All of a sudden, I'm back to knitting. I'm not sure what possessed me; perhaps it was the sight of all those sorry-looking bags of unfinished projects at the bottom of my closet, some of them so old I don't even remember starting them. Or perhaps it was the need to ravel what feels like something coming unraveled....

My sister Nicole first taught me to knit, more than a decade ago. She's amazing: a businesswoman who knits baby booties on the way to closing billion dollar deals. But I only wanted to make scarves. She was patient with my slow ways, so slow, in fact, that by the time I was ready to start a new scarf I had long forgotten how to cast on. I didn't even consider purling--the mere thought unhinged me--until several years into the knitting adventure. I made scarves for anyone who might actually wear one.

Then I dropped my stitches.

This summer, I put my house on the market. We all know that selling a house involves constant cleaning (more on that later) and constant fretting. What if no one likes my house? What if someone likes my house? I'm not comfortable with ambivalence but that's the state I was in all summer. Sell? Don't sell? Move? Don't move? My usual escape came in handy: Work. Denial. This isn't happening. Skim the surface, don't think deep.

This also meant that I very nearly stopped writing all summer. I took plenty of pictures. I imagined the things I might be sharing with you. But I was quiet. I needed quiet. I also learned that I have a hard time writing if I do not feel settled and safe. Or if my desk has to be neat. Another hurdle to get over--how to feel settled and safe inside, rather than in a house. Of course, staying very busy means you don't have to notice the hurdles.

One day, in a closet cleaning frenzy, I found the old bags of yarn, bristling with needles. I decided: no more scarves. There's a terrific new store called Perfectly Twisted Yarn in Tiverton, Rhode Island, brimming with beautiful colors. I was ready to move on. Ready for the fresh start.

Now I'm obsessed with making hats. Maybe because knitting in circles feels supremely appropriate these days. Maybe because keeping the pattern in straight, interlocked rows focuses my attention. My hats are the knitting equivalent of rows of corn; highly predictable. But when a breeze plays across the fields, the silky tassels shimmer--as does the yarn when my needles slide through it. Maybe hats are wonderful because I can think about the heads the hats will cradle, shelter, warm, protect, embellish, celebrate.

Picking up my needles again, I decided to blow right past previous mental blocks. Enough with indulging myself in those, whether they are of the craft variety, or the finance variety. Leave them behind. That's who I was. Not who I am now. Time to understand how to get my house in order, even if it means selling the house. I got right into the knit and purl thing. Subtracted rows. Even used three needles at the crown. (Thank you, Abby and Frances, for your lessons, and for companionable knitting time.) The first hat I made had all the colors of seaweed in it, the browns and mauves and greens. I decided it would be for Theo, as he is back in Boulder and far from the sea. (I can only knit things for other people.)

As I knitted, I thought things over, row by row. Whenever my thoughts got in a rut, I told myself: You did that row already. Next. Knitting relaxed and soothed my mind. I understood, suddenly, why it was so important for women to knit for their sons and husbands overseas during war, in the old days. (Do they still?) How knitting kept in play the sense of being able to control the outcome, the sense of staying in touch, the sense of being able to protect and cherish a loved one, knowing that what your fingers touched will soon caress one who holds your heart.

Knitting kept me from skidding out in anxiety. Will the next owner love my house? Of course. Will my house learn to love the next owner? Of course. Will the moon rise over another meadow? Of course. Will the stars shine over other trees? Of course. Will I ever have another house as beautiful as this one? Of course. I don't yet see the pattern. But the next adventure is stitches away. Everything is, in the grand scheme of things.

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