If you’re going through hell, keep knitting.

OK, this is going to be a serious post eventually, but before I talk about the sad and painful stuff that has been going on in the Midnight Knitter family I thought that I should get all the fun stuff out of the way. Therefore I present to you for your admiration my WIPs for the week, a terrific score at the bead store, and the results of way too much creative agonizing.

I made some great progress on the drijfhout sweater over the last two days. I’m almost done with the first sleeve. Like the red stripe?



Cat wearing Hoodie
Photo credit: kristinroach

I found the perfect pattern to make MacKenzie a cat hoodie with the left over yarn. Won’t this look nice on the big guy? I think that the body of the sweater should be grey stripes and the hood, sleeves and contrast details will be in red. The pattern, by Kristin Roach, is free on Ravelry.

Sheep beads
…and look what was waiting for me at the bead store: sheep!! These will make the cutest stitch markers ever. I scored 10 of the little cuties.



Now for the creative burn. For reasons that will become obvious later on in the post I have been driving around a lot this week, up at all hours of the night, and longing for comfort knitting.  What could be better to fit the bill than to put together a Find Your Fade shawl? I’ve torn apart the stash a couple of times trying to put together a fade shawl. This is one of those deals where as soon as I started to drift off to sleep I would think of another potential skein to put into the mix. I agonized over it; should the shawl be a gradient or something more like a quilt? I finally dragged a crate of yarn into the LYS to have my friends help me with these decisions and to locate a couple of additional skeins to finish up the fade. Here’s what I ended up with:

Yarns for shawl.
A shawl that plays with rose, gold and rich caramel colors. My friends kept pulling out the purple from the set of yarns, but damn it, I want purple!!! so it went back into the group. The yarns don’t look that different in the picture, but in life they are varied and they play off of each other and pull out highlights in other yarns across the shawl. OK, I still worry about this one.




Yarns for shawl
Fade number two. In this shawl the colors progress from the dark grey counterclockwise around to the rust colored yarn. Several of the yarns are alpaca/silk and the finished shawl will be very yummy. Everyone agrees that this fade is in good shape.

I started the rose gold fade this evening and plan to alternate between the shawls and sweater. Why start with the fade that I’m a little worried about? I need to knit in that purple before my friends and fellow knitting addicts find out what I’ve done. It’s crazy I know. I think it’s actually because I’m the most invested in this shawl.

Now on to the trauma and chaos. Exactly two weeks ago a text arrived late in the evening.  “Call me,” it said. “I think I need to go to hospital. I’m in trouble.” I was on the phone and in the car driving within minutes. It was from a member of my family with diabetes, and he was in diabetic keto acidosis. Off to the hospital we went!

Whew. Scary, but handled. We got him home from the hospital a couple of days later and I settled in to stay with him while he recovered. Then there was a phone call…

Another member of the family had been rushed to the hospital with serious bleeding. Tests, more testing, surgery, and then lab reports: colon cancer. The chemo starts in two weeks.

Then the horrible just kept on coming. His dog had a seizure and died the last night he was in the hospital.

Maybe you’re guessed already. I have two sons, and both of them were struck with serious and life threatening health emergencies within the last two weeks; in truth, the end is not yet in sight. Without any warning the family motto became “our brand is crisis…” There’s nothing for it but to keep on focusing on the one thing before you as everything comes unglued. Food to prepare, prescriptions to fill, my grandson to hug, trips across town, prayers, and endless phone calls.

and knitting.

When you find yourself in hell, keep knitting.

Author: Midnight Knitter

I weave, knit and read in Aurora, Colorado where my garden lives. I have 2 sons, a knitting daughter-in-law, a grandson and two exceptionally spoiled kittens. In 2014 I was diagnosed with a serious rare autoimmune disease called systemic sclerosis along with Sjogren's Disease and fibromyalgia.

33 thoughts on “If you’re going through hell, keep knitting.”

  1. Sending you lots of prayers for you, your sons and your family! What you have been through in the last two weeks is a lot to take in! Please don’t forget to make sure you are taking care of you, too.

    I like the title you chose for this post. I find it to be true. You have to push through the difficult moments and any little pleasure or humor you can find along the way is a bit of silver lining.

    Now on a less serious note: your projects are shaping up nicely. McKenzie really needs a sweater after the last post. It is a rough life snuggling up on soft, squishy yarn. 😂 I love Andrea Mowrey’s patterns. They are fun to knit and I always learn a new skill or technique. Eventually, I want to get to her Find Your Fade so I can’t wait to see yours. I am currently working on her Goldfinch shawl. I have her Range shawl in the cue and then, I am going to teach myself brioche and attempt her Ramble shawl.

    All this plotting and planning happened while I was recuperating from my latest, and hopefully, last surgery for quite a while. I feel so blessed I can knit. It is really is the best therapy ever!

