Thanks, Knitting

Dear Ann,

In my family we never went around the Thanksgiving table, each telling something they were thankful for. I attribute this to the dour Danish forebears. Gratitude was one of a whole list of emotions that were felt but rarely expressed. (It was OK to express a complaint, like the Helsinki Complaints Choir; Finland and Denmark are not that far apart.) I remember my childhood pastor, who revered the early Christians, reacting with abhorrence to the fish-sign bumper stickers that people were putting on their cars in the early 70s. He didn’t think one’s deepest beliefs belonged on the bumper of the family Oldsmobile. I don’t know why that memory sticks, but the idea that a feeling can be cheapened if spoken of too casually has resonated down the years.

Without saying it directly, or often, I constantly feel grateful. The first cup of coffee in the morning: grateful. That my husband was a mensch: grateful every day. That my kids are compassionate and honest: shaky with gratitude. That my dog wears sweaters: more than I ever asked for, and I’m thankful.

I’m constantly grateful for knitting. The act of knitting, making me be still, letting my mind chew things over in its own time. The Ziploc bags of knitting in progress, never empty. The irritations of knitting, blessedly solvable. The yarn! The sheep! All the people we’ve met because of knitting, including my sewing circle, in which someone occasionally goes rogue and picks up knitting. Sewing circle is a more or less bimonthly source of cackles and stories and reports from lives that are parallel to mine but going off on other tangents, to other mini-worlds. A pot of fresh mint tea and a bowl of almonds. Someone settling into an evergreen pattern that I’d nearly forgotten until it occurred to me as an easier re-entry into knitting than the pattern she’d started with (one that involved bitty sleeves worked in the round).


Look– a one-piece baby kimono from our first book! In cashmere! An ounce of cashmere–if that much.


Maira made three of them, including this one in a super bulky yarn that will make a baby look like a bear cub. With freelanced ribbing at the hem. Way to make it your own. Mess with everything until it’s how you like it. See how it turns out. Then make another one.

Off to the scullery now, to be grateful for onions and celery to chop for tomorrow. Happy Thanksgiving!



(Image nicked from the Instagram of one of our favorite knitting stores on the planet, Finely a Knitting Party, in Swarthmore, Pennsylvania. What a time we had there.)




Recent Blog Posts

November 24, 2015 |

Palate Cleanser

Dear Kay, Infidelity is a central component of knitting. Wanton cheating is definitely one of the reasons I knit. I am having a ridiculous amount of fun, stepping out on my main project. I finished the body of the navy blue gansey guernsey jersey...

November 23, 2015 |

Knitting on the Road

Dear Ann: Hey, here’s the first sleeve of my Monomania cardigan. In my push to finish this sweater, I’ve been dragging it around the city with me in a little cloth bag, getting a few rows in here and there when there is a lull in the...

November 22, 2015 |

Not Necessarily Lazy Sunday: Thanksgiving Prep Edition

Dear Ann, Whenever Canadian Thanksgiving pops up on my social media feeds in October, a wave of schadenfreude washes over me: those poor knitters to the north, stuck in the kitchen prepping while I get to knit. Then November comes along and...

November 21, 2015 |

Clip & Save: How to Be a Vigilant Knitter

Dear Kay, This post is written by a knitter who loses count, who forgets where she is in the pattern, who can’t recall what size needle was used for the lump of knitting in the Knitopia tote bag in the bottom of her closet. I write this...

November 20, 2015 |

Snippets: 4 Supercolorful Things

Dear Kay, I’m declaring today National Wear a Handknit Day. Now that we are well into the glory season for handknits, please take a moment to dive into your archive for an on-trend pompom hat or an off-trend drop-shoulder intarsia tunic....

November 19, 2015 |

Modern Lopi: The Latest in Icelandic Knitting

Dear Ann, As you know, I’m a superfan of the traditional Icelandic sweater, or lopapeysa. I like the sturdy structure of lopapeysas, how quickly they come together, and how great–how actually happy–they look on people of every age,...

November 18, 2015 |

The Cornish Are Famous Knitsters

Dear Kay, I have fisherman sweaters on the brain—ganseys or guernseys or jerseys or Cornish knit-frocks or whatever regional name you give these sweaters made with twinelike wool, often dark blue. This yarn I’m using for my pullover has me...

More Posts