Tuesday, February 10, 2009

ties that bind (knitting part 5)

All four of our children have the stomach flu.

Charlie has the stomach flu. And in the past 48 hours, I've determined that the only thing worse than croup is croup with the stomach flu.

Currently, I am the only one standing and I am barely standing at that. Because several days ago, I twisted my ankle pretty badly when I ran outside to stop the kids who were trying to knock tomorrow out of each other with a broom. At the moment, I can hardly put any weight on my right foot.

This afternoon, I finally decided to go in for an x-ray. Since it was the end of the day and I needed to rush back home to my ailing family, I didn't stick around for the results. But I should know something tomorrow. And so help me if I broke my foot and am put in a cast because I was literally chasing after kids, I... I ...

I don't know what I'll do.

Laugh? Cry? Consume large quantities of chocolate?

Probably all of the above.

But earlier today, before the x-ray and during a reprieve from the vomit fest, when I was sitting on the couch buried under four children that all insisted I hold them, I was feeling particularly insightful and decided that in the off chance I had an opportunity to update my blog tonight, I wanted to jot down some thoughts from a church service we had attended two weeks ago.

Before I launch in to the message that I heard (and that I want to record for posterity because I know it's just a matter of time before the Target receipt that I had written these thoughts down on will be tossed in the trash and the very next day, when I'm ready to hobble away on crutches and never look back, I'll need to reflect on this wisdom), I feel it is important to add that Charlie and I are on a spiritual journey.

We don't know yet what it is that we believe.

But we attend a Christian church that we enjoy. And perhaps with time, we will discover that following will lead to believing. And believing will lead to obeying. Yet what we both appreciate about this particular church is that they don't try to pound us with the OBEY hammer.

Instead, they accept us in to their circle and encourage us to continue following, reaching, searching and exploring how to improve our own personal relationship with God. Never once have they called us "weak", or judged us for not being where they are in their walk with Christ.

It's a great church and the band is awesome. And if either of those two things weren't enough, they also have a gourmet coffee bar.

Anyway, the service two weeks ago was about improving relationships. Although this was geared towards the relationship that you have with your spouse, I took it to be the relationship(s) that I have with my spouse and my children. And instead of just forgetting about the service (as I often do), I have tried to completely absorb the message.

Love is a matter of choice.

Love is a matter of conduct.

Love is alive when it
remembers, dying when it forgets and dead when it ignores.

Love is alive when it has
time, dying when it is hurried and dead when it cannot wait.

Love is alive when it is
giving, dying when it is exchanging and dead when it is taking.

Love is alive when it is
secure, dying when it starts doubting and dead when it stops trusting.

Love is alive when it
acts it's way in to feeling and dead when it feels it's way in to action.

One of the most profound things that our minister told us, and that I had never considered before, is that love is not about my happiness. So many people believe that if they are not happy in a relationship it is time to get out and move on. But when you base a relationship on your happiness, you base the relationship on yourself.

Relationships take work and too often they go from exciting to exhausted to expired.

The goal of any successful relationship should never be based solely on happiness. The goal of a successful relationship should be based on growth. If you can grow together and find common ground, you will have happiness. But you'll also have a whole lot of other things that ultimately, will contribute to making the relationship stronger and more beautiful.

The blanket that I am knitting for Kim is not one color or stitch-style alone. Instead, I am incorporating other colors and stitches, that will hopefully, give the finished product a warm and comfortable feel. And hopefully, it will be durable and last for many, many years.

Before I began this blanket, I had in mind what colors I wanted to use. But I didn't know what kind of pattern or design I wanted, until after I started knitting. And although I could have planned this out in advance, I'm not very good at following directions. Which is probably why the first and only sweater I ever attempted had two neck holes.

After knitting approximately 50 rows of white, I cut the white yarn at the end of the row, leaving approximately six-inches of white yarn...

... and I tied on some purple yarn.

Then, after knitting approximately eight rows of purple, I cut off the purple and tied on some white. After eight rows of white, I cut off the white and tied on some pink.

I am about half way through Kim's blanket. But once I finish it, I plan to weave the six-inch ends that I cut in to the knitted rows so that it appears that my alternating rows of color are seamless. And then, I plan to use my crochet hook to create a border around the entire blanket using the various colors that were knit. (But I'll get to that last part in a later post.)

It probably goes without saying that these past few days have been difficult. Almost everyone has been retching throughout the day and night and it hurts for me to walk, nonetheless sprint from one room to the next with buckets and pails. I am carrying children in my arms and on my back and just today, I changed my shirt no less than three times. But despite the chaos, I have found a lot of joy knowing that I am taking care of the most important thing in my life.

My family.

None of this sickness was planned. But it seems that those things that are
unplanned often turn out a whole lot more beautiful than expected. As for the well orchestrated plans, often they don't quite come together and only after a large amount of time has been invested, do I realize that I've made a mistake and need to pull out 20 rows. Or more.

