Knitter’s Notebook: Knit On and Model Calm

March 23, 2020

Leave a Comment

144 Comments
  • Digging out my impulse buy—it’s time!!

    • Enjoy!

  • ❤️

  • Thank you so much to Michelle Edwards for her peak into life in Iowa at this time. Here in Ohio we are shut down. All of our schools have been closed for ten days and so have the colleges and universities. As no one can go to eat or drink in a restaurant or bar, we have carry out. Our yarn shops are doing that as well. We can phone in an order and then go pick it up. They do some delivery. Costco will not let more that a certain number of people through their doors at a time and keep count of how many are in the store. I live in Cuyahoga County which houses Cleveland. We had the first three cases of the virus. They were people who had traveled out of the country or to DC. Now we are seeing the way the virus spreads so are trying to contain the spread by staying home. Most of the children are able to do on line learning. The closed libraries are a very hurtful thing for the many readers here. It will get better. We just do not know when. We all want to do what is right to keep most people safe. So we take walks and talk on the phone and are going to have a family dinner today using Zoom.Also we have combined the two knitting groups that meet at the local libraries and have emails going back and forth sharing what we are working on and how life is going and of course what we are reading. Elizabeth Zimmerman was correct. Knitting gets you through all of life’s crises. This is a great time to attack the stash and use it up. Also all of the yarn that I have put away for good will be used to make beautiful things to be worn by loved ones and myself. Knit on and stay safe.

    • The libraries have online audio books…free!

      • Yes!! And e-books, too. Read on!!!

    • Also, ebooks! I am sad that the libraries are mostly shut here–well, now entirely shut– (I’m an Ohioan too!), but I do like that we can get ebooks and audio books. It’s something….

      • I miss our library, too. I am rereading books I once loved, and sometimes, falling in love with them again.

    • Thank you for sharing what’s happening with you and yours in Ohio. It is good to know how others are coping and what life is like in these historic times.

  • Thank you for this! Just what I needed to start my day and plan today’s creation(s), both knitting and sewing and maybe even in the kitchen! A ballband dishcloth is going into my handbag right now!

    • Terrific! More ballband washcloths in the world!

  • As a young bride (1966) I lived in Coralville for a year while hubby completed his BS in Chemistry. I worked for the VA Hospital that year. I must say, none of us had ever heard of Costco in Iowa way back then. It was good to hear an Iowa voice, and I thoroughly enjoyed your essay. Here, in Louisiana, Governor Edwards has issued a stay at home order, effective 5 pm tonight, for all, excepting folks like doctors, nurses, etc. We went into voluntary isolation on Ash Wednesday, so it’s just another day for the two of us (and our two cats).

    • You would probably not recognize the Coralville of today, or the VA; both have grown greatly. Stay safe and love those cats!

  • This made me tear up! What a lovely heartwarming post. I think it’s the gift of a picture to colour that broke me though. Thank you.

    • It means a to for me to know this. Color on!

  • We were planning to retire in two years ( who knows now) and I’ve been thinking about ways to make our home more comfy. I’ve knit one KF striped cushion, with yarn for at least two more, and I’ve started a cushy blanket. I endorse your idea to knit for now and for the future.

    • Whatever you end up doing, wherever you end up living, you will have that woolly coziness, and that’s comfort, right?

  • Thank you for this, especially the drawing to color. It also made me tear up. Knitting is saving me during this unprecedented historic time.

    • Have fun with the coloring sheet. I might give it a try, too. When I finish the next dishrag!

  • Thank you! Ballband it is!

    • You will be never regret this!

  • Enjoyed this read a lot! Puts things in perspective! Knitting and crocheting is my calm, my well-being. Thank you!

    • You are welcome. Knit on!

  • Thank you for this piece. I enjoyed it as you echoed what everyone is experiencing, far and wide…in this together.

    • Love this heartfelt feeling of hope that crafts give us especially knitting. I love to cross stitch also. Keep holding the “big picture” of life. It is hard at times.

      • Amazing how helpful a dishrag, even one still on our needles, can be!

    • We are all in this together. It’s been great reading these comments and hearing from far and wide how we are living now.

  • Thank you for this!

    • You are most welcome. Stay well!

  • I too thought these words were beautiful and perfect for our time. I am a Christian so I look to God for comfort and wisdom at this time. Let’s all knit on!

    • Hi Mary Harker, I’m also a Christian so I look to God for comfort, wisdom and strength. I’m also a crafter, focusing on knitting at the moment, and spending more time than usual with needles and yarn in my hands during this stay-at-home time, hoping it doesn’t last too long. I’m working on socks right now, but I want to do another dishcloth, this time the Log Cabin dishcloth. Ann and Kay’s recent post that included free videos on knitting myths prompted me to try them. Keep on knitting, everyone.

