On my last night in Phoenix, Mountain Man and I took a sunset walk in the desert. And out came the alpaca shawl, finished at last. It was beautiful in that dry desert wind!
The yarn - a soft, light-as-air, 3-ply alpaca -- has had a long journey to this place. I bought a full bag of this yarn from a small, cramped shop in Cusco, Peru some 7 years ago. It traveled with me to Massachusetts, Vermont, Arizona, waiting for the moment to be plucked out of my stash and knit up into something momentous.
I'd had an idea brewing for a shawl with an unusual deep-crescent, almost winglike shape ... started in the center with just a few stitches, increased initially in six sections (8 make a full circle) that are split on either side of a center line, and with a couple more sections added towards the end to make a very dramatic swoop.
The first test that I did with this increase pattern was the ill-fated blue shawlette from last April. I couldn't figure out the edging for that one, but I kept on with the idea. And as I was playing around with motifs and natural representations, I kept coming back to the winged shaping.
I thought of the humble cactus wren, sometimes called the "voice of the desert," and the beautiful nests that it builds within tangles of cholla cacti. That image led me to an adaptation of the intricate Mexican lace edging.
I couldn't be happier with how it came out in the end. And I do feel like I have a bit of the desert wrapped around me when I wear it.