Wednesday, 1 October 2014

What to Knit in Hospital by Julie

Since most knitting topics have been adequately covered by Jenny, I felt the need to cover a branch of knitting that receives little attention, what to knit when you are in hospital or visiting someone every day in hospital. Our daughter, and Jenny and Joe’s sister, has something called Rett Syndrome. Katrina is very disabled and has often been in hospital. Most people when their seriously ill relative is rushed into hospital by ambulance with blue flashing lights would panic. We, however, pack a bottle of water, snacks, books, money, mini-DVD player, Disney films and Old Bear books, and I start to consider what I am going to knit whilst Katrina is in hospital.
We have spent days/weeks/months in hospital and the only way to endure hours of Disney films or Katrina sleeping is to knit. (I am not sure how her Dad copes - he just reads.) I managed a whole jumper in the great stay of 2008. I would go on to consider that the only way to survive the stress of life is to knit. I am not sure how non-knitters stay the course. To be serious, I cope better with stress if I can knit. There have been times when Katrina has been so ill that even knitting has failed me, but generally being busy means I get less tired, remain calm and vaguely sane.
The important question is what to knit. The ideal would be something small and plain so you do not need to concentrate too much. Huge balls of wool are a disadvantage, they get in the way. Masses of stitches in a row aren’t helpful either if doctors keep coming in and interrupting. Last year I made a few blanket squares, and did some different stitches.

Yes, I know they are still not sewn together!

This time insanity took over. On a recent trip to Hawes in Yorkshire I found the most wonderful shop called the Knitting Basket. The selection of wool was interesting and different, and very good quality. Of course, I couldn’t resist and had to buy more wool. I have two crates at home to use up but it is a compulsion to buy more. Jeremy had foolishly taken some shopping back to the car and left me on my own, so I treated myself to some lace weight wool.
When Katrina went in this time we realised we weren’t going to spend days squished into a corner in intensive care, so I decided to start knitting a lace shawl. This was a BAD idea. The whole point of hospital knitting is that is has to be easy (see previous paragraph), and this was not super difficult but just complicated enough. Each row had 101 stitches and if you missed one yarn over needle that was it. You had to unpick I couldn’t always work out where I had gone wrong otherwise I might have tried just picking up a loop between rows. Unpicking lace knitting is slow and demanding and usually means you drop a stitch. I had only just started the project when Katrina went into hospital, and I started it again and again and again. I couldn’t do the knitting sitting next to Katrina, she was too interested in what I was up to and would lean over and poke the knitting, usually that meant that I missed a stitch.

Here is a picture of how far I have got. Hopefully now I am home I can get on with it and next time it is back to blanket squares!

Julie is Jenny's mum and needs little more introduction than that; their relatedness is clearly shown in their combined enjoyment of knitting, sewing, baking and gardening. She taught Jenny to knit as a girl, and they now regularly swap tips, patterns and ideas!


  1. It must be very difficult knowing what you can accommodate whilst whiling away the hours sitting at Katrina's bedside. Have a look at garn they have lots of free blanket patterns both in knitting and crochet and lots of other projects to work on and all their patterns are free to download. Hopefully you will find something to keep you busy.


  2. Awwww, what a beautiful post, how lucky Katrina is to have such a wonderful family. I hope she stays well and you girls keep swapping patterns and tips. I have never learnt to knit so it always impresses me when I see masterpieces being

  3. You should do requests! You could become the first knitting millionaire. Hope Katrina is feeling better after her last visit.


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