I'm so looking forward to my next cardigan project. I really need to have a big thing going in my life where I can immerse myself in creating something with my hands that also engages my mind. Knitting does that for me and cardigans are my project of choice.
The knitting math gets me thinking beyond bill paying and grocery lists and credit card due dates. With knitting I’m thinking about needle sizes related to gauge and yarn weight. The grams per skein and the dye lot numbers are markers that help me chart my course through the hours of knitting.
I know that a mid size cardigan that uses 100 gram skeins and US #7-10 needles will require 5-6 skeins. I know that when I’m knitting a top down raglan that after the first skein is knit, I should be almost to the armhole area. I know that once the yoke is knit and the sleeves are separated and the body is on the needle, there will be hours of stitches without thought of shaping.
Sleeves show up around the fifth skein. That’s when the sweater really starts to come together.
Why in the world would one look forward to such complexity?
For the last two months, I have been at my spouse’s side through a heart attack, bypass surgery and recovery. We both picked up covid in a hospital situation that was struggling with case numbers that got worse by the day. Rooms have been too dark for knitting. Days have been encumbered with decisions. Hours have been filled with texts to family and friends. Sleep has been elusive. Still, I managed to finished the second sleeve on a cardigan (pictured) that I started last January before I had to put knitting aside. I even got to wear the cardigan on Christmas Eve.
Plans were to start another cardigan in early January. Then I got hit with a kidney stone attack. There was another visit to ER and another hospital procedure. There was more continued concentrating on health and less time for knitting.
It's finally February and my next big knitting project, that cardigan waiting to happen — those moments and hours at the start of a new year -- will be an island of calm. The numbers will count rows and rounds, not pulse and oxygen. The stitches will come together as color and pattern.
Immersed in that cardigan, the knitting will bring a different kind of healing to my hands and heart. What color will the sweater be, you ask? I’m not sure yet, but I have two colors chosen and yarn wound. One is the green of new life; the other is the soft pink of healthy tissue.
I'm reminded of my mother-in-law and her quilting. She would plan for a quilt top to go onto the quilting frame on the day that the Christmas tree came down. Brother-in-law Neal helped Mom take down the tree and put away the decorations. The living room would be put back into place and the carpeting was vacuumed.
The holiday finished, it was time to put up Pauline's quilt. My husband Ed and I would help her stretch the top and pin it into a vintage frame. It took all three of us to launch another quilt for Mom to stitch during the winter.
This next cardigan will have that same flavor of starting something familiar yet new. It will be a project -- a big project -- that I can get lost in and that's good.