Melissa is off on a pilgrimage until the end of June. If you are interested, you can read about her wanderings here. She’s walking the Camino de Santiago, a pilgrim route that dates back to the 9th Century, and that ends in Santiago de Campostela in Spain, the supposed burial site of Saint James.
The story of St. James and the start of the Camino goes something like this (text from the web site of the Confraternity of Saint James): 7th and 8th century documents (i.e. prior to the discovery of the tomb) refer to the belief that James spent a number of years preaching in Spain before returning to Jerusalem, and martyrdom. His followers are believed to have carried his body down to the coast and put it into a stone boat, which was carried by angels and the wind beyond the Pillars of Hercules (the straits of Gibraltar), to land near Finisterre, at Padrón, on the Atlantic coast of northern Spain. The local Queen, Lupa, provided the team of oxen used to draw the body from Padrón to the site of the marble tomb (Arca Marmorica), a little way inland, which she had also provided. The saint was believed to have been buried with two of his own disciples, Athanasius and Theodore. The site of his tomb was forgotten for some 800 years.
Early in the 9th century a hermit, Pelayo, was led by a vision to the spot. The tomb was rediscovered, and the relics authenticated as those of St James by the local bishop. Spain at this period sorely needed a new champion or focus to inspire Christians against the invading Moors. The rediscovery came therefore at a most propitious moment. And the pilgrimage began.
(I will not expound about the whole question of stone boats piloted by angels and lost graves miraculously revealed to hermits—nor about the church’s need to justify the slaughter of muslims, which makes James seem rather less-than-saintly in my eyes.)
The Camino is actually many Caminos as pilgrims have traveled to Santiago de Campostela from all parts of Europe for over a milennium.
A number of years ago, Melissa walked the Via Francés portion of the Camino, which begins just over the French border above Spain, so that a pilgrim spends her first day crossing the Pyrenees, then walks five hundred or so miles going from east to west along the northern edge of Spain. This time, she is walking the Via de La Plata, which begins in Seville and travels for six hundred or so miles going from south to north along the western edge of Spain.
As you might imagine, she has rather sore feet at the moment. But she is in excellent spirits.
I am delighted that she has this opportunity and know it will inspire all sorts of art, but her adventures leave me without my usual photographer and web assistant (and also with a great many more cats demanding my attention and food, food, food.)
My friend Chris has stepped in as my photographer and has taken wonderful shots of my latest FOs, but I lack the necessary skills to re-size them so that they fit into the parameters of this blog. What that means is that, while I can offer you partial shots of these FOs, I can’t give you good images of the pieces in their entirety. (Aagain, all my fault—Chris’ pictures are gorgeous.)
I’ve just finished up Lily Go’s Narnia.
This shawl has wonderful texture, and I knit it from some vintage Rowan Silkstones in a dark green, which adds even more texture to the finished piece.
This pattern as written is asymmetrical above the border, but I took the time to rework the charts for that part of the shawl so that the two halves would be mirror images of each other. The pattern also called for a crochet bind-off, but that looked clunky in this already-crunchy yarn, so I did my usual stretchy lace bind-off, then blocked it carefully to emphasize the curves.
My other FO is the Jelling Rune Stones Scarf by Anna Dalvi of Knit and Knag. This scarf was one of a series of three patterns she wrote inspired by world heritage sites.
The rune stones date back to the Viking era and are (I believe) the earliest surviving examples of this alphabet.
Here you can see the rune stone that inspired the scarf pattern and which memorializes the parents of King Harald and commemorates the conversion of the Danes to Christianity:
And here’s a shot of Anna’s original scarf:
I worked my version out of Cascade Heritage Sock Handpaint in a wonderful blue color that is shot through with greens and purples (color 9829):
So I am knitting, knitting, knitting, feeding and cosseting cats, and waiting for my wonderful wife to come home full of stories about her travels.