Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Valentine's Day and the Romance Shawl

To-day is Valentine's Day or St. Valentine's Day as it used to be called before St. Valentine was stricken from the roster of saints by the Catholic Church for seemingly not having created any miracles. I don't know about that. He used to be reverred for his letters, mainly on the subject of love - spiritual love. But he did write letters, that in itself could be considered miraculous!

He wrote letters; we send cards - pretty or funny or really sloppy, commercially generated cards. Some of you will be lucky and get a hand made valentine - I think that these are the best!

Even better might be a knitted Valentine. Martha Stewart in one of her Living magazines had a pattern for a pair of mittens with a simple heart motif on it. Come to think of it Maggy Radcliffe of Maggie's Rags has a mitten pattern with a heart motif. In fact below is a listing of all the patterns that I stock with a heart motif.


A little late to knit some of them for to-day, but there is always next year! Start now too if you plan to give someone - yourself included the beautiful Romance Shawl from Fiddlesticks Knitting. I saved this one for last, because it is one of the best! I remember when Dorothy showed me the finished garment. I gasped as many do - her designs are really breathtaking - read Knitti-me's comments on the Venus Vest.

Yes I loved the romance motifs, - the cupid's arrows, the hearts, the exquisite shade of rose pink of the Artisan lace weight yarn. But what I really marvelled at was that extra touch of the true artist - that detail that sets a work of art apart - in this case it's the edging.

There are lots of shawls with engaging motifs, and pretty extras, but this accent - is not just another pretty extra - it is a edging with an underlay of a deeper wine red. This has depth, and layers, like love itself. Love can set our emotions on edge, with the promise of a deeper commitment. Love is intricate like lace; it is complicated and at the same time very fragile. It caresses the body and swathes the soul. I believe that Dorothy has captured in this beautiful net of lace the magic of love. That miraculous power that powers us forward, think of the heart or stops us dead in our tracks, think of the arrow. It heals and slays at the same time.

Dorothy's shawl says it all. It can stop people dead in their tracks when they see it. Knitting it can heal the soul. Indeed, I believe that this is one of Dorothy's talents as an artist. She can capture in a flow of stitches the very stuff of life. Dorothy connects on an emotional level through her designs with other knitters and other people who appreciate art. In fact non-knitters have learned to knit, just to be able to create one of Dorothy's pieces. More on that particular pattern later.

To-day is a day of cards and love poems and so I have to post my offering of a love poem for workers in the needle arts. It's by W.B. Yeats and I love it!!

Had I the heavens' embroidered cloths,
Enwrought with golden and silver light,
The blue and the dim and the dark cloths
Of night and light and the half-light,
I would spread the cloths under your feet:
But I, being poor, have only my dreams;
I have spread my dreams under your feet;
Tread softly because you tread upon my dreams.
Knit a dream to-day - Enjoy Carol

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