The last few steps of a pilgrimage bring a whole host of mixed feelings. There is relief that you have made it, gratitude that you are still (relatively) in one piece, and a sweet sadness that the adventure is over. After walking 125 miles across northern Spain I stayed for a few days in a 16th century Seminary - pilgrims were allowed to bunk there for just a few pesos a night. The views were spectacular as I watched the sun set behind the cathedral. And I spent a day or two reflecting on my journey.
I had my Credencial to remind me of each stop I had made along the way. (Mine says that I was traveling 'a pie' rather than 'en bicicleta' or 'a caballo'.)
And my Compostela to prove that I had walked the kilometers.
For big projects, however, you just have the finished piece. And surely, that is enough. But each square reminds me of the journey.
I remember starting this blanket on a cruise with a friend, and how, like the Pied Piper, it brought every knitter to me on a cruise ship of 6,000 passengers. Knitters with knitting problems, knitters who spoke no English but knit a few stitches to show they knew how, knitters who hadn't picked up knitting in years, and knitters who deeply regretted leaving their knitting at home. (silly knitters!)
Pattern: Mitered Crosses Blanket -- for Japan. by Kay Gardiner. All the proceeds from the sale of this pattern continue to go to Mercy Corp to help respond to the earthquakes and tsunamis in Japan in 2011.
Yarn: Kauni Wool 8/2 Effektgarn in colors EB(orange, browns, greys) and EZ (blues). One ball of each color, each ball weighing 150g. 15 (+) skeins of Elemental Affects Natural Shetland Fingering in natural color mioget (I lost some ball bands on this yarn.) 1 skein of Elemental Affects Natural Shetland Fingering in natural color musket (darker grey - the lower left corner square is made with this.)
Needles: size US 5 for the squares, size US 6 for the applied i-cord.
Mods: Instead of 10 squares I chose to go for a full 25 and not have any blank spaces - my goal was to use up as much of my yarn as possible. My applied i-cord was made from bits and pieces of leftovers.
Some squares were knit during soccer games. Others were knit on a comfortable couch surrounded by other knitters. A few were knit on vacation, while one was knit while skyping with a beloved friend far away.
By happy accident my very center square is imperfect - three of the small boxes outlining the cross are actually grey rather than cream - because I was knitting in the dark and couldn't see I had picked up the wrong color. And also by pure chance (since I decided to knit 15 more squares than the pattern called for) I ran out of yarn and had to buy more of the neutral color. And because it came from two different growing seasons of a natural sheep color, one year was more white, then next, more brown.
And because I could, I kicked up my heels at the end of my applied i-cord, and striped a small section. Because my journey was over, and I was done.