Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Cross Country Drachenfels

Early this year we packed up our family and animals and headed west for a few months while Will was working in the Bay Area. In anticipation of our 30 hour drive home I knew I needed a knitting project to pass the time - because contrary to what you may expect, driving for 30 hours with two animals, two toddlers strapped in their carseats and a trailer hitched to your car is actually fairly relaxing, as long as you're not the one driving. 

I had noticed Melanie Berg's Drachenfels pattern earlier and thought it might be the perfect project for a long road trip - big but not overwhelming and requiring little attention (anything too complicated would inevitably trigger my motion-sickness). And with its interesting, asymmetrical color pattern I thought this easy knitting would result in a really beautiful shawl. 

I went to the only yarn store I could find near us - Knit This, Purl That in Pleasanton. I am usually lured mostly by color when choosing yarn and the Malabrigo Finito I found was just what I was looking for. More specific notes on the yarn can be found on Ravelry. I began the shawl in the days before we packed up and said goodbye to the Bay. 

San Francisco Bay
Then we loaded up on snacks, hitched the trailer to the car and started out on our journey home... 

Through California into Nevada,  across the salt flats and all the way to the Great Salt Lake. We stopped for a day of rest in Park City, Utah.

The shawl grew as we logged the miles into Wyoming, watching the landscape change along the way.

Trains were a highlight of our trip for Eli
Flatness for miles across Nebraska

…Across Nebraska and Iowa, and finally home to Minnesota. 

But the shawl wasn't finished yet, and in June it accompanied me the rest of the way across the country when I attended Squam in Holderness, New Hampshire. Squam deserves a post all its own, but suffice it to say for now that there is no better place to knit a shawl (or anything for that matter) than at Rockywold Deephaven Camp surrounded by others who share a love of knitting.

Our evening knitting spot
West Water cabin

Squam Lake
When I finally finished the last stitches of its i-cord bind off and wove in the final strands of yarn from the color changes, this shawl had travelled with me from coast to coast and back to our home somewhere in the middle.

One of the things I love about knitting is its mobility. Unlike sewing, another love of mine, knitting will accompany you throughout your house, to the playground, to your children's dance classes or, in this case, across the country. And I like to think that each stitch captures something of the moment in which you knit it. In this way, my Drachenfels shawl is not only a beauty that will warm me in the coming months, but also a memoir of sorts of my journeys this year. In it I see the memories of our time living in California, that precious time we spent together as a family on the road and the magic of my first solo trip in almost six years to Squam.


  1. Alyssa, you are a wonderful human. I'm grateful to count you among my friends. Miss you, girl. <3

  2. I see you're staying true to the maize and blue! I've been thinking about you and your trip to California. I'd love to talk soon.

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