Introducing Roxanne

Introducing Roxanne

roxanneTo introduce my newest design to you, I first have to tell you about Roxanne Cummings, my midwife.  When my husband and I got married, we knew we wanted to have children and we also knew we wanted to have home births.  When we became pregnant with our first child in 2000, we met Kate Bowland and Roxanne Cummings, a pair of midwives who worked together as the Midwives of Santa Cruz.  Monthly appointments alternated between Kate and Roxanne and then whoever was on call would attend the birth.  For subsequent births, the midwife at the first birth tried to attend unless she was with another mother.  Roxanne was the midwife who attended our first birth and then our second and third births as well.

A home birth is a fairly intimate gathering– the mother, her partner, the midwife, her assistant, and maybe the younger siblings.  Roxanne was the perfect midwife for us.  Her energy and fire were a great complement to my husband’s solid and quite nature.  As the years went by and we went beyond our childbearing years, Roxanne always had time to talk to us if we saw her around town, she always had a memory to share with us about our birth experiences.

My pregnancies and births are a collection of moments– Roxanne curled up on cushions on the floor like a cat, murmuring encouragement for my contractions; Roxanne telling me that people are not usually planning their next birth during their current birth; Roxanne describing how your organs have to be “pretty creative” when making room for a growing baby in the uterus, Roxanne helping my older children find the baby’s heartbeat.  And so many more.

When Roxanne passed away in April, I was shocked and saddened.  She had quietly been fighting cancer, but had not shared her journey widely– she was such a public person that it made sense, because as someone said at her memorial “you couldn’t take her anywhere” without meeting someone she knew.

I sat with my grief for many days before I realized I wanted to make something to remember her by, something that would embody my memories and give me something to DO besides be with my sadness.  I had a skein of Anzula Meridian yarn in a lovely sky blue colorway called Alice that I had been saving for a special project.  I selected and modified designs to represent the life and growth and light and love that Roxanne brought to the mothers of Santa Cruz County, California.

beauty 4

Vining flowers and heart shaped leaf motifs combine with a deeply scalloped knitted on border to create a classic lace shawl which expresses both love and hope.

detail 4This pattern begins with knitting a long, rectangular lace panel. Stitches are picked up all around this rectangle and a knitted on border is added perpendicular to the existing stitches. Both written and charted directions are given and the knitter may switch between them.

This shawl can be modified in width or length. Suggestions for how to modify the pattern are given, but details are left up to the knitter. Remember that changes in the overall length or width will change the amount of yarn used and the overall stitch count.

The Roxanne shawl is available on Ravelry and Craftsy.

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