A long-distance hug

Family is still family, no matter how far away.

My eldest sister phoned me out of the blue at the end of March to catch up. It was unexpected, but not surprising. We talked about the obvious things: coronavirus, health, family doings, and then on to the important stuff: what we were making. She is a demon knitter. She can knit anything, and always has something amazingly beautiful and complicated on her needles. She’d just finished making a fabulous jacket. I said I wished I could knit, as I’d make myself a shawl for sitting up in bed in winter or with the aircon cranked up high, the way the Husband likes it. We talked about colour. She said she’d have a think about making one for me. And that was that. I didn’t think any more about it.

Yesterday, a box arrived. Strange… I hadn’t ordered anything, and nor had the Husband. But when I opened it, Oh.My.Word. It’s the most gorgeous triangular shawl.

The colours are perfect. The design (her own) is perfect. The size and shape are perfect. The wool is untreated Finlandia Shetland, light, soft and warm. It’s almost as if she’s peeked into my brain and found the most perfect combination. I can’t believe how much work she’s put into it. Apparently, when she reached 600 stitches on her 1.5m circular needle, she stopped counting… It’s worked two-handed, Fair Isle style, apparently. Right over my head, that…

Don’t you love the birds and leaves in the design? And the intarsia on the back is immaculate, making a soft, mottled linear landscape effect. I’d be happy to wear it either side out, except I love the birds best!

I can’t wait for the weather to get cooler so I can wear it all the time. It goes with everything – and look how wonderful it looks with my lovely Bougie Nights quilt!

I don’t need knitwear much in this climate, but a shawl is cosy and versatile, and where a pullover is too hot, this will keep my chilly neck and shoulders warm. It’s a perfect hug from an wonderful sister, who knew exactly what I’d like.

In the end, sisters know you best.

83 thoughts on “A long-distance hug

  1. Marty K says:

    Wow! What an incredible work of art! Absolutely gorgeous! Wow! As my mother used to say, “Wear it in good health.”

    • katechiconi says:

      Your mother sounds like my mother… I somehow missed the knitting gene; my mother could do complicated cables with four needles out of her head while watching TV and having a conversation… On the other hand, I got the lion’s share of the sewing gene. Another sister has the embroidery gene, and so on.

  2. Now that is a sister! Not only thoughtful and caring and handy with those knitting needles – but man alive – talented!! And quick. So quick!!
    For you to have that already she must have had sparks flying from those needles. I’m so impressed – with a sideways glance at my own malingering yarn project that goes days without being picked up 😦 Your shawl is beautiful. I love the birds too.

    • katechiconi says:

      She is indeed very quick, but says that because of the arthritis in her hands, she enjoys this kind of knitting, where you use both hands equally, because it keeps things moving. I guess it’s like me and hexies!

  3. Your sister is a darling.

  4. jeanswenson says:

    I try to not copy other’s comments, but as soon as I saw the intricacy of the birds, I too thought wow, wow and wow! What talented sisters you are!

    • katechiconi says:

      We each seem to have our own ‘thing’. With her, it’s knitting, but we also offer gardening, embroidery, cheesemaking, quilting… The urge to create is strong!

  5. This is utterly beautiful and amazing. The colours are so rich and warm. I absolutely love it. Talk about a bear hug from her every time you wear it and the love that will pass each time you look at it !! 😍😍😍
    And the talent in your family is something to be reckoned with for sure 🤩

  6. This has made my day… there are not enough superlatives… the shawl-masterpiece is not only beautiful but imbued with sisterliness… just makes me wanna cry with happiness that such thoughtfulness finds the best people.

    • katechiconi says:

      I was honestly blown away when I received it. I wasn’t expecting anything to come of the conversation, so to actually get a shawl, and have it so exquisitely perfect for me was very, very special.

  7. kymlucas says:

    I honestly didn’t realize anyone could knit like that.

  8. magpiesue says:

    I love the birds! The colors are perfect. What an amazing piece of work. And the weather’s just turning cool for you now isn’t it? Well, as cool as it gets I suppose. 😉

    • katechiconi says:

      I went out with the dog at 7.15 and there was just the tiniest briskness in the air. Mind you, I was in my shirtsleeves! I know that come July or August, I’ll be wanting something cosy to wrap up in as well as my trusty hoodie.

  9. cedar51 says:

    stunning, just goes to show, phone callers “take notes”

    I’ve had a thought, if NZ/Aus open up for travel then you might find yourself needing that shawl across the ditch, even early Spring is still a tad cold at times…

    • katechiconi says:

      That would be quite true if I was still able to do long-distance travel, but sadly my back won’t tolerate sitting in a plane for longer than 2 hours tops. When I win the Lottery, I’ll travel the world by ship!

  10. It’s STUNNING!!! I wear collared men’s shirts over my regular t-shirt to keep my neck and shoulders covered for the same reason. Neck and shoulders hurt with a cold breeze of AC or anything. I have nothing so delicious for a bed shawl to wear. It’s wonderful you each have a different gene so you get to share, not compete. I also envy a knitter or most artist in general. I don’t think I’ve ever seen anything that intricate done by hand.

    • katechiconi says:

      She has spent a lifetime perfecting her skills, so it’s not totally surprising she’s such an artist with the needles. I’m just so grateful to be the beneficiary of her practice!

  11. anne54 says:

    Oh Kate, it is beautiful! The pattern is so intricate, and the colours, and I can imagine how soft it is to the touch. As you say, just like a hug from a very important sister. I have to agree with you that sisters are such wonderful creatures. I am blessed with a big sister.

