I cast on for Bitterroot on a Wednesday night, although (because?) I had other things on the needles I needed to finish.
On Thursday I learned that the son of close friends was killed in the earthquake in Haiti.
Funny I never finished this post, which has been lingering in my "edit" box for months, perhaps because it touched on weightier subjects than I really felt like going into.
It was clear to me, though, that the shawl was meant to go to my friends as a remembrance of the child they lost, or simply as a hug. It seemed all the more predestined when I took another look at the epigraph that opens the pattern, which is about a grieving mother.
Knitting it was certainly a way to work through my emotions about it. And the yarn reminded me of the person who died: bright and vivid and unusual, knitting up like a flame.
What struck me particularly was the way that the uneven, handspun yarn knit up into a fabric that was much stronger than the sum of its parts: all the thick and thin bits evened out into a shawl that was strong and bright. Something there about the way that memory glosses over life's unevennesses until we're left with something much firmer than it seemed at the time, and the ups and downs that once seemed so important (my yarn is breaking!) don't really matter. A parable of human relationships.
This shawl was a big part of my winter, and then was finished, and transformed from its chrysalis-like unblocked state into a wide-winged butterfly, and sent off to my friends, who said (perhaps tactfully) that it did bring comfort.
Edited to add: I see that this post went up with the date I originally started it: January 22. Today is June 3. That's indicative of the speed of my knitting life these days.