I write this bleary eyed, stooped, and feeling a bit puffy. No, I didn't overindulge in the Pinot or have my heart broken last night. I stayed up well past the witching hour to finish a book. I don't often physically read books anymore, I tend to listen to the audio versions so I can knit at the same time. This book, The Lace Reader by Brunonia Barry, called out to me from the dusty shelves. There is lace and a craggy cliff/seascape on the cover, how could I resist judgement based on that? I popped it into the bag alongside my children's weekly haul.
This intricate story weaves around the lives of the Whitney women. There is a bit of everything in this book; thrills, mystery, religious zeal, mental illness, psychic abilities, intuition, centuries of abusive power, and the circle of life. All of these themes wrap and twist, seemingly disjointed and unreliable, but by the end, Barry knits them all together into a gossamer piece of lace that reveals the whole story connected in the patterns. The story can only be known when the single thread that makes the whole is finally bound off. Adding to the historical overlapping the modern arc of the setting of Salem is the coincidence that I am also listening to The Scarlet Letter on Craftlit. I recommend reading both for an interesting study in the layered lives of women.
I've been working on an odd little knit, inspired by this striking example. Worked in garter stitch increasing and then decreasing back to only 4 stitches, the finished result is a crescent shape with a triangular point midway, like a stylized number 3. I am knitting this with a particular person in mind, each stitch mirrors their exhaustive journey up hill and eventually, slowly, down. The lace readers in the book could see the past, present, and future in the lace patterns. I cannot read like those women, but I can knit with the intention of this person's life becoming whole again. I guess you could call this a prayer shawl, but as I am not given to traditional prayer, an intention scarf it is. Each stitch is a step in my life and theirs, an entwining of our days, a map of the need we have for one another right now. Eventually I will bind this off and cut the yarn. This act will signify the end of a mutual journey. Regardless of the outcome of my stitches or their test, the finished object will be a beautiful reminder of the belief in one another to make it to the next moment, stronger, wiser, and a stitch closer to complete.