Promise shawl being worn around the shoulders

Promise is an original lace shawl in the “Journey’ series designed and handknitted by Margaret Stove. The shawl was commissioned by Claire Bruell of Auckland, New Zealand in 2003.

It is a circular shawl hand-knitted on size 2mm needles from handspin superfine Merino plyed with handspun Bombyx Moire silk.

The fern edging was knitted first and then stitches were picked up along the straight edge and then knit towards the centre.

New motifs designed specifically for “Promise” are the ‘Menorah’ and ‘Tree of Life’ used in the insertion.

“Promise” in process.

“Promise” tells of the journey from Czechslovakia to a land promising refuge for Claire’s family. The positioning of the Jewish symbols on the ‘garter stitch road’ reflects a format used in the decorative folk art of Czechslovakia. The circle reminds us of the journeys around the world made by so many refugees fleeing oppression.

Although ferns are found throughout the world they are a particular symbol of New Zealand. The Blechnum fern is strikingly colourful in the spring as it begins as a brilliant red moving through orange and yellow as it ages to eventually become a dark green. As well as being used for the encompassing border a fern has been adapted to form a six pointed Star of David in the centre – a universal symbol of special Jewish significance.

The Rata flower, has been chosen for both its colour and shape in the design. It makes a brilliant splash of colour in New Zealand forests in the late summer. The red, candle-like stamens are ‘lit’ with yellow pollen.

Claire provided considerable input into the final design for the shawl by providing information about her family background and making choices from the ideas I sent to her. She stressed she is a ‘colour’ person and so once again I had the opportunity to dye another ‘knitted canvas’. However, this also made it difficult to provide Claire with a definitive impression of the finished work as knitting, especially such filmy lace, is difficult to draw and a painting evolves as it is being worked.

It was a great milestone on this ‘journey’ for me to finally meet Claire and I wish her much joy in her ownership of “Promise”.

Copyright 2003 Margaret Stove