequently died. Traveling to his funeral in central Texas I had a toddler with tummy issues. In between the travel, I canceled and re-made the appointment that told me I needed a root canal. 

Shock, loss, frustration, inconvenience, physical pain. All things that life throws at us. All things, that, after a time, feel like incomparable weights.

But the chance to, in part, escape from the hurt, at least for a moment {without the bummer side effects of drugs} was a safe place. It wasn't me hiding from life, but working on it {knit two, yarnover, knit until the end of this row, yarnover, knit, yarnover...} gave me a chance to, momentarily, step away from the negativity. It allowed me the distance to say, "I can do 'Right now.' Keep going."

sunshine shawl picot edge

In addition to all of that, this project was a gift of love for the mother of a child with cancer. Stitching stitching stitching, I would think about my friend L, breathe a prayer for her, send some good love juju to her child, and make the next stitch. 

Perspective is magic like that isn't it?

Tell me I have to jump all of these hurdles within a two week time span and I want to curl up into a ball and hide. Tell me of an alternative that I find even more daunting? I figure out my "right now". I uncurl and keep going. 

I might not be strong or powerful or courageous but I could be there for my family and I could take care of myself. The added benefit of taking some of that anxious and frightened energy and being able to turn a sock into a shawl, a physical thing that most closely resembles a hug, was an important reminder:

I can't do it all. 
But I can do something right now that matters.

handmade gift knitted shawl

The shawl itself is better than I imagined it might turn out. On the advice of pattern designer Sylvia McFadden, I "pin[ned] the ever-living hell" of it. While this pattern is wonderfully simple, I knit it on needles a size bigger than what it was called for. This larger size (bigger needles equals bigger loops) combined with stretching it to its extreme, made the finished fabric light and airy. This is the type of thing my friend will be able to wear to a staff meeting at her school in Southern California without anyone asking her if she's planning on catching the next flight to the frozen tundra.  


I hope she loves it.  

Regardless, I have loved the process of making it for her. Finding my "right now" has been a gift in itself. 

If you have a second {or ten} to send your own prayer and positivity to L's daughter that gift would be appreciated as well.