The story of how I made knitting a baby blanket way harder than it should be, but it turned out to be a pretty good metaphor

Back in 2018, after being diagnosed with pre-endometrial cancer in my endometrial lining, I did something strange as I began the visits with the oncologist and started treatment. I began to knit a baby blanket.

Seeing as how I had never really knit anything before and I was as seemingly as far away from having a child as possible, it was an odd choice and even I realized it at the time, but I had the overwhelming desire to knit a baby blanket anyway.

I justified it in my mind as an easy project to start on for a new knitting hobby and that if it turned out okay, I could always gift it to someone in the future.  But in the back of my mind, I felt sure that I was knitting it for a future child of my own.  That was a thought I didn’t share out loud.

Even before I knitted the first stitch, this baby blanket in my mind became a physical reminder to hold on to faith that God can do things even when we think they are impossible. 

The pre-cancerous cells were discovered after I had gone to my doctor to get checked out for some abnormal bleeding.  We were trying to have a child and I was too frustrated by the fact that it was hindering that endeavor to consider that it could be a sign of something more serious.  So I was pretty shocked by the call I received from my doctor herself on Halloween 2018 while I was in the grocery store telling me the results and that they were referring me to an oncologist. 

The treatment was simple enough, if not devastating to our plans to try and have a child.  I was put on birth control to regulate the endometrial lining and get it back to a healthy state.  The oncologist told me later that my numbers were about as close as I could have gotten to a full-blown cancer diagnosis without quite meeting the threshold and the treatment options of course would have looked drastically different if that had been the case.

So maybe it wasn’t a strange time to take up a new relaxing hobby like knitting, but it was odd that I was dead set on my first project being a baby blanket and in the back of my mind feeling like I was knitting it for my future child.

If the knitting of this blanket felt like a physical reminder to keep faith that God can accomplish the impossible, then maybe it was only fitting that what I thought would be a fairly straightforward project became an odyssey of unforeseen twists and turns that seemed determined to teach me resilience and patience. 

Prior to starting the knitting of this blanket, I tried to do some educational activities to teach myself some of the basics that I had forgotten since I was a kid.  (I did technically know how to do basic knit stitches because my mom had taught me as a child, but I never really did much besides a simple knit stitch to make squares or starts of scarves).  I watched YouTube videos and even checked a couple of books out from my local library, but in the end, after a visit to the store to get some circular needles and yarn, I decided to not follow any particular pattern and to just wing it and knit a simple garter stitch blanket as an easy starting project. 

I thought because all I was doing was knitting a simple garter stitch blanket that I wouldn’t have to worry about following any exact pattern and I could just knit until I felt it was a good size and then stop.  Boy was that a rookie mistake…  For one thing, I had never used circular needles before and I didn’t have an appreciation of how much a project would stretch out once off the knitting needles.  So in my naivety, I started to cast on an absurd amount of stitches and tried to judge the size based on the look of the stitches on the circular needles.  I wish I remembered how many stitches ended up in this project to give the real knitters out there an idea of just how far off base I was, but just suffice to say it was in the hundreds…

So I began to knit.  And it was relaxing to just sit and knit the basic knit stitch over and over again.  It wasn’t hard as there was no variation or patterns to focus on.  I had chosen a nice variegated yarn with multiple colors that made it seem like there was some pattern to my work and I thought it was starting out ok and looking decent. 

But if you are a real knitter, you’ve already spotted the big problem.  It was taking me hours to knit each row thanks to the ridiculous amount of stitches I had cast on.  Hours.  I started to do some more googling and research.  People were discussing online their own baby blanket projects and I saw many giving a time frame of about a month to complete a baby blanket project.  I knew I didn’t have a hope to be anywhere near done with a normal sized blanket in a month.  I had been working steadily on it and only had a few inches.  I thought I must just be slow as I was a beginner, but the faster I worked and more I kept reading, I didn’t think I was that much slower than everyone else out there at knitting.

Life rocked along as it does.  I would pull out the blanket to knit on while watching TV or randomly work on it as I got the chance.  I remained on the IUD birth control until June of 2019 when I had another procedure to take it out and to re-test my endometrial lining for any more pre-cancerous cells.  Fortunately, the tests came back good and I was released by the oncologist!

Between working and other hobbies, I continued to knit on the blanket off and on, feeling like it might never be long enough to constitute an actual blanket based on the slow progress I was making.  I remember getting excited to discover that I had gotten my knitting time for a row down to an hour if I knitted as fast and furious as I possibly could.  How I didn’t realize this was a major problem, I don’t know, but I guess just chalk it up to my complete lack of real knitting experience.