      • Thank you so much Michelle. I love this read! Especially “knitting is an act of faith and hope. It is about believing in the future, a time when you will use all those dishcloths.” It is part of my faith.

        • Rachel, you are welcome.

      • Thanks for writing, Mary! We will keep our needle clicking on.

    • Thank you!

  • The Ballband Dishcloth is properly comforting, isn’t it? I knit three of them last week – and after the third, I thought I had it out of my system, but last night when we got the word that Ohio is going into shelter-in-place, I started eyeing my dishcloth cotton again. May we all knit on through this crisis, and come out safely on the other side. <3

    • Thank you! The wonder of the simple dishrag!

  • Thank you. I will be home bound for awhile and am looking forward to reading, knitting and listening to audiobooks. Problem: hardcover books are too heavy — publishers, please think about producing more books in softcover or audiobooks.
    Hope to find something like that in Michelle’s work.

    • Good idea. Publishers, are you listening?

  • Lovely piece, thank you ❤️❤️

  • I knit 4 BBDs this weekend btw

    • Wow!! Congrats!

  • Now more than ever I would love a knitting and gratitude journal with your knitting scrawls and all your cute characters and scenery

    • Agreed!! I just ordered a planner (They’re all on sale now that we’re a quarter of the way through 2020) to do just that, but one with Michelle’s illustrations would be lovely.

      • Thanks, Kim! Good to know there’s interest. I love scrawling!

    • Thank you! Now you have me thinking. Stay tuned.

  • I’ve been knitting ballband dishcloths. I made a Kelley with 33 stitches and found it too tiny, so I made a 39 stitch Kay. It’s perfect, like Kay, and Ann. I found the slipped stitches addictive so I’m currently finishing up a mosaic dishcloth. Take a peek on Instagram @deeparathnam

    Next up is the new Purl Soho half+half dishcloth. Knit on!

    • Hey, Deepa, I took a peek at your dishrags, they are beauties! Great color sense.

  • I am in NOLA so we are also at home. Our order came a little earlier than the rest of the state’s and schools have been closed for a week. I finished two ball bands and was about to start the quivit and arctic fox hat kit that I bought in Alaska last summer (huge splurge and I have been saving it for just the right time) but switched gears yesterday and am sewing masks to go over the N95s so they can be reused more times (our hospitals here in the city are basically out of PPE and are not sure when more will be coming). I will also be delivering meals to the elderly every afternoon starting today. I am blessed that I am able to do things that feel helpful in some small way. It makes things feel less like they are completely out of control. Not sure I can manage to get used to online Mass though…

    • Thank you for this lovely post…a very comforting read this morning!

      • It means a lot to me to hear this.

    • Mass is on the Catholic network/

      • Adrienne, thanks for letting us know.

    • Wow! Thank you for all you do for others! Inspiring!

  • Lovely article. I am a reasonably new knitter and though I’ve heard Elizabeth’s name revered among others I’d not sought out her work. Now I have to.

    My Grandfather was born in 1910 and much of what you said about Elizabeth could be said about my Grandfather. The motto during the Great Depression was “Use it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without.” My grandparents lived like that until the day they died. It left a very lasting impression on me.

    I am in my late 30’s and the consumerism and disposable nature of my generation sickens me. We should care more about people/relationships and nature and less about ‘stuff’. It’s something we talk about with our kids often and I hope that and the way we live leave a lasting impression on them. Thankfully knitting offers comfort while we do it and something usable when we are done. 😉

    • Sadly we use people and value things in this country. Until we learn to value people and use things we’re going to have societal issues.

      • I see more and more folks making and mending and caring for others. There’s a lot of good out there.

    • Laura, well said. Good on you for carrying it forward. I’m 57 and was a late born child to parents who were adults during WWII. Our little island went through long starvation periods, something I didn’t understand as a child, when I used to argue with mummy about cutting off the bad bits from old cheese and using the rest…. I still have her cashmere sweaters, shrunken and darned, and luckily they fit me. I never left those values behind and am happy others feel the same!
      My best wishes to you and everyone else here, and let’s all send good energy and positivity out xxx

      • I cut off the bad bits of cheese and use the rest. LOL I remember my Grandmother washing and reusing ziploc bags until they got holes. They were heavier duty back then….

        • Laura, your grandmother was a wise women.

