A String of Purls

Katherine Hepburn

It’s come down to this: knitting, knitting to save my soul by calming fears and soothing nerves.

Long before the Silver Screen’s anything goes ethos, movies tiptoed around sensitive topics. Back in the days of black and whites, if a young female character started knitting, the director was announcing her pregnancy to viewers, and often to other characters. What better way to visually communicate pregnancy, and the attendant waiting and anticipation, than with a pair of needles and string?

Productive Waiting

Knitting is a boon for those of us who are easily bored.  I take my knitting everywhere to take the edge off of moments that would otherwise drive me stark raving mad.”  –Stephanie Pearl-McPhee, At Knit’s End: Meditations for Women Who Knit Too Much 

It’s tempting to view waiting, especially when it goes on and on, as wasted time. You, dear reader, are no doubt far more evolved than me. I feel frustrated when deterred for longer than what I believe is reasonable. That’s why I’m keen for change, as I wrote in “Spare Change.” It would be wonderful to just get on with things! However, the timing is beyond my control. So I knit.

Waiting, knitting, knitting, waiting.

With luxurious mohair yarn, satiny smooth needles, and a rhythmic pattern, a lace scarf is emerging from moments of madness. Working the increases and decreases, counting stitches every second row, watching yarn tension, my focus never wavers from what’s on the needles.

Knitting reminds me of eternal truth: I can’t control what others do and, if they’re supposed to do it, when they will. I am only responsible for what I hold in my hands.

In the midst of Advent, a season of waiting, I knit in expectation. Each stitch is a stitch of hope. Moment by moment, knit by purl, waiting is taking shape.

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