On December 25, 2006, I began knitting a blanket, starting it on my Memere’s needles with my Vovo’s yarn. It was the Christmas after my dad had a heart attack and triple bypass surgery and I was living alone in Providence, RI. I decided the blanket would be for him, but I didn’t know quite the journey the blanket would go on – both in time and geography.
Let’s back this up a minute. I don’t actually know how to knit a blanket. I literally just started knitting a really big scarf. And as it turns out, I found out in 2009 or 2010 that I don’t actually even know how to knit at all – I only know how to pearl, which is like the opposite stitch of knitting. No big deal.
This blanket became the traveling blanket because I would just bring the project everywhere with me to work on it here and there. In 2008, I began keeping a journal with the blanket. I would write about where I was working on it and eventually it morphed to more of a traditional journal – just writing about what was going on in our lives. Over these last 10 years, a lot of people in my life have seen me working on the blanket, though they may not remember. Some of the blanket’s adventures include going to:
- climbing competitions in MA & RI for me to do while waiting to compete
- gymnastics camp in Pennsylvania, twice, to do while waiting for my cabin to fall asleep
- lots of bus and car rides to Girl Scout meetings when I didn’t have a car and would get a ride (thanks Karen!)
- family cookie day, in which I wasn’t allowed to make cookies because I was sick so I instead sat on the floor and knitted (and coughed)
- car rides to Cape Cod to see Nana & Poppy
- New York – both upstate to visit Meghan and the City – gotta make use of those long bus rides
- Maine camp – again, making the bus rides useful
- the New Hampshire hostel after a hiking trip
- in general, a lot of car, bus, and train rides
Some of my most entertaining memories are knitting at the back of the 86 bus, going through Harvard Square, and having the ball of yarn roll down the entire aisle to the front of the bus (and subsequently chasing after it); another vivid memory is from when David and I lived in different houses in Brighton; I would strap my knitting knapsack to the back of my backpack and teeter my way to his house by bike, hoping the bag didn’t swing around for the needles to poke me.
Many people know that I write goals for each year (focusing on health, creativity, finances, work, adventure, etc). Finishing the blanket was on the goal list in 2007 and 2008. By 2010, I was more realistic and wrote “add 3 feet to the blanket” instead of “finish”. By 2012, I got even more realistic and changed the goal to “add 1 foot to the blanket”.
Sometime around 2009 I wrote in the journal, “at the rate I’m going, this is going to take me like 10 years”. Some years, I would only do a few rows; other years, I would “cram” and get a ton done. Some years are completely missing from the journal – mostly because I didn’t write, not because I didn’t knit.
I was spot on with my time estimate, because I finally gave my dad the blanket on December 25, 2016, exactly 10 years after I started it.
A lot happened between 2006-2016 – I moved (to Attleboro, Brighton, Brookline, Southie), career-wise, I floated before working long term for Girl Scouts and the City of Boston. I started dating David. I traveled abroad for months at a time. I married David. My parents celebrated their 60th birthdays and 40th wedding anniversary. Both of them retired (then un-retired). We all traveled to Portugal together.
And I knit a blanket. Victory!