Saturday, March 21, 2015

Knitting for Love by Milou Koenings

crochet heart
I had taken the kids to the park, not because it was a sunny day - it was hazy - and not because they needed to run around - they always did.   

I had grabbed my "going to the park" bag, which was always at the ready by the door, next to the stroller, and taken kids, bag and stroller down the block because I needed to cool off, something impossible to do with the object of my furor camped on the couch of our living room, stewing.

What had we fought about?  I certainly don't remember.  At the time it seemed terribly important.  Or at the very least, terribly irritating.

The kids toddled off to the sand pit with their shovels and pails.  I settled down on a nearby bench.  When I saw they were happily playing, I reached into my bag and pulled out my knitting.  Mindlessly, I started looping the burgundy yarn between my fingers, anchored the knitting needles under my arms and started working.  My thoughts were elsewhere, still ruminating on the argument with my spouse.  Other than frequent glances at my children, I was hardly aware of the other kids in the playground.  It took me some time to realize that a group of boys, perhaps six to eight years old, had grouped in a semi-circle in front of me to watch me knit.

Their eyes were fascinated.  I suppose they were more used to seeing moms tote books and cellphones than engaging in traditional crafts, because they were having an intense discussion about what it was exactly that I was doing.  (There's something charming about young children's ability to talk to each other, oblivious that adults around them can actually hear them.)

"She's crocheting."

"Duh, that's not crocheting, that's knitting."  I was impressed they even knew the two words.

"What's she making?"  I kept my eyes down, curious to hear an answer.

"A blanket." Wrong.

"Look, it's a sweater." Correct.

"What's she making a sweater for? Doesn't she have money to buy one?"  Two of the boys shrugged and continued to stare.

One of the older boys frowned, staring at the knitting accumulated on my lap.  Finally, he came to a conclusion. "Look at the color.  It's a sweater for her husband."  Correct, actually, but women don't wear burgundy? 

"Yeah, that's what wives do for their husbands," confirmed another kid.  "Make them sweaters." Really? Huh.

Eventually, one of the boys got the courage to ask me if that was, indeed, what I was doing.  I showed them how to knit a few stitches and then they wandered off.  But the point that had seemed most important to them remained: I was making something for my husband.  I looked down at the piece on my lap and picked up the needles.  I knit one. I knit two. Stitches for my husband.  I knit more.

Slowly, the anger I'd felt dissipated, each stitch moving it out of the way, making room for care.  By the time we got home, I really didn't recall why I'd been so upset at the one I love.

This happened a long time ago.  Both of those toddlers are teenagers now.  Mothering teens is not for the faint of heart. Sometimes, it's hard to remember the sweet, yummy creatures they used to be.  It takes reaching deep, sometimes very deep indeed, to mine yet more patience and keep fanning all those warm fuzzy feelings, when by all reasonable measure you've reached the end of your rope.  That's when I reach for more thread – it's no coincidence that I've taken up knitting again. 

The lesson I learned in the playground stands me in good stead now.  It's hard to keep wanting to ground your kid forever while you're knitting her a soft, fuzzy garment to protect her from the cold and keep her cozy.  Row by row, I find patience and calm again.  Then I put down the needles and enter the fray of mothering once more.

There may be a lot of sweaters in our near future, but with a bit of luck – and lots of yarn – there'll be a lot of warmth, too.

Milou Koenings writes romance because, like chocolate, stories with a happy ending bring more joy into the world and so make it a better place.

Her novel, Reclaiming Home, A Green Pines Romance, is available at Amazon.

You can find her on her website,, on Facebook, Goodreads or Twitter.


  1. Lovely story, Milou. And cute with the kids. I often think I'll take up knitting ... maybe one day!

  2. I used to knit but I gave up a long time before I had kids. I guess we all have our ways of dispelling anger and irritation and finding peace. I do that by walking around my garden and remembering how lucky I am to have all the good things in my life including my hubby and my grown up kids.

  3. I love to knit too. Loved the conversation between the boys!

  4. I don't knit much anymore, although I've started some socks. I crochet faster, so when I have time, that's what I do. I crochet for Project Linus. I loved hearing what those kids thought of you knitting!

  5. Beautiful story and I admire anyone who can knit. I seem to be all thumbs at the process!