A Few Stitches a Day

The title of this post is misleading, because I haven’t had time to knit every day since CPE started four weeks ago. In fact, during week three, I went three days without knitting a stitch before I even noticed. “A few” refers to the average number of stitches I knit if you counted all the knitting I’ve done since late May and divided that by the number of days that have passed.

It’s terrifying how tiring this job is. I genuinely enjoy it, but it is so incredibly energy-sapping that when I get home (from my hour commute, and get done my homework, and help make sure there is food for everyone, and that the baby knows I love her, and keep the house straight enough that I don’t start chewing through my ankles), knitting sounds like… work.

The fact is, knitting has never been this meditative exercise for me. Others have talked about how prayerful they feel while they knit, and I get that. I feel that when I’m spinning, and I’m mentally relaxed enough now that I think I *could* get there with my knitting. At least cognitively. But physically, when I’m so totally drained, the act of wrapping yarn around needle and pulling a stitch through feels like it is creating tension rather than releasing it. My arms, shoulders, knees, and temples just need me to completely stop moving.

There’s that side of it. There’s also the fact that knitting has always been a bit of a coping mechanism for me. CPE forces you to actually deal with the stuff that you just cope with. Otherwise you’d just combust. So when I get home, coping mechanisms are a little redundant. Not entirely, but you know what I mean.

So knitting is for the weekends, or those few evenings when I can kick back and watch a movie with the fam. Or sometimes in those magical moments when I have a reading assignment and enough energy to use my brain and hands at the same time.

But it is still happening. Knitting, that is, in small doses. So here is a glimpse of where my knitting is at right now, after week 4 of CPE.


My little-sis-in-law is getting married in August, and I offered to make her a wedding shawl. I was terribly pleased when she said yes, even more pleased when she took the time to pick the pattern she wanted, and still more pleased when I found the perfect yarn in her color – “1508 Midnight” in Scrumptious Lace, 45% silk / 55% merino, by Fyberspates.



The pattern she actually picked was “My Heaven,” but I found the free translated-from-Russian pattern nearly incomprehensible. It took me about fifteen seconds, though, to realize that My Heaven is a rip-off of the highly successful shawl that I have long wanted to try, “Rock Island” by Jared Flood. I am not sure what the legality of such things is (the lace edging of My Heaven is much more extensive; maybe that’s how it’s ok? Maybe it was a genuine coincidence?), but I decided to leave it alone and happily pay for Mr. Flood’s excellent original work.

I was less happy when I realized that the first thing you have to do in this shawl is knit about a million feet of repetitive, fiddly lace edging that looks like no more than gobbledygook. I am calling it the Ramen Ribbon.



The wedding is August 9th, and my knitting time is less than I ever thought I would be able to stand, so this is priority #1 right now. It’s already a lot longer than this, but 71 repeats seems distressingly far off.

The other big work on the needles, which you’ve been asking about (or at least aunt Kathy has), is the Reward Sweater. (It’s Cinnamon Girl in Maggi Knits Tweed Fleck Aran.)  I got through the sleeves a while ago; they look like big sleeves in reverse stockinette, so I’m not going to inflict a picture on you. Much more entertaining is the body of the thing, done all in one piece to the armholes, which has been firmly established with its complex patterning.



Right now I can’t even look at this without hearing Garrison Keillor in my head, since we listened to a whole live broadcast while I got the pattern’s initial rows set up. That was before I realized I needed to pick up steam on the shawl, so I won’t be making much more progress on this for a while. But no worries; it’ll be too warm to wear for a good long while.

My reading knitting for a long time – all last semester, actually – has been an OFS-sock-yarn version of All the Shades of Truth. I meant to do a big reveal on this when it was finished, but now I’m afraid I’ll never get around to it (I guess I spend too much time with dying people?), so I’ll share this glimpse. I get to read things like a memoir written by one of my residents, and a textbook on pastoral counseling. Garter stitch is about my speed for those moments.


So there you have it – everything active on the needles these days. The sock-a-month project is on hiatus, despite only having three pairs left to knit through in Nancy Bush’s Knitting on the Road. My wheels are gathering dust with no regrets. This is a season, and I know it. I’m not complaining; I’m just shocked at my own learning curve when it comes to taking care of myself, and I stand in awe of parents who do this all the time. And when I get to the end of the day, and I have those few minutes to pick up the needles, I’m just stunned with gratefulness that I have working hands and eyes and brain to do this craft I love.

Even if it’s only a few stitches.

2 thoughts on “A Few Stitches a Day

  1. You are living a beautiful life and it’s an honor to support you. Plus we have lots of fun times….like the world soccer party with your friends, and the morning in beautiful Sewickley!


  2. I love the patterning on the Reward Sweater! And that blue is going to make a beautiful wedding shawl. Your reading knitting shawl is very intriguing. I had to look it up – might have to buy it. I actually like the grey colorway – I think Robin might like it. You are very blessed to have such a fulfilling vocation and such a loving family to help you in it.


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