I'm taking on a different kind of knitting these days -- making hats for my friend, Jennifer, who is about to start chemo in a few weeks to beat breast cancer. She is wonderful, beautiful, brave...and completely wrong for the vocation that has been thrust upon her. How could this happen to a person who is so strong and so generous in spirit? It's one of those times in life when you feel like anything you do couldn't possibly be enough. So, of course, I'm throwing some good knitting at the problem.
As soon as she told me the cancer news, I set out to find the softest yarns I could -- thick spun cashmeres, silk-wool blends, mohair to line any caps that seem itchy. For her first hat, I chose the shedir pattern, found in knitty.com's excellent breast cancer pattern archive. I am knitting up shedir in Rowan Calmer, a surprisingly soft and "sproingy" cotton-acrylic blend. The rich, coffee-brown of the yarn is close to that of my friend's own luxurious brunette, which losing even for a short while seems like a horrible mistake of nature.
Still, although making my friend these hats will help her a little over these next hard months, I know I am fooling myself with busy fingers. She is the one who, under her own very capable gumption, will be doing battle with cancer -- while I can do little more than offer hope and hats. There are few people I know as brave and diligent than my friend. Watching her from the sidelines is darn humbling.
So, I hope you'll say a prayer, cross your fingers, and send out a full measure of hope for my friend, who is working so hard to get better.