My sister, Kate, has appeared many times on this blog, and has even guest blogged a few times. Besides being on my list of Most Favorite People in the World, she also holds the title of All-Time Favorite Recipient and Most Perfectly Gracious Appreciator of the Hand-Knits.
She is also, it turns out, an Adventurous Bad-Ass of Immense Proportions. She is leaving the day after Christmas to go to Antarctica. Camping. In Antarctica. She'll be lugging gear across glaciers and seeing penguins. She'll be able to eat all the Snickers she wants and still lose weight, because she'll be burning 6000 calories a day. She'll be participating in a Survivor-esque leadership course with a bunch of type-A business school people. She'll be Very Cold.
When she shared her plan with me, my first thought was a jumble of "that's awesome! Oh, wait, WTF it's sortofcrazy ohmygod this soundssoscary and cantheyevavcuateyou and itsOKtobackout!" Of course, my second thought was, "I should definitely knit her something."
But then I thought some more about it. I have all the faith in the world in woolies, really I do, but for temperatures this low, you need serious petroleum-based performance wear. Woolens and Burberry may have been good enough for Shackleton, but I could not live with the responsibility of keeping my sister's feet warm(ish) by knitting her socks. She needed to properly outfit herself in the correct adventure gear, and the knitwear should be just an addition. Some comfort, some color, some Antarctic Flair, if you will. After considering all the possibilities: hat liners, arm or leg warmers to go over her performance longies, glove liners, etc, I went with the simple: The Cowl.
This cowl won't have primary responsibility for keeping her neck warm. It's really just a piece of comfort, something soft and colorful and just for her, among her array of rented gear and wicking-layer-thingies and her immense Day-Glo Green parka, designed to keep her visible in the case of a white-out.
I made her two, and she can decide which she takes. I originally made the Chickadee Cowl, with Misti Alpaca Bulky, because I figured alpaca is an extremely warm and soft fiber. But as I knit it, I felt that the Foxtail colorway, however lovely it is, was not going to work with the electric green parka.
Putting aside the absurdity of wanting to match a rented fluorescent green coat she'll wear for 10 days in her life, I decided to consult the colorwheel and make a dip into the stash. I went with the leftovers of one of my very favorite yarns, Black Bunny Fibers Merino Silk, and whipped up a Darkside Cowl too.
I'll admit to being more than a little nervous about this trip. My sister is My Beloved. She is doing something that is really out of my personal comfort zone, something with inherent risks. But I trust her judgment so implicitly, and know that she'll prevail. She's trained and studied. She's going with experienced people, and she'll be seeing a landscape majestic and awesome, in the truest sense of the world.
I'm just glad she can take a little bit of my love with her.