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Soft Animal

You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
for a hundred miles through the desert repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.
-Mary Oliver, “Wild Geese”

Soft Animal is a shawl for wrapping up in. Worked with worsted and laceweight yarns held together, the luxurious blend of wool, silk, and mohair is both soft and fuzzy, and the shawl evokes the feeling of being a small animal snug and cozy in its den.

Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine,” the poet says. “Meanwhile the world goes on.”

I designed and knit this shawl in the midst of 2020, during the Covid-19 pandemic, amid uncertainty, despair, and loneliness, when all I could do some days was let the soft animal of my body love the food I fed it and the blankets I wrapped it in. This shawl is for comfort.

Soft Animal is knit sideways, from one corner to the opposite edge, with alternating bands of garter stitch and ribbing. The final border is both charted and written out.

Yarn support generously provided by The Dye Project

Finished Measurements: 80in/203 cm across and 38in/96.5 cm deep

Yarn: 800yds/731.5m each of worsted weight yarn and laceweight mohair (Sugegsted: Sea Change Fibers by The Dye Project Ecola Worsted, 100g/215yds and Pinnacle 50g/459yds)

Needle Size: US9/5.5mm

Gauge: 14 stitches and 22 rows = 4 inches in 1x1 rib, stretched slightly and blocked

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