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Doing and making are acts of hope, and as that hope grows, we stop feeling overwhelmed by the troubles of the world.

—Corita Kent

I start a few days before; choosing my yarn, testing my gauge, casting on my stitches, placing markers, and worrying through the twisting that can happen on the first rows of circular knitting. All fussing and decision making are tended to in advance. Along with a few tools of the trade, my portable calm and hope fit very nicely inside a medium-size drawstring muslin project bag. I ready it as if I am going off to battle. Sometimes I feel as if I am. My waiting room knitting fortifies me.

I have been doing this knitterly preparation since July 2021 when my husband Rody’s skin biopsy, which was thought to be more a precaution than a concern, turned very serious, very quickly. The end of our June was a dark hole of dread and uncertainty. Once a second opinion from the Mayo Clinic confirmed his diagnosis, a plan was put in place. His prognosis was good. Quickly our calendar filled with dates; an immunotherapy infusion every three weeks, a PET Scan every three months. Seventeen visits in all.

My waiting room knitting is always a hat. I make one for each visit, finishing it up later at home, donating it shortly after. They are simple hats, small parcels of handmade warmth, knit in DK weight yarn, not too light, not too heavy, chosen to give a comforting knitting pace that moors me whenever I pick up my needles.

If it’s a PET scan day, for the first two hours Rody is in the scanning area, and I am not. Now that some Covid precautions have been lifted, I am allowed to wander about.  I use that time to tour our hospital’s art collection. The lab work and the doctor’s appointments which follow, both usually have short waits.  I might finish a few rows then.

When there’s time in between them, we battle even the coldest weather to sit outside, warming ourselves with sips of our home-brewed coffee which I bring in a thermos. The final part of our day is where we do most of our waiting, where I do most of my knitting. Immunotherapy, far too expensive to chance a no-show, is mixed only after Rody officially checks in. We wait for the pharmacy to do its work, our ears cocked for his name to be called into the infusion suite.

The nurses always ask us where we live. Many patients travel far to get to our cancer center, some of them even make the journey alone. With generous good cheer the nurses try to ease whatever a patient’s load might be, and during Covid, this seems especially heroic. Rody enjoys the comfort of the warm blanket they drape over him. He has grown fond of the saltines he’s offered, accepting them gratefully. We chat companionably with the nurses as they set up the IV, check and double check his name and birthdate on the bag of the magic potion we have placed our faith in.

At some point, Rody closes his eyes, cozy as he can be in this clinical setting with a constant hum of beeps and the whoosh of the machine keeping tracking of his blood pressure.

While his infusion drips on, releasing a microscopic army to fight an enemy we can’t see, I knit on as I know others have done before me. Maybe you have done. This is when I sometimes think about how our knitting gets twined with our waiting; our heartaches and our joys. The rhythm of my needles, our needles, working to smooth away at the jagged parts of our lives. We wait. We knit. We hope.

About The Author

Michelle Edwards writes about family, friendship, and community. Her work chronicles the large and small victories and defeats of everyday life. She frequently posts her illustrations on Instagram, her website, and at StudioScrawls, her Etsy store.


  • Thanks for sharing. I’ve done the waiting room knitting too and remember how sustaining it is. Sending prayers for you and Rody

    • Thank you, Dora! Sustaining is a perfect word to describe our waiting room knitting.

  • Beautifully said!

    • Thank you, Millie!

      • Thank you for sharing. Your pre-visit process is the same as mine. The outline of your visit is just like ours. I have always found knitting to make the waiting time bearable. And, like you, I make hats to donate to other patients in the center. Hope your husband’s in remission soon.

    • Thanks, Millie!

    • I knit simple socks and a rainbow hat out of fingering weight yarn while my daughter was hospitalized during her bone marrow transplant. I couldn’t focus on anything too complicated, and the flashy colors were welcome in the drab hospital room. The repetition of the simple knit stitches kept my mind from wandering down dark paths. She loved the hat, and wore it daily as her hair grew back. I thought had been lost, only to find it tucked away in a box of special treasures she wants to save.

