I’ve been working on the Civil War Sontag since, I don’t know, months ago? But this seemingly simple shawl is surprisingly difficult to master, even for a master of crochet. I wasn’t sure why this was, because–like I said– it’s a simple pattern, a beginner’s pattern really. And then it hit me. It’s difficult, because it’s not what I expected.
I had all these modern notions about how women’s fashion should look, even women’s fashion from the 19th century. I want it to be something that I could picture myself wearing on a chilly autumn night, but the Civil War Sontag is definitely not something I would wear on a chilly autumn night in 2015. So, I went back to Mary Elizabeth’s 100% cotton, natural died, yarn with a fresh old perspective. What my 3rd great grandmother crocheted for herself in 1863 Alabama was not anything I’d wear in the near future, but it’s still beautiful. It’s still my history and the history of women–steeped in a tradition of endless creativity, strength, and innovation (Yes, I employed the Oxford Comma there, and I won’t apologize for it).
So, back to the drawing board as it were, ripping out chunks of carefully muted rust reds, mustard grain yellows, and soft gray and reworking them with chilly 1863 in mind. I promise this piece will get done before Christmas, and one of you can take it home with you, My Dear Readers. Until then, happy chaining, beautiful needle artists and art watchers. I’m only four months behind schedule, but you can’t judge me, because I have laundry, dogs, and kids, too (there’s the comma again, because it’s the right thing to do).