Roll along Iowa, Don't ever
Always a winner be!
Get that ball, Give your all,
For dear Old Gold...
- "Roll Along Iowa," written by John Woodman
Every autumn, just before our leafy trees burst into yellows and
reds, there are Saturdays, known here in Iowa City as football
Saturdays, when our little town glories forth in black and gold,
the team colors of University of Iowa Hawkeyes. The rest of the
year, we enjoy a no less subdued, but slightly more scattered
showing of black and gold t-shirts, sweatshirts, jackets, hats,
and scarves. Several times a week, on my way to the grocery store,
I pass Herky the Hawk, a black and gold stature of the football
team's mascot. Iowa is the Hawkeye state. And Iowa City, home of
the Hawkeyes, is a black and gold town.
As friends and neighbors prepare for the football season,
purchase tickets, and plan tailgating parties, the Preemie
Project's volunteer stitchers join in the team spirit. Locally
based, they hold an annual "Hawkeye Donation". On the Friday
before the first home football game, black and gold preemie hats,
booties, and blankets are distributed to the University of Iowa’s
Hospital’s Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, conveniently located
across the street from the football stadium. The event is
enthusiastically awaited by both staff and families.
Understanding all this,
should it be any surprise that this spring I find myself, for the
first time in my long knitting life, stitching the black and gold?
A Hawkeye healing shawl for a very special fan.
News travels fast in our town. A village, my husband Rody calls
it. So at coffee with a friend I heard the news. An acquaintance
was ill. Her diagnosis--life changing. On a walk later that week,
another friend filled me in the details. I offered a healing
"What colors do you think she'd like?"
"Black and gold. She's a huge Hawkeye fan."
"Are you sure?" I asked.
"Absolutely. She'll love it."
We continued our walk, switching the conversation to our work,
and searching the woods for cardinals and the hopeful greens of an
Back at home, I worried the shawl. Team colors were fine for game
days and athletic apparel, even sweet tiny preemie hats, but a
healing shawl? Could black and gold be softened into colors of
It so happened that I had some lovely Superwash
Merino in Dijon, a warm "old" gold. I'd let it cheerfully
dominate and be accented with the more somber black. Knitting it
on size 8 needles, two sizes up from the ball band suggestion,
gave a gauge of 4 stitches per inch and a gentle drape. The
finished shawl was cozy, easy to shoulder on. The black and gold,
the colors I had needlessly worried over, added a familiar and
Making a Hawkeye healing shawl is the closest I have come to my
town and my alma mater’s football culture. Stepping in with
needles in hand seems a fine way to begin.
The rules of the game are still beyond me. But the shawl will
belong to a soul who knows about tackles, touchdowns, and winning
scores. And this fall, on home game Saturdays, when our very air
pulses with excitement, I'll be hoping with my all knitter's
heart, that in good health and fine spirits, she'll shed her other
cloak of identity, her illness, and find her place in the black
and gold sea of the cheering crowd. Go Hawks!
The Hawkeye Healing
Shawl, a bottom up a triangle, is easily adaptable to
any team, school or camp colors. By continuing the
pattern, you can make it as large as you like.
Collection Superwash Merino, two skeins main color,
one complimentary color
Gauge: 16 stitches per 4 inches (4 stitches to
Suggested dimensions: approx. 48 inches across
top, 22 (unblocked) inches from top to bottom triangle
Cast on seven stitches in main color.
Row 1: K2 (knit 2), pm
(place marker), yo (yarn over), k1, yo, pm, k1,
pm, yo, k1, yo, pm, k2.
Row 2: Knit, making sure to pick up the yarn
overs and knit them.
Row 3: K2, sm (slip marker), yo, k to marker, yo, sm, k1, sm, yo, k to marker, yo, k2.
Row 4: Knit, making sure to pick up the yarn
overs and knit them.
Repeat Row 3 and 4. Four stitches are added every other
Knit ten rows in Main Color, then two in Complementary
Color. Continue to desired length.
Bind off loosely. Weave in ends.
here for the Natural Comfort Shawl pattern.
This pattern can be used with LB
Superwash Merino, an I or J hook, and adding a
contrasting color stripe every 1.25 inches or as desired.
The Preemie Project:
The Preemie Project is expanding their Hawkeye Donation
Drive this year. They are accepting hats, booties, and
blankets in Iowa State Cyclone and Hawkeye-themed colors.
Donations will be distributed to both the University of
Iowa Hospital and Blank Children's Hospital in Des Moines
on September 8th before the Cyclone-Hawkeye game.
Hats and booties can be sized 1-3lb up to 9-11 lb
according to their measurements
guide. Follow their website and
page for updates.
Mail donations by: August 27th
Mail to: The Preemie Project, PO Box 1310, Iowa City, IA