      • Thank you for sharing this story with me. It seems that You knit more than a rainbow hat for your daughter. You knit her a treasure. May you both be well.

      • Linda, thank you for sharing your story. A rainbow hat is a treasure. No wonder your daughter has kept it. May you both be well. Knit on!

      • I call my projects ‘sanity savers’. I knit kitchen hot pads or I’ll crochet kitchen dishcloths. Hospital waiting rooms and when I’m sitting under a hair dryer. Small projects..never leave home without one.

        • “Sanity savers”, indeed! Thanks for sharing!

  • The joy of a waiting room knit is the comfort it brings not just to me, but to those around us. I learned from my first experience with this to knit something to give away. I never could wear that sweater. I tried it on twice before it found a new home. Now I knit prayer shawls, lap robes or hats. Praying for you and your husband during this struggle.

    • Thank you! Knit on! If you are interested, I do have free downloadable healing shawl cards.

  • I’ve been the patient; driving to the appointments, sitting, knitting in the waiting room, sitting, knitting in the exam room, sitting knitting, waiting to hear test results. It’s only been 6 months and my last radiation treatment is today, but knitting has been a constant. My waiting room sock was knit too tightly to wear, but the hats will warm others next winter.

    • Connie, congratulations on your last radiation treatment. Hats are so much easier to get right when knitting is worried. Stay well!

    • I also knit a too tight sock when my daughter was seriously ill. The second, knit later was fine. I still haven’t re-knitted the first one, but I put it in my “to-go” bag a couple weeks ago and will hopefully re-do it soon. I’ve done enough waiting room knitting that I did not check fit or anything, but I guess waiting room knitting doesn’t usually have to ease stress on the same scale as bedside knitting.

      • I hope you and your daughter are doing well. Good luck with reknitting your sock.May you all stay well.

    • All fighting these health concerns whether our own or those we love the knitting and knitter’s are so helpful. Hugs to all!!

      • Deneise, I join you on this!

    • Connie, congrats on your last radiation treatment! I’ll be thinking about you. Take care.

  • I too have found great comfort in my waiting room knitting. Wishing Rody well.

    • Thanks, Julibeth! Knit on!

  • Knitting…the most perfect form of centering oneself and calming the interior troubles…

    • Amen!

  • Love this article. I always did it while waiting. It helps to keep me calm.

    • Keeping calm and knitting on! Thanks for writing.

    • Thank you! Here’s to knitting calm!

    • Thanks! Knitting definitely helps calm me down, too! Knit on!

    • Amen. Knitting helps us and those who watch us while we are knitting. It’s calming to us all.

    • My knitting journey began in waiting rooms when my world turned upside down. It became
      my meditation during a difficult time in my life
      I wish you and Rody comfort

      • Thank you, Annie! Wishing you well and calm.

  • You are knitting hope, love and courage in every stitch. Wishing you and your husband well .

    • Thank you, Karen! Be well!

  • Thank you for the story and the quote.

    • Good to hear from you! There’s a wonderful new picture book about Corita Kent called MAKE MEATBALLS SING! It’s filled with quotes from her teachings. You might like it.

  • This touched my heart. Thank you for your generous sharing. I have a dear friend who will soon be starting something similar, and I so wish I could be there for her. I wish well for you and your husband.

    • Thank you, Garden Poet. May your friend and her husband gather healing and strength. You, too.

  • I once spent almost the day knitting in the waiting room of a large university hospital knitting a hitchhiker scarf. Near the end of the time an older gentlemen who had also had a long day, walked over to me and said “ Well you are the only one here who’s gotten anything done today”. I too gave the scarf away.
    Prayers for your husband and you.

    • Thank you, Kathy, for sharing your story and for your prayers. Something about the knitting we do in waiting rooms leads us to giving it away—sending out comfort. Be well!

  • Oh Michelle, thank you so much. For your story, the quote, and your wonderful illustrations. May you walk in Peace and Beauty.

    • Ginny, what kind words! May you also walk in Peace and Beauty!

