Persevering Through Projects, One Stitch at a Time

This past December 31, I finished the longest knitting project I’ve ever done – a temperature blanket begun on January 1, 2019. This temperature blanket was “long” in more way than one. At twelve feet long, it was the lengthiest piece of knitting I’ve ever made. I also spent the longest period of time on it, one full year.

Yet the time I spent on this project actually seems minimal. I worked on one garter ridge each evening. With a hundred simple knit stitches on each row, this took me a mere ten minutes after dinner each night while watching TV. 

The lesson I’ve learned through my year of knitting a temperature blanket is that even the longest, most time-consuming projects we work on are knitted one stitch at a time, one row at a time. There’s no need to rush. There’s no need to procrastinate, either. If you’re working on a lengthy project, it simply takes the amount of time it takes. You can enjoy a few minutes of peace and quiet while you work on it, and it will eventually get done.

As New Year resolutions fade from initial excitement and resolve to the mid-January reality of daily work and discipline, we might remember that all projects worth doing require one stitch at a time, one row at a time. If you work on your project daily – even for a few minutes a day – you’ll eventually end up with a completed project and, better yet, a sense of accomplishment and work well done.

New Year’s Blessings, Cindy

Cynthia Coe is the author of The Prayer Shawl Chronicles, a collection of interrelated short stories about knitters and those they meet through knitting and sharing prayer shawls. Available in e-book for US $4.99 and in paperback for $14.99. Read it for free if you have Kindle Unlimited.

Temperature Blankets – Marking the Days With a Knitting Ritual

Intrigued by the idea of a “temperature blanket,” I began my first one on New Year’s Eve by casting on with a bright yellow to celebrate the gorgeous 70 degree day here in Tennessee. My temperature blanket soon became a mosaic of blues for our normal cool January, sprinkled with some pale greens for warmer 60 degree days and a few purple rows for crisper cold days. We have a saying here in the Smoky Mountains – “if you don’t like the weather here, stick around; it’ll change.” It’s the perfect climate for a temperature blanket.

Mostly to remember to work on my temperature blanket each day, I began a ritual of knitting my one garter ridge each night, right after dinner as my family watched a TV show together. I didn’t mean to start a new daily ritual, but that’s what it’s become. When I sit down in my favorite chair to work on my temperature blanket each evening, it’s as if I’m marking the end of a day, a time of peace and quiet. It’s a time to think, for better or for worse, I’ve done what I could do today. It’s time to relax and put all worries aside.

I’ve noticed I work my temperature blanket more slowly than my other works in progress. Perhaps that’s because, by definition, I only knit two rows a day, making a loop from one side to the other and back. The point of this knitting is to mark an occasion, not necessarily to “make” a finished garment. This knitting mimics the movement of the earth, making a loop each and every day. As I knit through the seasonal cycles of nature, my knitting reflects the cold days giving way to the warm, the short days turning into longer late spring days of bright yellow and orange sunshine. It shows the process in rich colors I can touch and feel. 

Marking these daily changes grounds me in nature and in the cycles of life. It’s a simple thing, knitting these two daily rows. But this daily ritual has become a little celebration of life ever moving forward, ever renewing. 

My Temperature Blanket Pattern:

-Cast on 100 stitches

-Knit 2 rows each day (one garter pattern), using a color to mark the temperature of the day

-At the beginning of each month, I knit one row of K2, YO. I knit the number of stitches for the number of the month (e.g. 4 stitches for the 4thmonth of April, 5 for the 5thday of May), then do the same number of K2, YO and repeat this pattern down the row. I knit the second row of this garter ridge as usual to keep the pattern on track for the rest of the month.

Blessings on your knitting rituals! Cindy

Cynthia Coe is a writer and avid knitter based in the Smoky Mountains of Tennessee. Visit her Author Page on Amazon by clicking this link.