My posting schedule is all off this week, but tomorrow I'll be back to my normal circa-dawn writing session. Today: you are getting a late afternoon alert to say that the latest Knitty is out.
And I am in it.
Or rather, a hat I made is in it.
And I guess also me, because I modeled it.
The Knitty writeup gives you pretty much everything you need to know about this hat (charts, written pattern, under 50g of sportweight yarn etc.) except the backstory, which I will share here.
Spoiler alert: you may need tissues.
(don't worry if you haven't dropped by here before: this is an atypical post, so you're perfectly safe and even welcome! to come back again.)
If you've been reading Hugs for a long time, you will remember there was a death in my family over the summer. Les was over 80 and had had a good - well, great really - life, but his last six months could serve as the dictionary definition of heartbreaking and were spent entirely in hospital. I can tell you right now you never want to see anybody go through what he did, even if you don't love that person, and everybody loved Les a lot.
For most of the six months I kept thinking It's okay! They can fix this! and then there would be another thing and I'd think They can totally fix that too! and then the first thing would go back wrong and - you get the picture. One night in July I woke up around 3:00 AM and realized:
Les is going to die.
Immediately I went into a couple of insomnia-like hours of FixIt mode and tried to figure out what doctor to talk to, what treatment might help, what anybody could possibly do to keep that from happening. And - so weird - at the very same time my mind was building up a hat with stitches that traced every one of the steps I was taking in that go-nowhere circle back to accepting the fact that we were going to lose him.
Now, I realize this is a pretty depressing source of creative inspiration and a not-compelling reason to knit Sleepless, but from the start, I have felt very strongly that this hat was a gift from Les. (Hard not to find that feeling reinforced when it was accepted to Knitty, no less. Who gets a hat pattern into Knitty for heaven's sake? Better designers than I, surely.)
I've spent months trying to figure out the meaning of that conviction and a few days ago it finally came to me:
Even in the midst of the worst things you can possibly imagine, there is beauty to be found. It can coexist with anything. And whether you seek it out consciously or just open your eyes to it when it's in front of you, it's a great comfort.
And I do think this is a beautiful hat.
(also: a lovely shovel. Les gave me that too.)