I was called to knit. I couldn’t have stopped if I’d wanted to. It was coming through me. I was compelled to create and craft with my hands. It calmed my mind and soothed my soul as I experienced this wild ride. It wasn’t a conscious effort or something I thought I ‘should’ do; it was a true calling . I wanted to create something beautiful, tangible and warm for all the friends that I loved; to care for them with loving thanks for all they had done for me. I felt them and sensed them; the women who had helped me in my daily life and the ones who had supported me from afar. The ones who needed help themselves who were struggling for one reason or another. We were all mothers of school-aged children. Who takes care of mothers? And what mother doesn’t need care?
So I began to take care of ‘other mothers’. I made up a pattern from a Christmas gift I’d bought for Ted’s mother the month before and started knitting these large, triangular shawls with thick, gorgeous yarn on big, fat needles. The knitting went very fast and I could finish one in 12 hours or so. The shawl’s sincere yet light-hearted essence: something to throw on over your pajamas to drive the kids to school. You would look dressed and beautiful from the waist up and you would be warm and cocooned with love (and humor) along the way.
One by one, I bought the specific yarn for that specific friend in a color that would flatter her. I would sit and commune my love into my work and think of that dear friend and the times we’d shared together; her life, her humor, her beauty and our friendship. I though about how she would look in it, how she would react when she received it and the warm embrace and caring comfort it would give her every time she put it on. It was a tangible ‘hug’; a personal gift of thanks from me that would care for her. It was a heady time and I was immersed in my own world. I couldn’t stop. I couldn’t control it and I didn’t want to. Yes, it was crazy. But it was the greatest kind of crazy.
The calling of who to knit for came in a random order. The first shawl went to Dr. Vilardi, of course. The second shawl went to Bar Scott, my sad, tragic, beautiful friend. The third friend I knit for was Carol Kane.
Carol Kane: so yummy, lovely, fun, dear and special. On a cold Sunday morning in early February, I went to Carol’s house to find the Kane family hanging out in the kitchen. (It had been Carol’s husband and my dear friend, Tom, who had told me I should start dating in the winter of 2003.) I walked in wearing the Fisherman Winter White wool shawl–#3. I took it off and wrapped it, the ‘Cozmeena’ way, around Carol. She was stunned. They couldn’t believe I had made this for her. It was heavy, rich and beautiful and she looked gorgeous even with her bed head hair and flannel jammies. As she wore it she exclaimed, “ It’s so warm! It’s so cozy. It’s like a great, big hug!” Then she twirled around and caught a glimpse of herself in the mirror and said, “ but it’s so beautiful! It’s like a Pasmina! No! It’s a Cozmeena!”
And the Cozmeena Shawl was born.