Baby Christening Shawl

I’ve struggled to find the right words to write this so please bear with me as I try to express the love and gratitude I feel for my amazing friend and co-blogger Stew. I’ve known Stew for a *long* time now – coming up on 20 years! We met at a Mathematical Olympiad training session in UCD and hit it off right away. It was such a breath of fresh air to meet like minded people and we had such fun together as mathletes. She has been the wonderful friend that you read about in Maeve Binchy novels – funny, caring and always at the end of a text/email when you need her. We had a standing arrangement to meet in the Science Fiction and Fantasy section of Easons, in the days before mobile phones, so that if one of use was late the other could at least browse happily. When gmail came along we could send over 50 emails in a day, nowadays we have WhatsApp.

We’ve been through all the ups and downs of life that have hit us so far, supporting each other as we go. She inspired me to learn to crochet while studying for my PhD and taught me to spin, so she is entirely responsible for my addiction to Fibre Crafts. And so the ultimate cause of this blog, not just a partner in crime! Although our lives have taken quite different paths in recent years, and work has taken us to different countries, Stew is still the best friend I am so lucky to have.

Never has this been more obvious than in this last year (or two) of becoming a mother. Stew listened to my complaints about morning sickness, asked me about what fruit the baby was this week, sent me funny memes and kept me going when moving house and working three jobs all became too much. After he arrived she went to great lengths to show how much she cared. To talk me down and distract me when the hormones got too much! Always there to listen to the minutiae of life with an infant – feeds, nappies, sleep or the lack thereof. She flew over to visit in a way that would be most helpful for me without being an additional stress. She has showered my little boy with the coolest thoughtful gifts (too much!! he’ll be spoiled!)

Not least of these was the most amazing (that word doesn’t even begin to capture it) christening blanket for Ciarán. I was thrilled to pieces when Stew and her husband made the extra effort to fly over for the Christening. And absolutely astounded when, at her previous visit (so that I had plenty of notice – how thoughtful!), Stew presented me with the most beautiful hand knit lace shawl. The kind of glorious work and detail that you admire on Ravelry and accept you will never knit or own. A piece so fine, so perfect that it is an instant heirloom. Something so special that the thought of putting it near a baby is terrifying! Don’t you agree?

Just look at the intricacy! All those little sleepy Zs and beautiful flowers. That edging! It’s knit with the most delicate natural wool, soft but crisp, perfect in fact. I can only imagine how long it must have taken knitting something so huge and delicate with tiny needles. The very idea that someone else would do this for me and my little one is just overwhelming. That someone could knit such a work of art, and then give it away (to me!) is simply stunning, much like the shawl itself. Even a year later I’m at a loss for words. So all that I can say is Thank You Stew, from the bottom of my heart. Thank you for your kindness, generosity and thoughtfulness as evidenced by this stunning shawl. Thank you for the patience it must have taken, the steadfast nature you have always shown. Thank you for sharing your talent and time with us. Thank you for your friendship and for being Ciarán’s special Aunty. As you can see he is very happy about it :)




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