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A Letter to my Sister-in-Law, Part I

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Dear L,

When you have a little brother (I know, I know, "little" is no longer an accurate adjective), you often wonder what he is going to do when he gets older.  Will he stop being annoying?  Will he ever wear another color besides black?  What career path will he pick?  Will he find a good person to spend his life with?  In the case of my brother, he did eventually stop being annoying (I think he was around 20 at the time), he did stop wearing black (and even surprised me by being open to striped hand-knit socks), he became a chemical engineer (of course, the engineering part was never in doubt, but he left us on the edge of our seats with the chemical part.... how many times did he take a stab at organic chemistry?) and he most certainly found a very special person to spend his life with.  I know that anyone who knew and cared about my brother was happy when you agreed to share his life.

Knitter that I am, I've always wanted to knit something special just for you as my way of saying that I'm glad you're part of our family.  Yes, I know I knit you the dragon scale socks (in honor of your love of dragons), but I while I loved designing them for you, somehow they've never seemed like quite enough. I know that at one point we sat down and discussed felted handbags.  My brother reminds me of the fact that I still have not produced a bag on a yearly basis (he's definitely looking out for you!), and while I wish I could make good on the promise, the right inspiration just hasn't hit me.  And if I can't get inspired, I have almost zero chance of accomplishing a fibery project. 

But this year has been such a big year for you -- in November you brought my beautiful nephew into the world, and you've had to face more than your fair share of challenges in his almost 6 months with us.  I wish we were closer (Houston is so far away) so that we could be there more often to help, and that Ms. Z and Mr. C could get to know each other as they grow up.  In lieu of being there, I like to think that this is the time when a hand knitted gift could be a bond, a reminder that somewhere in Chicago, there are people thinking about you and your family.  And thus began the start of my inspiration.

I hope you won't be disappointed that it's not a felted bag. I still have not found the mojo for that project.  I have always thought that your love of dragons is very symbolic of your personality: strong, powerful, wise, protective of those you care about, and not afraid to breathe a little fire every now and again when you need to get something done.  It is these dragons that have been the source of my inspiration for something special for you.

20080510_DragonStart.jpgToday I started your Dragon of Happiness shawl.  The yarn is a delightful alpaca, silk blend (Alpaca with a Twist, Fino) that is soft and rich, the color is a deep raspberry burgundy (selected with a bit of consultation with my brother).  It will be knit on size 1 needles -- all 115,000+ stitches (there are 230 stitches on that needle in the picture and there are more than 500 rows).  When it is finished, it will probably be one of the magnum opi of my knitting career.

I have gone back and forth on whether I should keep it a surprise.  In the end, I decided that I could not.  I am sure some will think that I am going public just so that I can blog it (and there may be an ounce of truth in that), but the biggest reason is that by declaring my intentions publicly, I'm making a commitment to to you and the project.  I have no idea when it will be completed (it is a project that requires focus and not every day brings me the opportunity to apply myself that way).  I hope that you'll enjoy seeing it grow.  

Happy Mother's Day, Dragon Momma!

With much love,

Theresa

Oh wow.
That is one of very few projects I've seen where my first thoguht was "I'll never be able to knit that". What a great commitment and wonderful and special gift.

I can't wait to see the shawl grow!

I can completely understand how putting something on the blog makes it more of a commitment. I have to do the same thing with the bigger projects, otherwise it is too easy to put it aside for something more instantly gratifying!

Wow. Where did you get the pattern?

That is *awesome*. And the alpaca with a twist Fino is one of if not my very favorite lace yarn, I've knit two large stoles with it and thoroughly enjoyed them. Hope you do too!

What a wonderful gift! As a dragon lover myself I can say that it seems fitting and I can't wait to see how it turns out.

Wow. Not only is that a beautiful letter (sniffle), but that is going to be one amazingly beautiful shawl! I'd say your brother must have picked one amazing woman....

Wow. That is going to be absolutely gorgeous and to paraphrase what Deb said, she must be an amazing woman! As are you.

What a wonderful letter and gift. I agree that making the commitment public is a great way to follow through. I wish you the best of luck.

Amazing. The shawl, your effort and the woman you're making it for.

I can't wait to see how the shawl turns out!

Holy crap! Do you have any more brothers????

I can't wait to follow your progress on this one...and how you'll resist Z when she realizes it's not for her....lucky SIL!

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