[Pattern Release] A Shield Against Grief

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When grief ambushes someone I love, I want to wrap them up in my arms until the love I am pouring into them mends the tatters, stitches up the tears, and fills that empty space. Usually, I do not touch them for fear that I will break their facade and leave them helpless, crying for the remainder of the day.

To replace that hug, I create a mourning shawl. With the mourning shawl in place over their shoulders or around their neck, my friend knows my love and thoughts, and that big old hug travels with them through their day.
— LA Bourgeois

This shawl design was inspired by LA Bourgeois’s article for the Giver issue, “The Mourning Shawl”. When I asked LA what types of patterns make for an appropriate Mourning Shawl, she wrote, “My requirements for mourning shawls are that they include mostly simple knitting and can include up to three colors.” A Shield Against Grief was created to fit that description; with two simple stitch patterns that make it easy to adjust for different yarn weights or final measurements if you so desired. However, I recommend to knit it up as large as you can in heavier yarns, as so to wrap a loved one up in and bask in its warmth and comfort.

When words are inadequate to help someone’s pain, a handmade project filled with love, compassion, and empathy can go a long way. As you are working on this project for someone special, infuse each stitch with the powerful intention of healing and light. Keep in your mind why and who you are knitting it for, and that energy will radiate into the fibres. The person receiving the gift will feel the intentions and blessings every time they wrap the shawl around them or run their fingers across the fabric.

Yarns Used: Shibui Drift (Worsted; 85% Extra Fine Merino, 15% Cashmere; 110 yds/101m). 4 skeins in Ash.
Needle: US10.5 (6.5mm) 32” (80cm) circular needle. A long circular needle is recommended, in order to accommodate the large number of stitches as the shawl grows.
Yardage: 440 yds (400 meters).
Gauge: 20 sts and 22 rows = 4 inches (10cm) in St. st after blocking. Gauge is not crucial to this project, but varying gauges will affect yardage and final measurements.
Other Notions: Darning needle, stitch markers.
Final Measurements: Wingspan: 66 inches (167cm); Depth: 17 inches (43cm).


querencia (n): a place where one feels safe, a place from which one's strength of character is drawn.

To go along with the release of "A Shield Against Grief", I've paired it up with two other designs: Then Comes Spring and The Arrival of Spring. I find that these two patterns are quite appropriate to be bundled with this shawl, as they serve as a reminder that after every harsh, cold Winter there is a warm and rejuvenating Spring. I battled with depression my first winter in Japan and created "Then Comes Spring" from that experience. I later revisited the concept of pushing through challenging times and moments in my "The Arrival of Spring" design. Altogether, these shawls form a trifecta of knitted magic to wrap oneself, or perhaps another, in times of need. A place to feel safe and escape to as you knit it up. A worn reminder that you, or the one you are gifting these to, are strong enough.

A Shield Against Grief - your grounding for the present
Then Comes Spring - the reminder that all trials come to an end
The Arrival of Spring - the promise the future holds

You can purchase A Shield Against Grief for $6.99 or get the Trifecta Bundle for $12!