Knitting and Reading : : Life Lessons

IMG_9510 My goodness. I made a sort of a new years resolution that I wasn’t going to knit any sweaters this year. I typically like a long, constant project like a sweater. This year was going to be different. This year I wanted to play around with textures and new stitches that I hadn’t tried before. This year I was going to knit smaller, faster working projects. This year was to be dedicated to using up all those single skeins of lonely yarn sitting in my stash basket.  And so this year began and I cast on for this beautiful little hat full of texture.

Now what I hadn’t learned back six weeks ago, is that in order to knit small projects, you must always be one step ahead of yourself. Because a hat can be finished in a few days (or less) you need your next project all ready to go. Choosing the next project for me is a long process involving much obsessing on ravelry and trips to the yarn store which is far enough away that I must make an afternoon of it. It takes me many days to choose a new project. This space between projects, it can be an enjoyable process or it can be a hinderance when you least expect it.

Because when you finish a beautiful, quick little hat one day, and the very next day your mother suddenly passes away, you are left to grieve without that one comfort you depend upon in your daily life, knitting. And that is where I was left exactly one month ago today. Sitting with a finished hat, in the ER, my soul filling with the most horrible sorrow imaginable, and nothing to knit. Nothing. It may sound strange to admit how lost I felt without something to knit during a time of grieving, but there you have it. When you are left without your constant daily habit during a time when your most constant of constants has left this world, you are left feeling completely lost and ungrounded.

It’s taken me this full month to even want to think about finding a new project. And it’s taken me this full month to find my voice here again. In this month I’ve learned something. Well, honestly I’ve learned a lot of things, but this truth is relevant to this space. I’ve learned that I am a knitter of sweaters. I am a knitter who likes the commitment of long term projects. Hats, mittens and smaller projects can be thrown into the mix, but I need that reliable large project to return to at days end.

My very last post was a photo of a chalkboard that I keep on my mantle with the quote, ‘Enjoy this Life.’ written on it. Garrison Keillor said that at the end of one of this Prairie Home Companion stories last year and it’s stuck with me. My mom was the first to comment saying, ‘Amen!’, she died just four days later. I couldn’t think of a better post to have sitting front and center for the last month.

Enjoy this life. Amen!
(cardigan: Fairwind. reading: strangely enough was reading Diane Keaton’s ‘Then Again‘ her autobiography twisting together the tales of her own life along with her mothers life and death. good enough book if you are a Diane Keaton fan, but not a must read.)


  1. says

    I’m so sorry for your loss. Thank God for knitting! My Mum taught me how to knit years ago, but as soon as I discovered boys, everything I knew was put on the back burner. After my my passed away when I was 21, I eventually picked up a pair of needles and messed around with some yarn until it resembled an article of clothing. I will be 48 next month and so far I’ve always stuck to hats and scarves, but my challenge is to branch out and make a sweater! So we’ll have to exchange pics (eventually)

  2. Sara D says

    I am so sorry to hear about your loss. I will keep you in my prayers. It is good to see you back. I have missed your posts.

  3. Jody says

    Dear Kendra, I’m so sorry for your loss. I enjoyed reading your Mom’s comments on your blog. I hope that when all is said and done that she did “enjoy life” and that you continue to enjoy yours and share it with us. I understand the feeling of not having that project ready…that project that brings you back to earth and allows you to focus on something other than your sorrow, frustration, anger or whatever else you may be feeling. Big or small, I’m sure your next project will be beautiful.

  4. maryannehommel says

    Kendra, I’m so sorry to hear about your mom. I’m praying for you and your families comfort right now. Sunday night I got home from 4 days in Sonoma County, a trip I’ve dreamed of for years. It was healing for my soul to see the lush hillsides, beautiful oaks and the barest hint of promise on the vines. Grief and joy can be companions, may you have peace in both today.

  5. Georgette Howington says

    My deepest condolence to you and your family. I have been following your blog for some time now and enjoy your candid, well-written and insightful posts. Thank you for sharing such a personal and touching experience.

  6. says

    I’m so sorry for your loss. Sending good thoughts and prayers your way. Knitting definitely brings a calmness to life and helps me deal with stress and troubles as well.

  7. says

    Oh I’m so sorry! It is very hard regardless of how expected or not the death of someone you love is. I hope that you will find comfort and peace in the people you have around you and doing the things you love.

  8. Angela says

    {{{{{{hugs}}}}} Wishing you comfort, peace and strength and tons of knitting as you walk through the stages of grief. This post has moved me…my Mom passed three years ago…it was unexpected…she was not only my mother, but my best friend, confidant and like you said…my constant.

  9. says

    I am so sorry for your loss. Memory eternal.

    When we were losing my FIL, I brought my knitting, but honestly couldn’t work on it. Likewise, when my friend was dying of cancer, I just couldn’t bring myself to knit. But, I had my projects with me, just in case. This is why I keep multiple projects going at once.

  10. says

    I am so terribly sorry for your loss. I haven’t yet lost a parent but I know that I will be shaken to my core. I am so sorry that you are going through that and that you didn’t have anything knitting to do. Something familiar and repetitive like that can be so comforting. It’s funny, both my grandma and my mother knit and I picked up knitting again after many years off in part because it made me feel connected to my grandmother, who had died.

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