This Christmas was a very odd holiday without our friend, Stephanie. Her presence was so deeply missed - but her spirit was with us - especially in gifts that were given to Ryan & Amber.
As some of you know, Stephanie had asked me to finish a blanket that she started for Amber. She had found yarn that was exactly like a blanket Amber had as a baby - she wanted to make an "adult" baby blanket. How nice to have a memory from something when you were so young. Steph started this blanket hoping to get it finished before she "had to go" but once the medicine & the weariness got to her, she knew she wasn't going to be able to finish it - so when she asked me if I could do it- I was honored to finish this project for her. I held it to my face for at least the first few weeks I worked on it just because I could smell Steph still on it.
With the summer months, it isn't easy to be drapped with yarn all over your legs so it was put back until it cooled off. Once the temperature changed, it was time to pull it out & fiinish it. It is the largest project I have knitted. Finishing it wasn't easy though - when I was done & all the yarn was gone, I had to cast it off & get it off the needles. That when it hits me - Steph had casted the yarn onto these same needles with every intention of finishing this & giving it to her own baby. Knowing she wasn't there & I was the one taking it off - it really hit me. I sat & cried while I pulled each stitch off, until it was free of the needles holding it. Who knew knitting was so emotional?
It fits my queen sized bed - & is the most comfy, cozy, softest blanket ever. I tied a white ribbon in where Steph stopped & I started so Amber could hold the part her mom knitted close to her heart & always feel her close.
The second project I worked on is probably my proudest project I've ever done. Background: Steph wanted a nice project just for her - she was so busy always knitting for everyone else. What she decided on was a gorgeous sweater coat - the kind that went down to your ankles & was heavy, but still with a sweater look. She saved for the yarn & would buy some when she could, ready to do this thing. She started on it & got about a foot or 2 done but never finished that project either.
Before she passed away, she was sure to let everyone know she wanted me to have all her yarn since we were together for 99% of the purchases & I knew what each skein held - the project she had in mind for it. And she also asked me to finish the sweater & to wear it & think of her each time. Once it got cooler, I pulled out this project & was ready to finish it for my friend. I just felt funny. This project & this yarn meant so much to her - I couldnt finish it - not for me. Then it was like something hit me & I knew exactly what to do. I would make Ryan a blanket with it.
I started with the skeins she never got to use - started the base of the blanket. As the pattern came through, I got so excited about the beauty of it. Then the hard part - I took the sweater she started & took it off the needles - attached it to the blanket & unraveled her sweater into this blanket. I even took a picture so Ryan could see the sweater I knew he would remember - he watched his mom sitting in her recliner many a night working on this. To pull her sweater out & feel the yarn go through my hands into this - I knew it was the perfect project.
When I finished it - I felt so happy about it - like Steph was happy with my decision. I didn't make the sweater she wanted - but it is now wrapped around her baby - a much better project. I dont think she'd mind at all.
And Ryan also got it Christmas morning & absolutely adored it. The picture of the sweater hit him more than anything. Memories are such a powerful thing - he saw how much she worked on it & he knew this was the same yarn his mom had entwined in her own hands with so much excitement.
So Steph may not have been with us in body - but on Christmas morning, two of her children felt her presence with them - felt her love surrounding them, covering them in warmth.