Friday, 15 March 2013

A caged songbird

When I was at university, I was looking after a canary while its owners lived abroad. They thought it was a female, because it didn’t sing. When the bird had gotten used to me and its surroundings, I opened the door to the cage and let it fly freely inside my student lodgings. It was not a large room, but I thought it was better than sitting inside the cage all day.

Then a miracle happened. During the next few weeks his eyes became sparkling and the feathers became brighter and more intensely coloured. But the most amazing thing was that he started to sing. Every day when I came home from university, he flew out of his cage, sat on the highest point of the cage and sang for me. It always started with some beautiful trills, sliding into a series of long melancholic tones. His song was very sad and amazingly beautiful (not unlike these samples; one and two, but a bit more melancholic). He kept on singing for half an hour before finishing, always in the same way, and then flying back into his cage again.

I fell completely in love with this bird, and it was with a heavy heart that I gave him up when the owners returned. I knew they were not going to let him out, and that he would become pale and quiet again. It still hurts to think that he ended his days locked inside his cage.

Currently, I have to make do with the birds outside. Wild birds are very interesting. They are not used to being seen, so when you make them aware that you see them, they get confused. Some get frightened and fly away, while others are curious and want contact. When I was working in my garden last spring, I got in contact with a small red robin. He jumped around me, flew away with some nesting material, came back again, sat in some bushes close by and sang for me. Observing me from a safe distance. I met him several times that spring, and every time he jumped around me and sang a bit.

I love birds and I wanted to make a tribute to them. It was very difficult to find patterns that resembled birds, but I found two: one looking like birds flying in a flock and one that looks like a beautiful caged bird spreading its wings.  I chose to place the songbird trapped inside a frame in the centre of the scarf, while the wild birds fly past outside. Fri.

The pattern of the wild birds flying in a flock is actually called "Shower head", and is a pattern that I founde in  Barara G. Walker's book series "A Treasury of Knitting Patterns". The pattern of the songbird is a butterfly pattern that I found in Siri Reimann's book "The Haapsalu Shawl". I found the pattern for the boorder on the edges in Nancy Bush's book "Knitted Laces of Estonia". 
I have knitted the scarf in a thin and hairy alpaca yarn called "Air" from Du store alpaca, in a deep purple colour (no. 110). I made this scarf to wear with a filted black and purple coat of mine (see the pictures).

I have made this scarf for all caged songbirds, in hope that theyat least ones in their life may experience how it is to be free. As the bird.


  1. an moving amazing story about your songbird and a wonderful beautiful made blog. I did google friends, but my photo did not come. I do not know why.(a mistake of Please look at my knittting lace blog, when you want, of zourse. Kind regards ! hope to be back soon here. Mieke!

    1. Thank you so much. I will most sertainly visit you blog.

    2. Hi again.

      I have fixed the photos on this blog. I hope it works better now.