      • Francescapia, thank you for writing and sharing this bit of your life. My oldest daughter is sweater rescuer, cashmere, mainly. She just darned and adorned one of mine. You can see it on my Instagram feed. Best wishes to you and yours!

    • You will enjoy Elizabeth Zimmerman’s writing. Thanks you for sharing your story.

  • Thank you for this lovely start to my day.

    • @dedeperkins You are very welcome.

  • I grew up “knitting on”. My mother passed away in July. She knit on, I get it now!

    • Melanie, I am sorry for your loss. Your mother left you a great knitting legacy.

  • Another beautiful essay (and drawings!) from Michelle—thank you! I’m at work on an easy moss-stitch shawl as a 75th birthday present for a childhood friend having to shelter in place alone in another state. I will hope she will feel the love and care—and attempt at calm—that are going into it.

    Looking forward to more books and essays, Michelle.

    • Vicki, I bet she will love it. What a thoughtful gift. Calm is process, right?

  • Wonderful reminder of what to do. I knit every day and have a stash some small stores would envy. This year for Lent I decided to do a yarn fast, and use up part of my stash. So far I have finished the Bottom Line sweater with sleeves from the sweater in Wild Yarns, completed the Heartgyle socks from Boost Your Knitting, finished one pair of socks from yarn from two years ago and started on another pair, and have one fair isle arm warmer done. I live out in a rural area so am able to walk everyday and they helps also. Stay calm and knit on.

    • I love the Bottom Line Sweater. Socks are great knits, especially for walkers. I am averaging around 8 miles, these days. Thanks for writing.

  • That was beautiful. Thank you for your writing. We are all in this together, and people like you help us remember that.

    • You are so welcome. Knit on!!

  • Massachusetts calling!
    We are only allowed out for essentials.
    Thankfully I stocked up on yarn.
    But I’m having such a time matching the yarn to patterns.
    I knitted on a dress all weekend and then ripped it out last night.
    Started a baby sweater pulled tjat out too.
    Now, I’m back to the original yarn different pattern.
    This is just not ME!
    I am a very experienced knitter. 60 years.
    I just finished a childs sweater in worsted weight that I copied from an old bulky weight sweater of mine. I did all the math and conversions.And it fit her perfectly.
    And yet I can’t make and get it right a simple shower gift. In any size from 3mths to 24mths.
    Seriously, please wave your magic knitting needles in my direction oh fairy of the knitting world.

    • Oh, how I wish I had some magic knitting needles, or was a fairy of the knitting world.That’s the beauty of knitting dishrags, they are so forgiving.

  • Ahh dishcloths.

    Was my solution to my hairdressers wedding gift… along with a very nice set of all purpose ceramic bowls…. she loved.

    • Great gift idea!

  • Portland, Oregon calling. We’re hanging in there. We think we’re going to be told to shelter in place today. It is astonishing to see how many people think nothing of going out in huge crushing groups, by which I mean more than ten people. The communities on the coast are begging people to leave. I don’t know what to do about it all, so the advice is very well taken: KNIT ON!! I’m casting on a dishcloth as soon as I can. Weaker women than me have gotten through tougher times than this. If you’re looking for a reason to believe, anything, know that there is one knitter in Portland -me–who is with you. That knowledge, that there are at least two of us out there, will get us through. ❤️❤️❤️

    • Three, Lynn. I’m in Portland, too, knitting like a fiend and gardening when the weather is fine.

      • Hi, Judy, looks like you may have a ready made knitting group there in Portland.

    • Gotta chime in as a THIRD knitter in Portlandia. I was locked down early due to an immune issue, so it has taken a couple of weeks, but now I am in a sort of new normal, in which I am happily knitting a lot of hours without ever asking myself if I’m indulging too much. The really nice weather we have had (back to rain today) allowed me to get the garden cleaned out and ready when spring arrives about Memorial Day or July 4.

      My husband is a professional mental health counselor. When I said I was knitting to vent stress and not spend all day with a clenched jaw, he blessed my knitting rather than diagnosing an obsession, Eventually we will get out again, but right now, I am going to ENJOY “boosting my knitting.”

      Please everyone, take care and stay away.

      • Add in a FOURTH knitter in Portland! My husband and I have also been in lockdown for a couple of weeks – we are healthy but (sigh) old. I’ve found out that staying busy really helps – no choice, as the family bookkeeper, I had to get all the tax prep done for our CPA. Finished that Saturday, and am now ready to set up a roster of projects to keep myself balanced. Including knitting, of course.
        I always knew having a (ahem!) sizable stash would come in handy. ;o)

        • Eugenia, looks like there’s a serious knitting vibe out there. Knit one and stay well.

