I've been thinking about this post for a couple weeks, since my knitting friend, Jan, died. Her death was unexpected, leaving our group stunned and saddened. Jan was kind and generous, with a quietly sardonic wit. She was devoted to her family, especially her niece. What I didn't know, at least until after she died, is that she was comparatively new to knitting. One of things I'll remember most about her was her willingness to untangle other people's yarn. She spent weeks undoing a pile of yarn barf that anyone else probably would have written off. She will be missed.
The day after we all found out about her passing was our usual Thursday night group get together. Jan's sisters sent over her yarn stash, insisting that Jan's friends have some of her yarn. As we were going through it, many of us noticed that there was a lot of Cascade 220 in there, and so we decided that we would make squares for a blanket to give to the niece that Jan loved so much. For myself, I took a skein of Kentucky Blue Fiber Co. Alpaca 2 ply sport weight. I imagine Jan might have chosen it for its rich color, thinking it would become a really luxurious little accessory.
With that in mind, I searched the Ravelry pattern database for projects that called for 200 yards of sport weight yarn. As soon as I saw the pattern for the Elis cowl, I knew it was just the right thing to make from Jan's yarn. It was a super quick knit: it took me about 2 evenings to finish the knitting and I was able to block it the next day. I love it. It has a soft, elegant drape that makes me wish I had something better than a bunch of printed t-shirts to wear with it.
It still feels strange thinking of Jan in the past tense, like she only missed a couple of knit nights, but she'll be at the next one, knowing that she won't, really. But we all feel that way when someone we care about dies.
Until next time, Friends.