making love

what i realize about knitting, after doing it productively for a few months, is that it is like meditation.  there is a comfortable trance you go into when your hands are rhythmically tying knots over and over again.  it quiets the mind and shuts the hectic world out.  i've found i can go far, far away while i'm knitting.  in some ways it is the most peaceful place my mind has been in a long time, a new refuge of sorts.

my favorite thing to knit so far are hats.  with a hat, you just go around and around, in a spiral that eventually becomes a tube.  and then you reduce.  reduction is exciting because the shape of the piece starts to change as you begin to sculpt it. at the same time, you can finally see the end of the project nearing.  and having the patience to finish a knitting project is a feat, in and of itself.   i knew i had graduated to official knitter status when i went to the yarn store with my dad and bought my first set of bamboo double-pointed needles.  knitting his hat with my own needles felt so official, the sleek and strong polished bamboo in my fingers, gently click-click-clicking  like a pair of busy chopsticks.  i was in heaven.
knit a hat, and you'll inevitably find yourself knitting a hat for someone.  that hat becomes a meditation on that someone, and every stitch becomes a little fragment of your love for them.  you can trace the distance of that love all the way back to the hands that raised the animal, the hands that sheared the wool, then brushed and spun and dyed and packaged the wool for you to buy and knit with.  the magnitude of love.  that is why the fateful gift of a hand-knitted sweater can be a curse in disguise, like a tattoo of your lover's name on your arm.  because the time spent on that sweater can be seen as a symbol of the magnitude of someone's love, it can be a horrible curse if the sweater doesn't fit right, looks goofy, or isn't worn.  like that too-big sweater james still talks about, the one that an old girlfriend painstakingly knit for him.  still, there's something about me that covets a hand-knit sweater, wants to make one.  i've even found a couple thrift shopping.  they are unmistakable on the rack, and for a mere five to ten dollars, they've become some of my prized possessions: a real symbol of human patience, resourcefulness and love.

i've been given a few hand-knit gifts.  this morning while i was knitting and was cold and needed a lap blanket, the afghan that my friend cathy made came to mind .  i can only now appreciate the time it took to make that afghan, with its intricate lace pattern.  she made it while my mom wasn't well, made it from hand-spun wool of my mom's favorite color, purple.  i imagine her knitting, each stitch a wish, a wish for healing, thousands upon thousands of stitches coming together to create a blanket, a blanket that might envelop my mother in cathy's love, the love of friendship, the blanket that by some miracle might heal my mother and give her some comfort in a time of pain.  that's what i imagined this morning, thinking of this afghan.

that blanket never made it to my mom.  cathy gave it to me.  but receiving it only emphasized my mom's absence, and was too painful to look at, and so for a long time i tucked it away.  but today, i pulled that afghan out, and reveled in it's intricacy and beauty.  and now, i understand.  making that blanket must have brought cathy some peace.  this morning, that blanket will keep me warm. and some day, it may keep my babies warm.  because the love of a hand-knit blanket is eternal.

infuse your work with the purest intentions of love.
share your love, and that love will last forever.


  1. You should knit a sweater for yourself Jessica just for the reasons you stated, you get to do a little meditation on yourself and even if it doesn't fit or look like you imagined (which for sure happens) at least you got the happy rhythmic contemplative time to yourself. Of course I always love the process of knitting a project more than the end result.

  2. Ohhhh I can hardly wait....looks perfect! I'll be up your way shortly to put it on.