The story behind the International Peace Park shawl...

by Christina

On September 21, the International Day of Peace, I released a very special shawl pattern named International Peace Park, in honor of that day. I thought long and hard about a shorter name for this pattern but the inspiration for the shawl truly was the International Peace Park, so the name stuck. You can read more about the symbolism of this shawl on a previous blog post and on the Ravelry page. The pattern is on sale (20% off) through today (9/25) with the coupon code IPP2017 (apply at check-out prior to paying).

The International Peace Park shawl available on Ravelry

The International Peace Park shawl available on Ravelry

Today, I want to tell you a bit more about the back-story on this design. Some of you may recall that I had some big summer plans to camp and travel the Pacific Northwest with my duaghter in the spirit of the April mystery knit-along and walk-along, Coddiwomple. Those plans changed when our famil decided to remain in Iowa and not relocate to the west but I wasn't ready to abandon my ideas for a mother-daughter camping trip.

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So we made our way to Glacier National Park in Montana for a week of camping not knowing where we'd camp but with the sole purpose of spending time together in the wilderness. We compromised from the get-go... 6 miles a day of walking, no more (said the daughter), no less (said I).

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Prior to having children, I camped A LOT. We camped with our first child but after the second and third arrived, camping no longer seemed realistic. I've sorely missed camping and I've also felt a responsibility to expose my 13 year old daughter to this form of independence. I want her to know she can draw strength from nature as she moves forward in life. It was time...

We spent our first night at a campground 1.5 hours south of the Glacier National Park on Flathead Lake. We'd learned the best way to get a campsite in the "park" was to arrive at a campground at 5:30 a.m. and wait in line. If lucky, you'd end up with a spot. So we broke down camp at 4 a.m. the following morning and headed to park, hoping to get a campsite. "What if we don't get a spot?" said my daughter. I replied "then we'll figure it out."


As luck would have it, we were 4th in line with 4 spots available...and we got an amazing spot on the shores of Lake McDonald. Here's my daughter expressing her joy of both finding a campsite but also the "room with a view."

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We ventured to Avalanche Lake, one of the most accessible and popular hikes in the park. Since we arrived so early we beat the traffic headed up to the lake and were greeted with the most amazing view of mountains, waterfalls and a pristine alpine lake. The walk down made us realize just how many people were in the park...

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Other hikes revealed bear grass, furry critters, mountain goats, wildflowers galore, hunting for heart-shaped rocks, close encounters with two bears, and jaw-dropping views.

We hiked (6 miles a day, no more, no less), she read, I knit, we played in the frigid water, drank coffee/cocoa, and had time to focus on one another. What a gift!

On the last night as we feel asleep under the vast night sky, we vowed to spend time together each year for years to come. On the outside I smiled with delight. On the inside I cried knowing that this strength and independence she garners will carry her to distant lands to experience her own adventures; to make her own way in this world and to touch others with her gifts. And that's what it's all about, right?

So, not only does this shawl represent a map of Waterton-Glacier National Parks, it reminds me of our mother-daughter coddiwomple as I knit on the prototype during this time.

On our last day in the park, the smoke that covered so much of the Pacific Northwest thsi summer began to roll in leaving the mountains with the most beautiful haze as if the scene were fading out.

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It continues to amaze me how knitting connects us with loved ones, nature, life's experiences, and can provide us with nourishing solitude or create community. If you choose to knit this shawl, may you find peace.

Bird Woman Falls in the background...

Bird Woman Falls in the background...