I don’t remember exactly when the infamous night came that my blanket odyssey took that first major detour, but it was probably sometime in 2019.  I had managed to get probably a little over a foot in length knitted on this project.  I do vividly remember sitting on the couch one night, watching a movie as I was knitting away and I became horrified to discover that a stitch a few rows back had frayed and split and was creating a hole in the blanket.  I panicked and tried to figure out how to save my work and finally decided to take the entire thing off the needles and unravel the few rows back in order to try and salvage the entire thing.  This is when I made the discovery that is already obvious to any real knitters out there.  I had been knitting a dang tent.

I was in shock as I pulled the “blanket” off the circular needles and discovered that if it was to be any kind of blanket, it might work as an oversized king blanket, but certainly not anything that should be near a baby.  No wonder it had been taking me so long to get through a row.

My husband turned on the lights in the living room to better see as I pulled the blanket off the needles, freaking out as more and more kept coming like some Harry Potter engorgement spell had been cast on it.  Bless him, he did try not to laugh, but he was just as incredulous as I was as I had been telling him for months that I was knitting a baby blanket and now I was pulling a rectangle long enough to stretch across our living room off the knitting needles.  And I am not exaggerating.  We literally had to stretch it out all the way across our living room to get the full picture of how big it really was.

Daniel said it reminded him of the scene in the movie Anaconda, when Jon Voight throws down the snake skin to show to Jennifer Lopez and Ice Cube, and Ice Cube says, “There’s snakes out here this big?!”  That became our running joke about the “baby blanket”, and every now and then when he would see the remnants of that first attempt rolled up like a giant snake skin, Daniel would joke, “There’s snakes out here this big?”

Honestly rewatching this scene, Daniel was spot on and that snake skin looks exactly like what I spent so much time knitting.

So, I was back at square one after months of knitting.  I had no baby blanket to show for all my efforts, just a really, really long strip of fabric that could stretch across a room like a pastel banner.  I rolled up the knitted work and decided to start over again.  I slowly wound the yarn from the failed project back into several balls of yarn and began again on another garter stitch baby blanket.  This time with a reasonable amount of stitches in it.

And lo and behold, it did only take about a month for me to complete an actual baby blanket sized piece of work when I finally had the right amount of stitches per row.  I excitedly cast off the needles and stretched off the blanket to examine.  It wasn’t perfect by any means, but it actually passed as a baby blanket.  I was so excited about completing the project, that I decided to try and knit another blanket with all the extra yarn I had left over from the first failed attempt. 

I found a pattern for a baby blanket that I liked on youtube and the instructions made it seem like it would be simple enough for me to complete.  It was a Shetland lace pattern and this time, I followed the directions.  And before too long, I had another completed baby blanket.

Both of these baby blankets, I put away in a drawer.  I was still seemingly nowhere close to needing them for myself and didn’t have anyone I knew that was having a little girl. 

And life continued. In late 2020, I returned to the doctor for another biopsy and discovered that the precancerous cells were back. I was treated again and the next biopsy in 2021 revealed that I was in the clear once again. The oncologist released me again, but not before telling me that a hysterectomy would be in the future with the recurring issue and that we needed to work with fertility doctors immediately before it got to that point.

Throughout all of this, the baby blankets were just waiting in a drawer. 

And then in June of 2022, we got some news that we thought would never come.  I was pregnant!  And it happened completely naturally without any help from medical professionals.  Truly, God showed His power when medicine wasn’t working.  We learned later that we were expecting a daughter.  I pulled the blankets out of the drawer and got them washed and ready in the nursery that we were putting together.

And so now, in February of 2023, I can finally write the end of this story of the baby blankets. Or maybe it is actually just the beginning. On February 26th, we came home from the hospital with our daughter and she was wrapped in a blanket that I had knitted for her years ago, just waiting for the day she would join us. A blanket that seemed so silly to start making back in 2018. A blanket that became a reminder that God can work miracles, even though things seem hopeless to us. A blanket that took patience and resilience to get made thanks to my own lack of knowledge and understanding, but through my own confusion, God remained faithful.

I don’t know why we have been so blessed when things don’t work out the same way for others. I can’t explain that or how God works sometimes in our lives. But I know that five years ago, I was moved to begin work on a blanket and felt it was an act of faith that God would one day see through. And now that the day has come, we are just feeling so blessed beyond words.

4 thoughts on “The story of how I made knitting a baby blanket way harder than it should be, but it turned out to be a pretty good metaphor

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  1. I’m in tears as I read this – tears of great pride and joy as I reflect on the great woman of faith you truly are. May God continue to bless these writings because the world needs these healing words of love and deep faith, and may God bless you as you embark on your motherhood journey. I know you’ll be great!………momma

    Liked by 1 person

  2. This is so beautifully written and I have tears of joy running down my cheeks. My heart is so happy this sweet miracle was born and she has the best parents in the world. 💕

    Liked by 1 person

  3. What a precious story. I also have tears of joy for you sweet girl to have a beautiful daughter. Enjoy your beautiful baby!


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