Once upon a time I regularly accomplished rather lovely needlework with traditional Norwegian Hardangersøm as a favorite pastime. Family were gifted with doilies of various sizes and designs, runners were stitched for tabletops or dressers, edgings for aprons, placemats, and even baptismal cloths emerged from the unity of needle, cloth, and thread.

And then my fingers, wrists, elbows, and shoulder succumbed to the insidious arthritis that made mockery of delicate needlework.

Last of the needle arts to vanish from the spare hours of a day is knitting – albeit now accomplished with increasingly larger needles and heavier yarn than that of yesteryear.

Today I knit baby hats and car seat blankets for newborns. Fortunately, babies are very forgiving. If a stitch wiggles the wrap will still be warm. If the pattern turns out larger or smaller than intended, a simple change in needle size and yarn weight produces the desired dimensions.


Except that my current endeavor is now on its fifth (!) rip and fix. How can this be? It is a basic knit three, purl three, clear to the end of the row. As Fraulein Maria says, “What’s so fearsome about that?!”

Because the knitting pattern is so straightforward I must not be in focus with the design. Too often I am sidetracked with an innocuous question, like “Are you soon ready to eat?” Answer: “Yes.” Or, “Do you have Elaine’s address?” “No, but I can find it for you.”

Suddenly my knitting pattern has ridges where no ridge should be, symmetry that is not, and odd inches of startling correct stitching.

This from a woman who once ordered yarn and pewter buttons from Norway and knit a family of traditional Nordic sweaters in her spare time. Oh my.

Upon reflection and cogitation I have this very moment made a weighty decision. No more bullfrogging, no more sighs from the depths of despair, no more wasted hours of K3, P3 (or is it P3, K3?) to the end of the crooked row.

I shall guilelessly and unrepentantly just choose a different, totally simplistic, easy-peasy, basic primitive pattern.


Best of all, I have it on impeccable authority that the babies will care not a whit!

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