Sunday, August 29, 2010

Cactus Wren

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.

12 comments:

Acorn to Oak said...

I love it! It's absolutely beautiful...the sections, the shape, the edging, the color...gorgeous!

Caterpillar Knits said...

That is quite lovely! I really love the scalloped edges. Such a great complement to the simplicity of the main triangle. Great job!

Spiminarian said...

This shawl is absolutely wonderful. It looks like a soft, warm breeze on a cloudless night. It is so inspiring how you create patterns from your surroundings. I love all of your work, and continue to be inspired by it!

lisagreenb said...

It is absolutely magical! I went to to Cusco many years ago and my only regret is that I was not a knitter then. You have brought out the best of your Peruvian yarn!
Blessings,
Lisa
p.s. I have made soooo many of your storm cloud shawlettes - it is a favorite of mine to wear and make so thank you!

peskypixies said...

that is divine!!!

Sarah {The Student Knitter} said...

You are just beautiful and so is your shawl! :D

Turtle said...

it came out wonderful! that would be a fun knit!

Mr Puffy's Knitting Blog: said...

It's fabulous! What an amazing journey that yarn has had ~ enjoy!

Anonymous said...

New to your blog (via Mr. Puffy and Simcha), and oh my, I love this shawl. The edging is more like medallions to me than scallops and are my favorite part. (It might even coax me to try lace.) Thank you so much! I've already bookmarked you.
Chloe

nicole said...

Both you and the shawl are gorgeous!

Rachel said...

It's beautiful...I think you certainly found your 'momentous' knit for this yarn.

kristen von minden said...

gorgeous!