As I was leaving for Cabarete earlier this month, I had a sudden crisis of faith in my yarn.  I’d packed a pair of socks and the yarn for anther swing at the Color Affection but at the very last minute I wasn’t feeling it or something.  I started to think that I didn’t have enough yarn with me – what if I run out?  I get those same feelings anytime that I’m going to be somewhere with limited access to yarn (like the bathroom) and usually I can talk myself down. Remind myself that I’m not going to knit faster than I ever have before, that I can almost always get yarn where I’m going if I do knit faster than I ever heard before…. but Cabarete, I felt, was a yarn wasteland. (This turned out to be true. Not only did I not see a yarn shop, the Domincans are mostly shocked by knitting as an activity. You can see why – I mean, it’s the Caribbean and a third world country. There are priorities, and keeping warm isn’t one of them.)

Five minutes away from leaving, I ran upstairs, grabbed two skeins of something pretty and ran to the ball winder. Joe was loading my luggage while I wound the yarn and jammed a few circulars into my bag. 

When I got there, I tried to get behind the Color Affection My colourway this time was supposed to be these pretty skeins from The Plucky Knitter, but it wouldn’t take hold.

Something about the autumn colours seemed out of place in Cabarete, and I went back to the suitcase and fetched out the emergency yarn. Two skeins of Tosh Merino light, in Bluebonnet. 

It was perfect. It was the colours I was seeing all around me, and a spent a happy morning cruising through patterns, trying to choose what I would make.

I looked at lace, at cabled things – all sorts of things really, and that afternoon as the wind came up and the kiters came out, it hit me. What better pattern for a Cabarete beach vacation, than the missing part? I had the colours… the only thing missing was the wind. 

Enter Windward, a very clever pattern by Heidi Kirrmaier.

A scarf that heads off in all directions while still going in one direction, really, something that reminded her of the maneouvers you needed to sail into the wind, and that reminded me of what the kiters were doing on the sea in front of me. 

I’ve puttered through it over the last few weeks, as I stomp through the snow and fly to places that are not warm at all, a happy reminder of the time in Cabarete.  It’s a pretty cool pattern, simple enough to be fun, but clever enough to be entertaining. 

Until I washed it last night, it smelled a little like the beach, and left the tiniest  heartbreaking drift of sand in the bottom of the basin. 

We took it down to the waters edge today, trying to get it’s photoshoot  done ahead of the big snowstorm that’s headed our way, and this time Windward was all about a different sort of wind and water. (Three cheers for Sam. Mercy it was cold. We quit taking pictures when I couldn’t feel my hands anymore. Sam wants you to know she’s not sad in this picture. She’s freezing.)

Windward. All the best things about Cabarete. Pretty, and warm – and now resigned to having a very Canadian life.

84 thoughts on “Souvenir

  1. You enabler you! After listening to Over the Rainbow by IZ and then reading this—I just had to buy it. Now to go stash diving….while humming over the rainbow…mmmm…mmm…mmm oooo.

  2. You can assure San that everyone who lives somewhere cold most certainly recognized that as “wtf with this wind, seriously, right in the eyes”.

  3. Speaking of priorities, a write-up and photos of Sam’s birthday party should be much higher on your list.
    Because you made her before you made the scarf.

  4. Oh dear! Another pattern added to my Ravelry ‘favourites’ list. For what it’s worth, I’ve never worn the Color Affection I made, despite the time I spent spinning three colours of Shetland fibre for it. I don’t think my shoulders are built for that shape of wrap/scarf. I also got a bit of a ‘bump’ at the centre of the first colour which I really should deal with by unpicking from the cast on until it’s flat and then casting off. Except I have several (quite a few if I’m honest) scarves and shawlettes I can wear.

  5. So I’m not the only one who picks projects according to my mood and location. I thought it was somehow ‘unknitterly’ of me. Glad to see it’s pretty normal. Great pictures of Sam!

  6. The yarn and the model are lovely. Hard to tell about the scarf, though. Seems there was too much wind!

  7. I’ve been looking at this pattern on Ravelry for the last week-trying to figure what yarn to use. Something in my stash? Order something new? I had decided last night that I really needed to finish the Kozue I started in December before I start another scarf. Now all bets are off I Must Knit Windward……..
    NOW. (you’re an enabler, you know that, right?)

  8. I definitely relate to the fear of being without knitting. I always travel with way more yarn and projects that ends up being necessary. Your project turned out beautifully – thanks for the story & the photos!

  9. I totally get the need for emergency yarn and I love what you did with it. I think canada is a wonderful place for such a gorgeous scarf to live. and I hope Sam gets it. She wears it so well!
    thanks for the story!

  10. Brrrrrrr! Makes me chilly just looking at her! Take heart, Canadians, Spring really is on its way.

  11. Looks gorgeous. Bravo you two. By mid-day it was lovely down there by the lake…I cycled down and had a picnic on a park bench!

  12. I am almost finished with that very scarf. Something about the last, teeny-tiny section is making me nervous. I dunno. But it’s beautiful–made from Wollmeise. I’m hoping you’ve inspired me to finish…

  13. I’m grinning over here because I know that Toronto Harbourfront wind, and how it tends to obscure the finer details of a knit. How well I remember gritting my teeth and saying, “Lie FLAT, dammit! I can’t get a picture of you if you don’t lie FLAT!” The wind doesn’t cooperate.

  14. And I believe Windward meets that ‘chic rag’ thang you admire, right?
    Also, Sam should become a professional knit model. Seriously, she just gets better and better!
    Finally, I started Cold Mountain on a recent mini-ski-vaca to Mammoth Mountain, CA. Actually, mostly I knit Bandana Cowls (seems we couldn’t get enough of them), but Cold Mountain was picked for the trip. Using a whack of Jaggerspun. Should be delicious when its done.

