Maybe a month ago, I tossed a pair of knitting needles and a skein of colorful yarn into my Hobby Lobby shopping basket on a whim. It wasn’t for lack of needles or yarn—there’s a giant box of knitting supplies somewhere in our attic. But you know I’m not going up there.
I used to knit on my hourlong train ride in and out of Boston five days a week, what feels like a lifetime ago, before motherhood, before we moved back to Florida. I used to make washcloths and hats and headbands.
Now I’m trying to remember the last time I knit anything at all, but I can’t recall the last finished project. Maybe that’s why I stopped in the first place—I loved to flip through pattern books and leave sticky notes on all the recipes I wanted to try, but what I inevitably wound up with was a pile of items knitted a third of the way through.
And then there was a baby and a thousand-mile move, and somehow the needles and yarn never got unpacked.
I’m not sure what prompted this craft-store purchase—it’s not as though I’m in need of hobbies to fill the already crowded hours of the day. But something in me said, “Create.” And I shrugged and replied, “Okay.”
I’m wise enough to my own weaknesses now to know I’d need to start something finish-able, so I dug up a simple pattern for a doll blanket. I could make one for each of the girls. They could be Christmas gifts.
In the evenings after the kids are in bed, my hands are now full not of my phone but of needles and yarn and growing pieces. We watch random episodes of Friends or Parks & Rec or a documentary on PBS, and I knit and Dan sketches.
The pattern I’m following requires minimal thought or focus—intentionally so, because I’m rusty and frankly, I’m tired. (Before muscle memory kicked in, I sat for several minutes the first night trying to remember how to cast on without visiting YouTube.)
After a few nights here and there, one little blanket is finished, however imperfectly, and I am on to the second. This one is moving a little more quickly; the rhythm of it is coming back to me. I’m starting to dream about bigger projects again.
The clicking needles and the cotton-acrylic blend between my fingers are like old friends, and I’m no longer as captivated by whatever is happening on the TV in front of me.
“Did we watch this episode already?”
“I’m not sure.”
I’d forgotten what it feels like to make something with my own hands.
I’d forgotten the worshipful experience of witnessing something beautiful and complex grow out of simple, repetitive movements of sticks and string.
31 days of paying attention is a month-long mission to document and give thanks for the everyday, mundane, and beautiful. It’s a series I’m writing for Write 31 Days, a yearly challenge in which bloggers pick one topic and write a post on that topic every day in October. Thanks for reading along!
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