Where to start...
Well, I could start with the fact that things seem so quiet lately. Maybe I haven't maintained readers, or maybe everyone is busy. But it feels quiet.
I could start with a lot of things. But, catching up on Charlotte is probably the best approach. I worked on blocking the shawl on Saturday morning. I laid out my big fold-up sewing board (that Matthew likes to use for a car ramp) on the table and put a huge terry towel on top. Then I got to wetting and pinning.
It was a no-go.
There was absolutely no way the shawl was going to even approach the dimensions noted on the pattern (I was blocking minus the fringe, and I'm assuming the dimensions noted are minus the fringe). We wet and rewet and tugged and pulled.
We'd get one side pulled and pinned only to find that it was impossible to get the other side out and still have the bottom point be able to lie flat. Whether the problem was that my cast off edge was too tight or that the row of single crochets was too tight, I'm not sure. At any rate, I quickly ended up in tears.
My frustration with the blocking was mixed in with concern and fear and worry. As I've mentioned many times, this first Charlotte is for my mom for Christmas. She's was admitted to the hospital on Saturday following a relatively routine (these days) test she had done on Friday. After a day in the E.R., they did emergency surgery Saturday around midnight. That surgery probably saved her life. But the recovery road ahead looks long, and each day it seems that the news is only partly good.
I'm thousands of miles away and struggling to get news channeled through my brother. He's been great. But I'm still too far away. Unfortunately, being there in the hospital all day with the baby wouldn't be best for any of us. So I'm hoping to go home end of this week to be there for the first two weeks she's back home.
That means leaving my older son here, however, and the thought breaks my heart. Other than the three nights I was in the hospital following the baby's (cesarean) delivery, I've never been away.
So, there's a lot going on, and it had all just sort of started when I was working on blocking the shawl. She'd just gone to the E.R. None of us yet realized how intense the next 24 hours would be, or how quickly the world of a really active and healthy woman in her 50's can be turned upside down.
It felt 'right' to be working on the shawl on Saturday morning knowing she'd gone to the E.R. (and assuming nothing was seriously wrong). As the day progressed and the news became increasingly dire, the Charlotte lying on the table drying took on new meaning. M. had lovingly taken over the blocking, trying to help, when I got upset with my battles with trying to straighten the top edge. When I gave up, I was stretching the cast-off edge so much I was afraid I might break it.
So, we got it blocked, but smaller still than expected. Next time I'll know to treat the cast off row and the edging more loosely.
As it dried throughout the day, I snuck whatever baby-less moments I could to go over and cut and lay out some of the fringe. It was late in the evening when I stood back and looked at the shawl from across the room and was struck suddenly by an almost majestic transformation that had taken place as I put fringe in place. M. agreed. It did look very different even with the strands of fringe just tossed in groups at each edge loop where they need to be tied in place.
As I was laying the fringe in place, the process of working on something tactile that was for her somehow giving me comfort while I was waiting for more news, the concept of prayer shawls surfaced in my mind. I've only read about them briefly and don't know much about the whole concept, but I'm thinking I should find out more. I wasn't working on a prayer shawl, of course, but the extended moment of the day and watching the shawl develop was imbued with a spiritual quality and a feeling of peace and tranquility and inner quiet. It's hard to explain.
The fringe still isn't all knotted in place. It's just been a crazy few days, and both boys are sick with colds. But here's a look at how it's going.
(Eventually, she'll be back online, so the above 'don't click' images are still right even though they feel strange right now.)