  • Thank you for sharing. Knitting has gotten me through many hours in waiting rooms/hospital rooms – first when my mother had her stroke and then my husband’s liver transplant journey.

    • Cherie, I hope you are all well now. Take good care and knit on!

    • Cherie, I know of what you speak. My husband developed liver disease 7 years ago and was transplanted 2 years ago. This essay drove an arrow right to my heart and I cried tears that came out of nowhere. Women, sitting in hospitals, knitting, caretaking, a never ending expression of love.

      • Patricia, you do know about what we do when knit in waiting rooms, stitching our heart back together. Be well!

  • Thank you Michelle!

    • Good to hear this form you, Michele V.!

  • I recently spent 2 years as a waiting room and hospital bedside knitter. You describe the experience so well. I’d add that one’s knitting creates a focus and rhythm that is soothing for those around you too. Many commented that they were reminded of a special knitted item from a loved one. I also found that as a report was about to be shared or instructions given, I was always given time to put down my knitting, which gave everyone a moment to pause while I noted my place and gathered myself to absorb the news from the provider.

    • Laurel, you are so right! Thank you for adding your sensitive observations, esp. about the pause. We need those pauses. Be well!

  • I’ve done the same, although I do a dish cloth. Sending hugs and good wishes to you both.

    • Marilyn, dishcloths are a perfect waiting room project. Thanks for the hugs and good wishes — back at you!

  • I wish you and Rudy all the best. I knit with my Dad making hats to donate too. Bless you both.

    • Thank you, Sara! Best to you and your dad. Knit on!

  • So beautifully written, thank you for sharing. I wish your husband and you comfort and best outcomes.

    • Milou, thank you!

  • Pre-Covid, our local cancer centre had baskets of supplies in the waiting areas and they asked people to knit squares which were then sewn together by volunteers (imagine the work of trying to put all those different squares together) which were then given to patients so they had their own lap blanket to bring with them for chemo treatments. There are also quilting groups in the area that make them as well. My sister-in-law belongs to one of them and my son received one of her quilts when he was going through chemo. It’s something he’ll cherish all his life.

    • Gillyfish, what wonderful projects! Thank you for telling me about them. When we return to normal times, I hope they’ll restart. May you and yours be well.

    • I knitted through my daughter’s bilateral mastectomy recently. I can totally relate to this article. Don’t know what I would do without my knitting to help me through difficult times. It is such a precious gift for us all. God bless you and your family through this journey. Thanks for the lovely article.

      • Natalie, I hope you and your daughter are doing well. Knitting is a precious gift. Thank you for your blessings.

  • I also knit hats to donate while waiting for stressful things. It’s always felt kind of hokey to say outloud but I think about knitting hope into each stitch and then sending out into the world.

    • I totally get what you are saying. Knitting hope into each stitch is a real thing, I think about it too. Thanks for sharing this.

  • I’m hoping for you both as well. Knit on…

    • Thanks, Liz! Be well and knit on!

  • This touched my heart and put into words my feelings for this lovely craft. Thank you for sharing.

    • Linda, lovely to hear this from you. Be well and knit on!

  • Thank you for a such a touching note and beautiful illustrations. This reminded me of the Elizabeth Zimmerman quote “Knit on with confidence and hope through all crises”. Boy, was she right. Even though medical settings may not be where a waiting room is located, I have spent time in other emotional waiting rooms throughout the years, waiting for a good outcome, usually having something to do with my kids. Knitting is more productive than hand wringing. I hope for a good outcome for your husband and that the donated hat comforts someone else.

    • Knitting is definitely more productive (and calming) than hand wringing. EZ was right about knitting on, giving words to our truths. I love what you wrote about other waiting rooms, emotional waiting rooms. Been there, too. Thanks for writing. Be well.

    • PT, you said it! EZ was right about knitting on, saying aloud what we know to be true. I love what you wrote about “other” waiting rooms, emotional waiting rooms. Been there, too. Be well and knit on.

