A certain amount of acceptance comes with knitting a gift for a baby or a child. After all, babies and children grow, often very quickly, and soon enough the gift doesn’t fit anymore. And for the knitter, that can make the whole enterprise feel a little futile…a little empty, I guess. Couple that with the nagging suspicion that the child’s parents (usually non-knitters) might not fully appreciate the cost, time, and effort that goes into the gift, or, worse, that the parents might not even dress the child in said gift at all, and it’s a wonder any knitter would set herself or himself up for such heartbreak.
But in my experience, another feeling supersedes these others and makes it not only possible but in fact downright pleasurable to knit for a child. As I sit here typing, I’m struggling to find the right sentiment to describe it—a mix of love and hope and possibility, I suppose.
Some of the women in my knitting group work on what they call “prayer shawls.” Apparently they work the shawl in a three-part knit stitch that somehow evokes the trinity. I’m not exactly sure how the stitch works, but I do know that as they knit, they pray for the recipients.
I’m not the most religious person on the planet, so when it comes to prayer, I often find myself sending good vibes or “wishing” a person well—hoping for peace and happiness rather than asking a God to bring it.
Last weekend, I attended my niece’s christening as her godmother. I wanted to do something special for her, so I decided to knit her a cute little sweater (the Child’s Placket Neck Pullover from Last Minute Knitted Gifts.) As I was knitting, I found myself thinking about my niece—envisioning her as a baby, a toddler, a child, and a young girl. I imagined her wearing the sweater while playing outside, running (in that funny way that toddlers do) after her dog, making messes for her parents to clean up, going to pre-school, etc., etc. I imagined her laughing and smiling, reading with her parents, learning about the world around her, growing up. And soon enough, the sweater was done.
Here are two pictures of the sweater. As you can see, it’s not quite finished. I have to stitch up the seams under the arms:
This close-up shows the placket. I still need to block the sweater and sew on the buttons:
As goofy as it sounds, I suppose what I was doing could be considered praying. As I was knitting I was meditating, hopefully, purposefully, on my niece and her childhood, creating positive experiences for her in my mind, wishing her happy and healthy. At one point, I realized that I didn’t care at all how long it took me to finish the sweater, or how I’d feel if her parents didn’t use it, I only wanted to express my love and hope for her.
I’m not sure this post accurately conveys the warm feeling that I felt, or how good it felt to feel it. I guess I’m not a person who feels at peace very often—I tend to be more cynical, more apt to focus on the worth of a particular task or outcome rather than the inherent pleasure of performing the task itself. This experience was different and I’m glad.
*The stitch tally is obviously an approximation, but I think it’s pretty close…