      • Oh, you brave and smart Portlanders!

    • Hey, Lynns, good to hear from you! Keep hang in there and knit on! Love — Weaker women than me have gotten through tougher times than this.

  • Thank you for the reminder that this art we all enjoy can also soothe our worried souls!

    • Cindy, you are welcome! We knit our balm.

  • Western PA here….we have been isolating for 2 weeks now. The cases are growing exponentially and it is somewhat frightening for someone at 3/4 century and having an underlying condition. However, my stash has been calling to me and I have found yarns (and patterns) I forgot about. Some of the patterns are out of style and I have repurposed the yarn and am excitedly planning projects. I’m also finding that those projects that need nothing more than ends woven in and blocking are also beckoning. So to all of you, stay safe, stay strong, stay home.

    • Hey, Becky, thanks for chiming in with good vibes and advice.

  • I am finally pushing on to finish my Alice Starmore sweater that I started about 5 years ago. It was slow going, then finally had to stop, because it was knit tightly and was too painful with the arthritis in my thumb. 2 years after surgery to repair it, I can now knit relatively pain free and this seems to be the ideal time to “get ‘er done”. The front and back are finished, and I’m knitting both sleeves at once. Hopefully finishing it will give me something good to remember about this difficult time. Stay safe, everyone. Knit on!

    • Thanks, Brigid. I bet you will cherish that sweater.

  • Michelle, I always appreciate your observations and joyous, poignant illustrations and your post today is no exception. I’ll be pulling out my rumpled canvas bag which has Elizabeth’s quote on one side and placing it in a place of honor where I can see it whenever I pass by. The word “crises” in the quote always meant daily-things-gone-wrong to me and, even though knowing Elizabeth’s personal history, I never thought WWI or WWII when I read that line. She definitely knew of what she spoke and now, of course, her words have new meaning for all of us. Knitters do have a role in this crisis and you described it so well. Thank you. –A WA State knitter

    • Carol, good to hear from you. I have that same bag. Time to take it out again. Be well.

  • Oh, yes, it is time for this. Stash busting easy scarves and wash cloths…I also bought some yummy yarn for some new projects.

    • Em-Knits Have fun!

  • Thank you for these mindful words…My dear mama (who died in 2016) also would say “This too shall pass” even though she was a worrier…she tried so hard to stay calm with those words!!! Knitting has been my balm especially during this time…I knit every day but now even more! Peace

    • Good to hear from you, Leah. My mom was a worrier, too. A world class worrier.

  • Thank you… ❤️

    • You are welcome, Barbara.

  • One more thing – have you all found Clara Parkes’ “Daily Respite”? It’s wonderful. I won’t try to describe it; go check it out for yourself.

  • Thank you for wise words. Brings other memories too as I grew up just north of that Costco. Now in MN.

    • You are welcome. Stay well.

  • Greetings from the great white north. I live in North Western British Columbia, CANADA. As a 3rd generation knitter, all taught by my maternal Grandfather
    , knitting is more than a hobby or a passion, it keeps me focused. I have cupboard full of yarn and am prepared to survive the current pandemic, one stitch after another.
    Auntie Barb.

    • Auntie Barb, thanks for checking in. You are prepared. Knit on!!

  • Michelle’s books are great! A Knitter’s Home Companion would be a comforting read right now if you have not read it.

    • Thanks, Nancy! Hope you and yours are well. I bet you are knitting on.

  • Beautiful, thank you! ❤️

  • I needed this today…as of tomorrow our state will be doing what many others have done already, shelter in place. That said, this really touched my heart and I too could hear my mother and grandmother saying…this too shall pass. Unfortunately not soon enough.
    I feel helpless and want to be on the front lines fighting this like all of our brave doctors, nurses and first responders. I can’t do that, but I can do as our state is mandating and stay home. Thank you to all of those putting your lives on the line and know that we appreciate every single one of you. Stay safe and I pray you get the needed supplies you need to do your job safely.

    • Julia, we all do what we can do. Stay safe and knit on!

  • I loved this post! ‘This, too, shall pass’ is so true! We need to remember all the trials and heartaches we lived and each one of them seemed the end in its moment. Everything pass eventually and we forget about it. Life is beautiful!

    • Thanks, Claudia!

  • This is beautiful and just what I needed to hear! I’m sitting here at work fighting tears of gratitude, grief, worry, hopelessness and hopefulness. These are complicated times and I will strive to Knit On! Thank you for this!!

