Knitting has been a special hobby of mine for awhile. I've made lots of scarves, baby clothes, hats, sweaters, and even a coat. I've written poetry about the precious gift of knitting:
Each stitch is infused with hope,
not just to become garment,
not just to warm or grace,
but another kind of hope,
to be preserved in fiber.
from "Knitting," The Silence of Bright Star
But last weekend I was blessed to work on the most important piece ever and to work with the most precious yarn ever. I knitted a laprobe for my daughter out of yarn spun from the hair of her stunning dog Marilyn. An Audrey Hepburn of a dog, Marilyn was pure grace, with a ladylike prance and a model's posture. She would delicately cross one paw over the other as she reclined. Incredibly beautiful, she turned heads, with her glossy black fur and electric blue eyes. When my daughter and I helped Marilyn cross over the Rainbow Bridge last June, this planet lost one of its elegant queens. She was royalty, through and through.
So knitting something for my daughter, something that was part of Marilyn was a thrilling prospect. I couldn't wait to see and feel the yarn that Christine O'Hara (spinningstrawintogold.com) created. Christine posted a picture of Marilyn (shown in this blog) while she was spinning Marilyn's hair. Surprisingly the yarn was dark brown, even though Marilyn's coat looked black. The undercoat was lighter than the outer and that must have comprised most of the hair combed from Marilyn. The yarn was very soft, like angora or cashmere. I was anxious to transform it with my needles.
And what an ideal setting for me to do so! My daughter's current dog, Trudy (described in an earlier blog), and I spent almost four days together at a blissful hideaway, a house tucked among twelve acres of pinot noir grapes in the wine country of central Oregon. We had perfect knitting weather in this edenic spot: lots of rain and one day of blissful sunshine. Trudy and I sat in the living room enjoying the view and the quiet or lolled in the grassy yard enjoying the birds and the trees and the vista and the quiet. I knitted and Trudy sniffed and snoozed.
Knitting Marilyn was magic. Each stitch was special. The yarn was supple and fine to the touch. Each row brought new sensory pleasure. I was able to knit a laprobe about 18 by 28 to keep my daughter warm. I found a light blue mohair wool mix for trim, echoing the striking light blue of Marilyn's eyes. I liked the result: a fuzzy dark piece of love, looking much like a bearskin, edged in pale sky. Trudy liked it too; when I spread it out on the carpet she stepped onto it, laid down, and closed her eyes. It was sweet seeing the white dog asleep on the hair of the dark dog.
I was pleased to help transform a memory into a momento. Marilyn's presence was all around me as I knitted, a continuation of her insistence on being with my daughter all the time. "The apron strings on this one are short," my daughter used to say. This dog wanted nothing more than to be with the precious creature who rescued her and, even after she left this realm, she was able to be with her. I am so blessed to have helped.