  15. I love the color and can appreciate the work that went into the construction and shape of the scarf. And it looks good on Sam. But, I am more of a “structured” type person, so this pattern would not be for me.

  16. I’m afraid I would have tried to even off the edges. Truely an unusual construction that would not me for me at all. Love the colorway.

  17. Both Sam and the scarf look great. Maybe she should get one too since she stood out in the cold as your model? Then you’d match even more! 😉

  18. What a united world of weather we live in. The colours that are so remindful of the sunny beaches and sea and sky you were at a few weeks ago team up with the colours of your own icy, snowy and windy homeground. Extra ordinary, it is a two continents shawl.

  19. Poor tropical scarf. A Canadian winter is a harsh fate for it. I’d suggest that I could make it feel warmer, but Boston isn’t significantly better than Toronto for a tropical scarf. Maybe there is a knitter in Maui or Fiji.

  20. I’ve never commented. Just read, smile, laugh and get inspired. But had to say what a photogenic and beautiful daughter you have.

  21. I made my Windward (with Noro Silk Garden Sock) after you first mentioned the pattern on this blog. I get compliments every time I wear it!

  22. What a pretty colorway and scarf! How sad it must be to have left the Caribbean and be freezing in Canada.
    And bless Sam for posing on such a bitterly cold day!

  23. Woah, stop there. I need to look up what this “snow” stuff is…
    The scarf and Sam are beautiful!

  24. Love love love Windward! I made one for my niece and immediately had to make my own. Love your colourway!

  25. Gorgeous scarf – brave model! She deserves to keep this now – I think you already know that right? Off to check out the pattern.

  26. I love the scarf, and Sam is a lovely model. I second the “she should model knits” suggestion. I have some hand dyed that might just fit this pattern.

  27. The huge 7-11 slurpy that nature has dumped on us in the GTA was on its way when Sam was modelling. No wonder she was freezing. Today is a day to stay in the house and knit. Your scarf is lovely.

  28. A spin on the old proverbial postcard: you had a great time, and now you have your wish of always having a little bit of it here with you.
    Sam looks so lovely with the Caribbean wrapped around her at water’s edge.

  29. I had been wondering what the gorgeous yarn was. Thanks for sharing. Maybe you can take your new knitted friend on an occasional pilgrimage to someplace where kite sailing is embraced. Good a reason as any for an island vacation, no?

  30. Gorgeous! Love that shawl! And Sam makes it look beautiful!
    I have tried to make the Color Affection three times, and even tried the YO at the beginning of rows, but kept having a REALLY tight edge and gave up. Wish I could figure out how to make it!

  31. From my count, there is a consensus that Samantha really should consider professional modeling. Of course, she will always credit her mom for launching her career.
    Lovely memory scarf, mom.

  32. I am on my way to the Caribbean next week with plenty of air time. Still mulling over my knitting. I am leaning toward an Ottenberg scarf with Pygora yarn-it is light weight afterall. This would be my nondrinking knitting. Knitting in the tropics can be interesting. As I said, there is plenty of air time.

  33. I made a windward last year in smooshy with cashmere. I wore it to Alaska last September and then my 20 something daughter claimed it as hers. She says she gets a lot of complements on it and I bought the yarn to make another one, but I haven’t gotten around to it yet. Planning a trip to Caribbean next January, already trying to decide what kind of knitting to take!

  34. How nice that you can wrap the Caribbean sun around you to keep you warm in the Canadian winter.

  35. Great story! Pretty scarf! Beautiful daughter! And you still have three skeins for an autumn project.

  36. How beautiful! I love you how you tie in your physical surrounding with your choice of pattern.

  37. I knit that pattern and *love* the result. You’ve made me want to knit another…to the stash!

  38. If Sam didn’t look so cold and mildly miserable and beautiful all at the same time then I wouldn’t be looking at the Windward pattern and thinking that I need to knit that scarf! Sam is the perfect model for knitted items. Beautiful and lovely and I love the “true” expressions of emotion. Tell her I said that, because she needs to know.

  39. Goodness, that scarf/wrap is wonderful and so are the other patterns from the designer. Sam is stunning too.

  40. Your comment bout how shocked the Dominicans were by knitting reminded me of an incident when I was vacationing in Tunisia in 2010. I was sitting alone by the pool knitting when I noticed a gardener lurking behind me. I turned around and smiled, said Bonjour, and he asked what I was doing. I said the obvious, “knitting” and he replied “just like in the movies.”

  41. Cabarete beach ? Lake Erie beach. I live on the other side of Lake Erie from you, I know how that wind bites at you. Brave Samantha! And the scarf is exceedingly lovely!

  42. Thanks for posting. This is why I knit. Everytime I look at something I made I remember the story behind it. Lovely.

  43. I found Windward when I found myself in need of a project while at the beach in North Carolina last summer. I needed yarn also, but left home without it because there’s this sweet little fiber shop in Southport called Angelwing Enterprises…but that’s another story. A very satisfying beach knit!

  44. This is kind of silly, but… I have Windward in my queue and the yarn in my stash, so I was interested when it popped up in the “hot right now” section on Ravelry. Usually that means that there’s a forum thread either about the pattern or including the pattern and ones like it (and who doesn’t need more patterns in their queue?) so I skulked around Ravelry trying to figure out why Windward was “hot right now” but found nothing. And then I came here today and hah! Now I know. I will rest easier tonight.

  45. That is a beautiful combination of yarn and pattern! Seemingly, right place, right time too.

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