    • Melissa, these are complicated times, so we knit on. Thank you for writing. Stay well.

  • This is an excellent time to knit for the homeless. Hats, scarves, mittens, the sky’s the limit!

    • Nancy, great thinking! Thanks for the suggestion.

  • Yes! To all this!

  • Thank you so much for your heartwarming writing and thanks too for the downloadable colouring page. Will thoroughly enjoy it.

    • Donna, you are welcome. Color on!!

  • Michelle is an amazing person, we met last yr in Latvia, So nice to see you here!! Stay strong and Knit ON

    • Sonya, great to hear from you! I think of you and Lynn when I look at the Canadian knitting basket you made us. Stay well. Be of courage!

  • Lovely article, I was honoured to spend time with Michelle in Latvia last year and treasure the book she gifted me . Take care my friend

    • Lynn, so good to hear from you. I bet you are knitting on and on. Take care, too. Stay well!

  • “This too shall pass” was my father-in-laws frequent saying. Whenever I hear it, I think of him. And they are very wise words. While it has been many decades since the world was in such crisis, we will carry on and make it through. Where I live, we have survived many a hurricane including Katrina. Yes, lives were forever changed but we survived and are more resilient than we previously were. There is no going back, only moving forward. Thank you for sharing your thoughts.

    • Good to hear this. Thanks for sharing your positive thoughts. Knit on!!

  • I’m a day late reading this, but was amazed at the number of comments, but maybe not so amazed. It’s truly a different world. I too have brought out all my projects, knitting and sewing. Today I will go to the grocery at the special time for seniors, 7:00am. That’s a first for me, Thank you Ann and Kay for bringing us this article of encouragement. And thank you, Michelle for your words of wisdom. I am forwarding it to friends.

    • Tina, it is a different world. Knit on and stay well.

  • I won a beautiful present in the Kaffe a long last year and keep hoping for beautiful inspiration to strike. However, I keep knitting a mitered blanket of mindless garter as that is all my brain can manage. Others seem to be doing extraordinary things these days. I have no kids at home, a spouse who is still working (but from home) am an excellent cook, etc. But all I can manage is to get up and knit garter.

    • You know Elizabeth Zimmerman just loved the garter stitch. Doesn’t everyone? It’s super cozy in my book. Knit on!!

  • I sorted all my yarns. Still have some from three years ago purchased on a Yarn Crawl. I have been reading my Bible and mostly the places where there were plagues and disasters….God is our refuge..a very present help in trouble….keep the faith…Christian and Jew. ,,,,,this too, shall pass. I am making Peace Pals — those little 8 inch dolls for charity. A great way for using up all those little balls of yarn. Thanks for this. I am knitting on, praying, staying in until this virus passes and we can go out an all be safe again. Peace to you, Adrienne Weber, 2250 Beebe Drive, Cutchogue, NY. 11935. [email protected]

    • Peace to you, Adrienne. Be well, and knit on!

  • Your words and images always make me smile. Thanks very much

    • Good to hear this from you. You are welcome.

  • Hi i live in Northern Ireland. I enjoyed reading your piece. I knit too. So soothing in the midst of mayhem. This too shall pass. Keep safe everyone. God bless.xx

    • Hi, Margaret in Northern Ireland! Thanks for writing. Stay well and knit on!

  • Greetings from Edinburgh ! knitting a tea towel somehow I seem to be using them more than usual so grabbed some linen and doing a very simple garter stitch bordered rectangle.

    • Hello, Edinburgh! Very resourceful thinking, and I bet your linen tea towel edged is lovely. Thanks for writing.

  • Knitting really helps with my anxiety!

  • Thanks for the lovely article! Just finishing my first ballband dishcloth and was curious how many of these things have been made since the “Dishcloth Revival” post went up. Lots, I am sure. About to tackle the icord edging.

  • Thank you for this reminder of the comfort of knitting. I’ve been sewing masks and as useful as that might be, it does not take away the anxiety of the times we are living in. I have always knit or crocheted through times of stress and these are very stressful times. So when I’m done with this note I’m going to down load some projects and head into my stash,. Hopefully when my project is completed, we will have turned the page and can emerge into the sunshine. Stay safe and well.

  • Thank you.
    Thank you for Mrs Goldman, too. I’m going to go re-read it. I’m making a very large dishcloth, also known as a lap blanket.

  • Just for the record, I’m pretty sure those EZ words were from one of her newsletters (later to become Woolgathering) during the Vietnam war. What she does say in KWT are words to the effect that knitting calms the troubled spirit and doesn’t hurt the untroubled spirit either.