Learning to Cry


Published in The Shawl Society 3


Learning to Cry is an asymmetrical triangle shawl inspired by the tension and tenderness of The Secret Garden. Sections of gentle garter stitch in fingering weight are shot through with bands of lace weight mohair and silk yarn. There is a lightness and delicacy to the lace motif, a reminder that there is beauty even in fragility. The Learning to Cry shawl would be lovely for a special occasion, but is also sweet and simple enough to wear every day.

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It’s not often that a film can fully capture the spirit of a book. Especially when that book is a beloved, iconic childhood classic. Somehow, the version of The Secret Garden directed by Agnieszka Holland in 1993 does just that, gorgeously bringing the magical realism of the original to life. When I was designing this collection, the imagery and emotions of this beautiful movie were very close to my heart. There is a line in the script, spoken by Mary, which isn’t in the book but which has stayed with me:

“The spell was broken. My uncle learned to laugh, and I learned to cry. The Secret Garden was always open now. Open, and awake, and alive.”

The Secret Garden gives its characters the permission to feel all kinds of emotions: wonder, happiness, generosity and growth are fully present, but so are fear, rage, selfishness and grief. At the heart of the story is a lesson about what it really means to be fully alive. Mary does not grieve for her parents because she doesn’t know how to cry—or how to love. Her uncle has shut up the garden in an attempt to contain sadness. But you cannot hide from the pain of life without also cutting yourself off from joy. If you want to experience all the goodness that life has to give, you have to stay open and you have to stay conscious. Even when it hurts.


Yarn A: Bear in Sheep’s Clothing Bear Singles 100% Falkland Merino, 495m/541yds per 100g skein, 1 x 100g skein,
Colour: Smoke

Yarn B: Bear in Sheep’s Clothing Bear Luxury Halo 72% Kid mohair, 28% Silk, 420m/460yds per 50g skein, 1 x 50g skein,
Colour: Smoke

Yarn A: Heavy lace weight/ light fingering merino singles
421m/460yds; 85g

Yarn B: Lace weight mohair/silk 168m/184yds; 20g

4mm (US 6), 100cm (40”) long circular needles (or size to obtain gauge)

Tapestry needle
1 Stitch marker

22 sts/38 rows = 10cm (4”) in

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