Tuesday, January 29, 2008

The Baby Blanket

There are times when knitting can be a solace, a lifeline, the very thing that keeps you going when life is not going the way you want. The baby blanket was that knitting for me. It was on display at my LYS, Double Ewe, for a time. It is log cabin blocks with a yellow feather and fan border around it.

My daughter announced that she was going to have a baby and I wanted to knit a baby blanket for the new life coming. So I started the Mason Dixon log cabin recipe from their book Mason Dixon Knitting. At the same time my Dad was declining in health. He had a major surgery and we thought that he would get better. He didn’t. Many days were spent in the emergency room, then in the hospital and visiting in the rehab nursing home. Perfect knitting project! Garter stitch, mindless knitting, knit 9 ridges, turn, pick up on the next side, knit 9 ridges, repeat as needed. Then my husband’s employer announced yet another layoff. He decided to be proactive and take the voluntary buy-out in order to get more severance and so Dad was slowly dying and husband was facing unemployment.

Knit, knitknit.

We found a nursing facility for Dad, moved him in. They called because he was not doing well (I probably was at Friday knitting at Double Ewe when they called, knitting) and we decided to send him by ambulance to the emergency room again. 10 days in the ICU.

Knit, knit, knit.

We took turns staying all night in the hospital. Dad died of MRSA, the staph infection that is so resistant to antibiotics, after a 10 day struggle.

Knit, knit, knit.

Funeral arrangements, coping with a grieving mother, oh my, just writing this brings tears.

Knit, knit, knit.

After the funeral, I couldn’t face the blanket. All I could think of was my father and his long struggle and eventual death whenever I thought about picking it up. It sat for months. I brought it on vacation but didn’t touch it. But babies come on a schedule. So I couldn’t let it languish as a forever UFO. I picked it up again and there wasn’t much left of the body of it – the log cabin blocks. I finished the blocks – four of them, and sewed them together. I had been dreading sewing them together but it wasn’t that hard to do. Then the decision about what to put on the edge. I looked at various edge patterns and eventually found a baby blanket pattern on the knit list with an edging that had no picture so I made a washcloth prototype to test the pattern. Husband still unemployed.

Knit, knit, knit.

I liked how the washcloth turned out so I adapted the pattern for the stitch count of the baby blanket and picked up hundreds of stitched around it and knit, knit, knit. Husband got a job offer, then another one, decisions had to be made!

Knit, knit, knit.

I finished the blanket. My husband has a new job that he loves. Abigail was born a month ago and we’ve become grandparents. A new life starting as we’ve lost a loved one. Life is like that.

Knit, knit, knit.


Jeanice said...

How touching, Ann. We are fortunate to have knitting and friends to help us through the deep hurts and the incredible joys that this life gives us. You have put it into words so well. Thank you.


Mary Jane said...

Beautiful story, thank you for sharing.

Olga said...

That was very beautiful. My daughter was born 8 months after my dad died too, so I know the pain and the joy of saying goodby and hello.

Kaye said...

No truer words have been spoken. Thanks for sharing.

Debbi said...

Beautiful blanket, adorable baby, wonderful story.

Kim said...

Found you through Yanrival. All I can say is wow. What an amazing and touching post.

Laura Sue said...

I'm here from Yarnival. What an amazing post. This was deep sharing--thank you. And what was that edging? I LOVE it!

sprite said...