This week I have missed work. I have canceled calls. I have turned off our home telephone because the ringing would wake up people who were trying to sleep. And despite my husband's weak plea, I contacted his boss and told him that he shouldn't expect to see or hear from my husband for at least the next 48-hours.

The relationships that I have with both my husband and children are far from perfect. If someone were to look closely enough, they might see knots or frayed ends, or notice that every so often, I drop a stitch or two. But hopefully, my husband and children feel the warmth of my love that is very much alive, for each one of them.

Tonight I told all of this to my husband. I actually made the comparison of my love for our family to a blanket that I am knitting. I told him that I was so happy to see how far we have grown in our relationship. It is stronger and more beautiful, every day. And like the blanket that I am knitting, despite it's small imperfections, our family unit is strong and bright, warm and durable.

In response to my deep thoughts and knitting analogy, my husband told me that he loves me completely and he would love me even if I was just a head on a bed.

That's what he said.

A head. On a bed.

I suppose it's a good thing that Charlie would still love me if my body from the neck down were to suddenly vanish. But I really hope it never comes to that because that would undoubtedly put an end to my knitting.


Now, here are some close up shots for the folks that are having a tough time seeing where exactly the needle is supposed to go to make a stitch...

You will stick your needle in to the bottom of that loop, as shown below.

The needle is pushed through to form a cross, with the right needle on the bottom...

Using your right hand, you will wrap your yarn up and over the right (bottom) needle...

You will then pull your right needle beneath the left needle, while the yarn that you just wrapped across stays on the right needle. Then, you will "push" that stitch on to your right needle. Repeat that process until all of your stitches from your left needle are transferred to the right. Then flip the needles so that your right needle becomes your left (full of yarn) and begin the stitching and transfer process to the right (empty) needle.

Is anyone following this? Or, should I take a break from the knitting tutorials and post directions for making O'Henry bars?


  1. What an amazing post. You are so talented (in many ways).

  2. I hope you all are feeling better now!
    And I loved the way you compared your family and your love with knitting!

  3. I'm going to say both! LOL I'm a long time lurker and I love your posts. I'm finally learning to knit, thanks to you...though, admittedly, I haven't pulled out my needles and yarn. I'm currently in the middle of a huge crochet project and don't want to get too many things started at once. Sorry to hear about all the sick kiddos (oh, I guess I'm sorry about the sick husband, too. lol).

  4. How about knitting and O'Henry bars? :-)

  5. Wow. You are truly have quite a time of it.

    A head on a bed is the most beautiful thing I've ever heard.

    I hope you, your ankle, and your ailing family are all on the mend soon.


    P.S. I think we are on the same path and go to the same church. Mine has the same people, band, and gourmet coffee bar. Fo' realz'.

  6. Susan in Missouri2/11/09, 8:11 AM

    I am so sorry you are having such a rough time right now! :( But, your blanket is BEAUTIFUL so far! I'm sure Kim (and her new baby) will absolutely love it! What a kind heart you are! Hope everyone is feeling better VERY soon! :)

  7. Thank you for sharing those words/thoughts from you church service. What a beautiful way to think about love... a way that we should all remember regularly. I know it will help me to think of it that way.

  8. GET WELL SOON, kids! (and Charlie).

    Hope the ankle is ok and you need no plaster.

    A DEFINITE yes on the O'Henry bar instructions please :)

  9. Thanks for sharing your church notes. I think I wouldn't mind going to church if there were Sermons like that (and great music & coffee!).
    I hope everyone is feeling better and you dodge the bug.

  10. Don't stop. I want to start knitting . . . I got as far as buying the supplies and rolling my yarn into a nice pretty ball. Could you somehow create about 2-5 extra hours in the day that I would be awake and my 4 kiddos not so I could actually start knitting. I don't have a laptop many of nights I would like to start in bed under the covers. I could print it if I had ink in my printer . . . oh the problems I have. sorry your kids are sick . . . we are recovering from ear infections.
    Thanks for the knitting help! I will start I swear!

  11. I hope you all feeling better!!

    PLEASE, PLEASE keep the knitting lessons going. I am learning sooo much!!!

    Stop by my blog and you can see how much I have learned so far...

    I have finished a scarf and have a good start to a baby blanket.


  12. Please keep the knitting coming. I love the lessons.

  13. I just located this method the other day, directed by other knitters (we're a sharing bunch, aren't we?). I hate weaving in ends - and this eliminates a lot of that!

    I hope everyone is feeling 100% ASAP!

  14. Your husband says the nicest things (let's face it - he was sick) and that is a pretty selfless thing to say (I would love you even if I got no benefit and I had to do everything for you).

    Full brownie point for Charlie in my book.

  15. Love this post. I truly believe there is a reason I ran across your blog a year or so ago. You have inspired me with your humor, compassion, insightfulness, and your general outlook on life. A year or so ago, I really needed an inspiration. And I still do many days now. And you never disappoint! Thank you.


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