    1. Thank you for your lovely comment! I’m sorry it took so long to respond…my older son is back in the hospital with complications from his surgery! Ugh! Need more knitting! I may take some yarn and needles to my lovely DIL at the hospital when I go there today. She needs therapy even more than I do!!

      I have never knit Andrea Mowrey before, but now I’m going to have to check out her other patterns. I just learned brioche. I used two colors and looked at a lot of YouTube videos while I was figuring it out. In the end the the written directions in the pattern were all I needed; they just hadn’t made sense when I first read them. 🙂

      MaKenzie is dying for his sweater. It is raining ice here today and he was sooo unhappy when I let him out.

      1. My older son is still in the hospital; we don’t expect that he’ll be going home for a few more days. The chemo will start a week or so after that. 😦 My DIL is knitting some vanilla socks with the yarn and needles I took her. They are getting worn out and they are still at the beginning of the journey. I plan on taking them some nice soup after he gets out.

      2. My heart goes out to your son and DIL. I can understand their exhaustion…it is a lot to take in. Once your son gets home and they can return to normal life, it will help.

        I will continue praying for all of you. 💓

  2. I’ll keep everyone in my thoughts. It always seems that everything goes crazy at once. The knitting will help. Remember to take care of you too.
    The hoodie pattern for McKenzie is perfect. Every kitty should be so lucky:)
    I really like the yarns you’ve picked for your shawls. They’ll be a beautiful colorful distraction when you need it.

    1. I know. The knitting is like a calming center in the middle of uncertainty and chaos. We’re back at the hospital again, and my DIL is happily casting on some socks with yarn and needles I brought her.

      I brought the yarn for the shawl to the hospital with me. 🙂

  3. Thinking of you during this troubled time, and absolutely hoping for the best. And soon.

    Obviously, I don’t know your son at all, but if he’s at all irreverent, he might at some point enjoy the podcast called JesseVsCancer. Jesse is a stand up comedian who was diagnosed with stage 4 colon cancer at the age of 29, and he has compiled his journey in his podcast. But, it’s not for the “pearl clutchers” among us.

    On a lighter note, YES, I do love the red stripe!

  4. Oh, Marilyn! I don’t even know what to say except that I will hold you and your family in my heart and say prayers and send good vibes for healing and calm. I will think of you all as I knit and hope some of that energy makes its way to you. If there is anything more concrete I can do to help, please let me know (melinda at knitpotion.com)

    1. Thank you so much! I appreciate the positive energy so much. 🙂 Right now we’re maintaining. My older son, who just had surgery, is back in the hospital. My DIL and I are doing shift by his bedside, knitting during the quiet times.

  5. I’m sorry your family has been hit with medical emergencies. What a strong and tight band of ppl you are. How great to have that bond. And how fun to have friends at the LYS help you find your fade! I hope to knit that one day. I’ll probably have my mama help me choose skeins.

  6. Great advice! So sorry for your son’s health troubles. It’s been a tough week here as well…I think it’s a late January thing, but I love this: when life turns to crap, keep knitting.

    1. So sorry for your tough week. My niece sent me a text during all our crisis to tell me she was having the suckiest day ever. Let’s hope you’re right and this is a January thing.

  7. Oh my goodness what a shock to your system. What a difficult time for all of you. I’m so sorry you’re going through this. It does often seem that these crises pile on. It seems particularly unfair that both your sons would have such serious health issues all at once. And to lose a beloved pooch on top of it all. It’s heartbreaking. I’m glad you have things to relieve the stress (cats, knitting, beautiful beads). I’m not much of a knitter (it took me two years to complete a blanket for my sister) but I remember knitting at my mother’s bedside as she was dying, and the rhythm of the needles helped me get through it. Sending love and light your way. And as the others have said, don’t forget to look after you. Alys

    1. Thank you so much. I am trying to take care of myself; all we need now is for my disease to flare. So far, so good.

      You’re right. It’s the repetitive rhythm that makes it work. If it wasn’t for the knitting I’d be rocking.

      1. I’m glad you are managing okay. I find the smallest things can be quite soothing in times of crisis: a hot cup of herbal tea, a warm blanket, a cat or dog to offer a snuggle and the ability to temporarily lose yourself in a project. My very best to your sons. xo

  8. I’m sorry so much has come your way. Knitting has been a saving grace when family crisis has rolled through my clan as well. Keep knitting, take care of yourself, and I hope everyone and everything changes directions for the better very soon.

  9. I am very sorry about your sons! I hope life will soon be looking up for them and you, and that this is just a short-term “bump in the road”. But there’s nothing in life to worry us and trouble us like something going on with our kids. Those stitch markers are adorable, and I love your color choices for the Find Your Fade shawl. 🙂

    1. Thank you. It is hard when it’s the kids. I just keep doing and knitting. 🙂 I finished the sweater (it is blocking now) and started the fade shawl yesterday. It’s going to be great!

  10. So sorry to hear this, take care of yourself too. Sending positive thoughts your way. I hope your knitting brings you some calm, definitely keep the purple! 😊

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