When my daughter died last October, a week before her due date, one of the most strange things about my sadness was that my hands weren't busy. I had been making baby clothes, soakers and stuffed animals - and then when I got out of the hospital I put all that away and did not know what to do. I didn't want to start a new project, which would forever remind me of the excruciating pain I was in. I ended up working on a cross-stitch project that I had already been working on for about 2 years - a photo of my husband and I dancing at our wedding. It was time-consuming (a blessing when you are grieving), did not take much thought (also helpful), and the photo of my husband and I holding each other helped me remember to be grateful, even then.
It has been almost 9 months since then, and I have worked on a lot of other projects since. But despite the growing number of friends I have who are pregnant or have babies, I have not been able to bring myself to work on any baby-related item. Instead, I decided to start something entirely for me. I've been calling it My Selfish Blanket, and it has helped me remember that I need to take care of myself, too.
It's a knitted blanket, made with sock yarn, on size 3 double pointed needles. So far I've been averaging about a square per week. I currently have 13 squares done, and 1 on the needles. I figure I'll need about 80 squares to have a good-sized blanket.
The way the rest of the knitting world knows this blanket is by the name Barn Raising Quilt - the idea is that a lot of people each knit one square, and contribute. There is something resentful and rebellious in me that rises up and thinks I Can Do This On My Own - that I don't want anyone else to touch this, all those people who get their babies and their families and don't know what it's like.
That feeling ebbs and flows - and another takes its place. There's something about the insanity of this project - the fact that I am making a queen-sized blanket on sock yarn and size 3 needles, the fact that it will take me at least a year to complete, the vastness of this project that reminds me of the work that goes into living a grieving life. That there is this huge, seemingly insurmountable chore in front of you, and all you can do is take another breath, knit another stitch, keep going because that's where the work is, that's what you have to do.