Knitter’s Notebook: Knitting Courage

April 16, 2018

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  • Very moving. Thank you.

    • It means a lot to me to hear from readers, and know that my story is read, understood. Thank you for writing.

  • I purchased several copies of A Knitters Home Companion to give as gifts. So enjoy Michelle’s stories (and recipes). Glad she is part of the MDK team!

    • Thanks, Kathleen. It’s great to be here at MDK, and telling stories in pictures and words.

  • I love her style. And to think she’s from my hometown! Thank you !

    • Thanks, Minnesotae! I grew up in Troy, New York, and now live in Iowa City, Iowa. I did live in St. Paul, Minnesota for 16 years. The YARNERY was my neighborhood yarn store.

  • I will one day make these gloves.they are broken rib stitch,and that is my favorite for hats,mitts and cowls.and I have put her book to the top of my knitting book wish list.but most of all,I could use some of her courage…#metoo

    • Courage in our uneasy times, comfort in the broken rib stitch. I hope you enjoy reading A KNITTER’S HOME COMPANION. It was my heartsong work for two years.

  • I have always loved Michelle’s work—both as a knitter and children’s librarian. Thank you for bringing her to MDK!

    • It is great to be here! Thanks for writing, Lauren.

  • I found this post very disturbing. Knitting for a Nazi sympathizer? No. As a Jew and a descendent of parents who survived the Holocaust, parents who lost almost all of their family and friends at the hands of Nazis and Nazi sympathizers, “not pointing” to one person and sending countless others to their death is not a heartwarming story.

    • I am so sorry that you found my story disturbing. Over the years, I have read and heard many stories of tiny acts of saving, not pointing. My intention was not to make the hand a hero. This is only a story of one moment, one pair of gloves.

    • I too am second generation Holocaust survivor, although I do not like that designation, or its implications. While I understand your emotional response to the situation that Ileanna describes, survival often depended on the “kindness of strangers”. My parents were deported to a concentration in south western France (Gurs) and survived because of the OSE and a village, Le Chambon sur Lignon. I suggest you get a copy of Peter Grose’s book A Good Place to HIde. It gives a broader picture of the French and the region around Le Chambon.
      Evelyne LIebmann

  • I knew Dr. Munster and her children. Illeana asked me to knit the gloves for her article in Piecework. I can tell you that Dr. Munster was an extrordinary woman, as is her daughter. I am amazed at how the Piecework article has traveled all these years. It is almost as amazing as to how Dr Mundster and my parents reconnected over the years.

  • Love this story

  • Thank you for the beautiful story! What a lovely way tp start my week.

  • Knitting draws together the threads of so many lives and experiences. Thanks so much for this touching story.

  • I see a story of survival against great odds. And I love the writing. I’ve never made gloves, but if I do, this story will surely come to mind. Thank you.

  • How wonderful to have Michelle’s voice on MDK and so apropos since I am in the middle of reading ‘The Book Thief’.

  • Soulful story indeed, thank you.

    • Your comment means a lot to me.

  • Thank you for sharing your story and your confessional on why sometimes our UFOs need some time for us to finish them. Our craft and our lives intertwine in such personal ways.

    • How true! I find sometimes just the act of finishing a long neglected project opens up new ideas and possibilities. When I am stuck on a story, I find a great reward in turning a heel, or sewing up a sweater.

  • Loved the story. Makes me want to try to knit gloves.
    Bought “ A Hat for Mrs. Goldman” when it came out. ( I collect children’s books). Wonderful book!
    I also bought a copy for my younger grandchildren.

    • Thank you! Gloves are such a lovely project, especially in thinner yarn. I suspect Mrs. Goldman sneaks in knitting a pair of gloves every now and then, in between hats.

  • Time for me to pull my unfinished sweater out again!

    • Knit on!

  • It’s amazing to think of how knitting is so entwined into stories from history – a small detail of good amongst a bigger and often bleaker reality. Knitting is love, warmth, calmness and creativity, which are all needed in this world.

    • Agreed! Sometimes I think about knitters stitching on through history, creating warmth and comfort through the most desperate and best of times.

  • Love this story, beautifully written. Perhaps that is why knitting for others feels better than knitting for myself.

    • Thank you, Sandra. I think when we knit for others, we are also knitting for ourselves — twice warmed.

  • Thank you for your story, and for the reading list. I recently read an NBC news item which stated that 11% of surveyed American adults, and 1/5 of millennials were not sure that they had ever heard of the Holocaust. Conversations (uncomfortable or not) and reading about the subject are crucial if we are to learn from history. “Never forget” indeed.

    • Wow, I had not heard about that survey. There are many children’s book out there now about the Holocaust , so many more than when I was a child, hungry to know more. I hope kids and their parents will find their way to them.

  • Loved the story of the grey gloves; and reminder that finding ways to soothe oneself self is important in our often chaotic world.

    • Thank you. Once, quite q while back, an English reader wrote me about how the sound of her mother’s knitting needles at work, calmed her in the London air raid shelters during World War Two.

  • I learned to crochet very young. Taught by the “cool” girls of my neighborhood. Throughout my life I knew crocheting soothed me, but it was also an act of kindness.
    A few years back I taught myself to knit from a book and later YouTube. I began noticing to knit a garnet for someone was also an act of kindness as my first decent work was a scarf for my husband. We weren’t getting along so well so I wanted to do something nice that did not involve spending time with him.
    Now as I knit socks for myself I’m beginning to think “I’m doing something nice for myself.”
    Maybe this is self compassion.

  • Michelle, I’m very happy you are part of MDK! Your book A Knitter’s Home Companion warmed my heart so! I’m working my way through your other works and enjoying each one. Thanks for your humor and knitting knowledge.