I got an email yesterday from a very nice knitter, who was charming and lovely and I enjoyed her note very much, even though it’s pretty clear she thinks I’m a bit of a lunatic. She’s concerned about how much knitting I do for babies before they’re born. She wonders if I ever worry about a jinx, the mortal consequences of counting my chickens before they’re hatched, if I ever think that I am somehow endangering the baby by assuming it will arrive before it has, boldly daring the fates.
In short. No. I have never, ever worried about this, although it’s okay if you do. We’ve all got different superstitions and rules about our lives, and in this case I can tell you that in absolutely no way do I believe that the knitting I do ahead of time will emperil the wee bairns it is for – and by the way, why would I do it if I did?
Wouldn’t that make me just about the worst Aunt in the world? Sitting here believing that me making something for the baby was dangerous, but just deciding that it was a knitting risk that had to be taken? Can you imagine me here pounding out the hand knits, all while hoping against hope that nothing bad happened as a result? Finishing bootees then turning around three times and spitting over my left shoulder? Laying out the finished sweaters under the moonlight and smudging them with sage to improve the odds?
I actually believe the opposite, I think, although I don’t think about it much. Knitting for impending humans feels like improving their chances. It feels like throwing a line out into the ether and towing them in. Preparing the path, paving the way, and making it clear to the fates that there are people looking out for this kid, and expecting them.
The truth is that this is just a bit of optimism on my part. A superstition of another sort, no more or less valid than the opposite. The reality is that sometimes good things happen to bad people, and bad things happen to good people and it probably has nothing at all to do with whether or not there was a lot of knitting, but that sunny Pollyanna in me doesn’t really think so. She thinks handknits are great karmic lifejackets, and so I will knit them.
Mind you, that same Pollyanna also thinks I’m finishing this layette by tomorrow, and since it’s supposed to be a hat, sweater and bootees (the blanket comes later) and at present it’s only a hat and a half sweater, that’s clearly crazier than a bag of wet weasels, so maybe nobody should be trucking with my theories.
Do you have any superstitions about knitting for babies?
PS. I missed giving out a skein of yarn yesterday, Genia had two skeins of STR Hard Rock, and I only gave away one of them. Today, she’ll mail the second to Nicki H. Thanks to both of them.