  12. tialys says:

    Well, I knit and have been knitting for years but would never attempt anything as complicated as this – it’s absolutely fabulous and so very you. I have both shawl and intarsia envy because even though I’ve crocheted a shawl for myself and never worn it, I would have this on me like a shot.

    • katechiconi says:

      I do like a shawl, much more versatile than a pullover. This is so much better than I could have imagined, and I think she must have worked away at it for hours every day since we first spoke about it.

  13. nanacathy2 says:

    Oh my days, what a wonderful piece of knitting. I am in awe, TOTALLY. Enjoy that gorgeous hug.

  14. claire93 says:

    oh my! I didn’t didn’t even realise it was possible to creat such designs with knitting! those birds are gorgeous and colours are so you!

    • katechiconi says:

      It is possible, but it’s not given to everyone to be able to achieve it. She’s been knitting since she was a little girl, so it’s 60-odd years of practice! She was obviously listening carefully when I was describing the colours I loved working with!

  15. craftycreeky says:

    Wow, it is beautiful 🙂

    • katechiconi says:

      It really is. The colours are beautiful and blend into each other very subtly, but it’s the bird and leaf pattern I find wonderful: like parrots in tropical vegetation, which is what she intended!

  16. Going Batty in Wales says:

    I have never had a sister and never felt the lack but now I want one! Well one who can knit like that would be very welcome! Actually one who can sew like you would be nice too.

    • katechiconi says:

      You should try having 4 sisters! The one who makes cheese and preserved meats is also very popular. Mmmm, home made salami…

      • Going Batty in Wales says:

        I have friends who, between them have many talents. It sounds as if I may be better off with them! I know a few very talenmted cheese makers but home made salami has eveded me so far.

      • katechiconi says:

        She has a temperature-controlled room where she stores the cheeses and sausages and cured meat, down in the basement. It’s all very serious. She’s in a pig club too, with a bunch of people who raise a hog and in the autumn, use the whole thing except the hooves and the grunt.

      • Going Batty in Wales says:

        Boy! that is serious! I hope she gives you plenty of the produce!

      • katechiconi says:

        I’m sure she would if she didn’t live over 1,500km away!

      • Going Batty in Wales says:

        Ah! No, she can’t can she! Drat!

  17. Moira says:

    Absolutely exquisite work in the shawl. Your sister is truly an artist. And so very special for you to recieve such a gift from her.

  18. Sharon says:

    That shawl is a piece of art! OMGorgoeus ~ and it matches Boogie Nights to a tee….and what’s this about a sister who makes cheese and preserved meats? Yum! Your family is extremely creative, crafty and artistic. Blessed!

  19. Gosh your sister is as clever with knitting as you are with quilts! That is amazing work.

  20. absolutely stunning! I would wear it even in a heat wave.

  21. Dayphoto says:

    WOW, that is stunning! What an accomplishment.

  22. That is so gorgeous! I love the scale of the two patterns together, and how the birds look so graceful. And of course the color play is amazing too.

    • katechiconi says:

      What you don’t get from the photos is the feel and texture. It’s Shetland, so slightly rough but not scratchy, like a line-dried towel, and at the same time, soft and pliable. I think the wool is interval-dyed, as the intarsia on the back is continuous, rather than broken-thread. Either way, she’s selected the *perfect* colour scheme for me!

  23. That is absolutely GORGEOUS!!!! I love it. Wht a claver sister, not only to be able to crate such a wonderful pattern but to know so well what you would like. I have two sisters and none of us quite ‘get’ the other.
    That shawl is such loving gift.

    • katechiconi says:

      Aren’t I lucky, on both counts? We both have a need to create, and I suppose some of what makes us tick has rubbed off on each other. She’s known me for nearly 60 years, after all!

  24. manicmumdays says:

    So talented! 😍😍😍

  25. Emmely says:

    Wow, what a fantastic gift! Surely something to treasure for the rest of your life.

  26. teamwilsun says:

    Oh my goodness, how gorgeous! Your sister is incredibly talented … and you are incredibly lucky! Beautiful!!!!

  27. That is incredible work!!! And aren’t you lucky to receive it from your sister? 🙂

  28. Amanda says:

    Absolutely stunning and a very precious thing. Isn’t she quick! If only we could order.

    • katechiconi says:

      She is quick, but I don’t suppose she’d be able to turn out too many at that speed. Like me, she has arthritis in her hands and wrists, only worse!

      • Amanda says:

        Oh I know that one. It’s creeping up on me and some days I’m quite scared of what I’d do if I couldn’t sew, knit or crochet. 😟

      • katechiconi says:

        The trick is to keep them moving, I find, and to stop when it starts to hurt and do something different. Oh, and I have some marvellous stuff called Aspirin & Arnica cream, which a chemist down south makes up for sprains, bruises and arthritic joints. It works a treat and smells lovely!

      • Amanda says:

        I use some Green Lipped Mussell gel, had it for a torn rotator cuff, but you don’t want it near your eyes. It’s a good rub on, wash off the finger tips and quick on with the compression gloves before something predictable happens! 😁 I will look up your one too, thank you.

      • Amanda says:

        😟I can’t use it as I get stomach ulcers and they advise not to.

      • katechiconi says:

        I’m not sure the aspirin goes anywhere near your stomach, it’s absorbed through the skin, but you should do what feels safest to you…

  29. Oh my goodness. That is a bit fancy. I do know how to make that (yes, two handed and Fair Isle), so I know exactly how much love, patience and effort went into it!

  30. Joanne S says:

    I am not a knitter. But I can see that this shawl is incredibly intricately knitted and beautiful. Those birds! Talent runs deep in your family. 🙂

  31. rutigt says:

    Beautiful!!! She is a real pro your sister! The pattern and the colors!!! I love it!

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