women of a certain age are like sunflowers; they know how to turn their faces to the sun.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Mehndi

"Let there be nothing within thee that is not very beautiful and very gentle, and there will be nothing without thee that is not beautiful and softened by the spell of thy presence."
-James Allen


Mehndi is a ceremonial art form that originated in ancient India. Intricate patterns of henna are typically applied to brides before wedding ceremonies. The bridegroom is sometimes also painted. In some Arabic speaking countries, it is done for any special occasion - during the seventh month of pregnancy, after having the baby, weddings, engagements, family and get-togethers, as well as on other occasions.

But why wait?

As I was writing up the pattern last night, I discovered two things.

One: I was guilty of misspelling the word; it's mehndi, not mendhi.

Two: I don't believe you should save beauty for special days.

It is very tempting to protect beautiful things by putting them behind glass or under wraps. By only using them on Thanksgiving and Christmas. By only wearing them when you dress up. By folding them within acid-free paper.

My mother kept her silver in a safety deposit box at the bank. I remember being awed as a small child when we would make a trip to he big vault, she would take out her treasures, and we would take them home, where I would polish them until they gleamed.

I keep my silver in my home, on top of my buffet. I use it often.

Because life is too short to deny beauty its presence in our every day.

I think that is one of the things that is so marvelous about knitting. We may not be able to paint a Renoir, but we can knit an Anne Hanson or an Annie Modisett.

We can surround ourselves with the beauty of color and fiber and pattern. We can wallow in alpaca. We can revel in lace.

We can picture the beautiful faces of those we love as we create our gifts.

And we can do this every day.

Lucky us!



MEHNDI - $8


SIZE:
18 inches wide by 62 (72) inches long
MATERIALS:
6 (7) balls - 882 (1008) yds. - Rowan Linen Lenpur
Color: Tatoo
Size 6 (US) needles
Cable needle
GAUGE:
Each main pattern repeat measures 3 ¾ inches across unblocked, 5 inches across blocked
SKILLS NEEDED:
intermediate lace knitting and chart reading


The Linen Lenpur is a splitty yarn. I won't lie to you. But the drape is fabulous, the color is perfect and the touch is oh-so-soft. I do advise investing in some Addi lace needles in size 6. The narrow tips make turning the twisted stitches much easier.

I added a twisted cable design to the center back, separated from the main design by twelve simple transition rows.


The shorter length has one section at center back. You can make the stole longer, if you like, by adding a second section to the back and joining the stole with another twelve transition rows at center back. Instructions are included for both versions.

The pattern shapes the lower edges of the stole into graceful scallops.



This one is definitely trickier than some. It has lace patterning on both sides and the sequence can be a little tricky until you get the hang of it. But once you do, you'll perk right along. I like the short repeat of six rows.

The main pattern and the twisted stitch cable section are charted. The transition rows are written out.


All things decay; it is the nature of the world. By trying to preserve beauty for the longest possible time, we miss out on its potential to enrich our lives.

Don't wait for a "special occasion" to come around. Make today special and an occasion.

Use the good china tonight. Wear your grandmother's pearls and feel her love around your neck.

Adorn your EVERY day. Beauty awaits...

But we don't have to.


7 comments:

denise said...

Susan
It is simply gorgeous. I have been looking forward to this announcement.

Donna Lee said...

It's beautiful. I use my china and silver for holidays and any old days that I want to feel festive. The Christmas china comes out in July. Just because. Life is way too short to save it "for good".

shortoldlady said...

Oh - this is lovely and so tempting! How much more yarn would you guestimate to add one repeat so it's a bit wider??? (not that I need another project :-) HAHA)

g-girl said...

this is absolutely breathtaking!

Colleen said...

Such lovely inspired designs!!! I have an intellectual blockage against charts, so for now I shall just ooglE!

TRULY lovely

Colleen

La Cabeza Grande said...

Such delicate, wavelike beauty! You have such talent.

Sand and Sky Creations said...

What a beautiful stole!