  • I usually do a hat as well in a vanilla pattern with fun yarn. I try to cast on before I leave and tuck it in my bag.
    I always have socks on the needles so they can go if needed.
    Further helpful items, a wrap for yourself ( it is always so cold in hospitals), snacks, water, chargers, extension cord(there is never a convenient outlet) paper and pen.
    I am sorry for anyone who will need this info-now or in the future.

    • Jodi, good tips! Thanks for writing. Be well!

  • Waiting is a knitting island to steady my monkey mind. Thank you for sharing this poignant and profound writing. I will be intertwining you and Rudy into my knitting today…

    • How kind, Kathleen! Be well!

    • Sending love-

      • Tayloe, thanks! Be well!

  • Thank you for sharing this Michelle. Knitting has gotten me (us) through tricky times. May all be well with Rory and you. xo

    • Knitting does get us through all sorts of times. Be well. Knit on!

  • Your article articulated it so well. I just went through chemo….and always brought my knitting. I still do to every single appointment. The mornings of chemo I would rush around getting the perfect project ready, needing it to be just the right one. Then I would sit and knit while the infusion hummed along, calming my heart through the fear in that room. I still never leave the house with out knitting a year later, it is my security blanket. Having something I can always rely on to help calm my nerves and be a beacon of hope and better days is important. It also says…I will be here to use this, it’s a long term project I will finish. There is a lot of life in knitting.

    • Ashley, congratulations on finishing chemo and knitting confidence for the future during your infusions. You are right that there is a lot of life in knitting. L’chaim!

    • Beautiful confidence. I love your optimism.

      • Peggy, I agree with you! Knit on!!

  • Beautifully written. Prayers for healing!

    • Thank you, Rose! Be well! Knit on!

  • I wish you and Rody love and wellness. My waiting room knitting is ongoing. I’ve done dish rags, chemo caps, socks, mug cozies, soap sacks and breasts in 4 sizes and multiple colors for mastectomy patients. All knit with love and received hopefully with recipient feeling that they are loved and not alone. I’ve had the feeling everyone that sees you knitting is grateful for the distraction. Some watch the whole time and comment on your progress. It truly has a calming effect. Thanks for letting others know how easy and portable and helpful their knitting can be.

    • Karen E., I think you are right about knitting calm for others who are also waiting. What a contribution you have made with all you knit. Be well!

  • Thank you for this. Mine isn’t waiting room knitting currently. I lost a dear friend 3 weeks ago. It took me 3 tries to start the sleeve of a sweater but I persevered. Knitting is calming my grief and bringing me peace.

    • Kathy, I am sorry for your loss. May knitting continue to calm your grief. Be well. Knit on!

  • Tis a space within which many of us have found solace and grace.

    • You are so right, Twigwoman, about our knitter’s space!

  • Prayers for you both.

    • Thank you, Mary Beth. Be well. Knit on.

  • What a lovely, inspiring and very accurate article. I too spent many hours in waiting rooms and knitting was a wonderful way to calm myself and feel productive at the same time. Your and your husband have my best wishes for many more happy years together.

    • Fay, thank you for your kind words and best wishes. Good knitting to you!

  • Positive healing energy (prayers) for Roxy and you. Thank you for this calming , caring, hopeful essay. Mine is not your kind of waiting room knitting, but as one of my favorite tee shirts proclaims,” I knit so I don’t unravel.”

    • Debrah, I am grateful for the healing energy. We knit for so many reasons— so many seasons. I can see why your “I knit so I don’t unravel” tee shirt would be a favorite one.

  • thank you for touching my heart

    • Be well, Melanie. Knit on!

  • Thank you for this lovely piece and the perfect quote to remember in times of trouble. I have two kids with chronic illnesses and my family all knows that before we leave for any doctor’s appointments, ER visits, or hospitalizations, mom has to have her knitting! I’m glad that you, too, have had this calming act of hope to keep you steady and I wish you and Rody the best.

    • MWelshons, thanks for writing and sharing your knitting life with me. May you and yours stay well. May you never leave home without your knitting.

  • What a beautiful piece of writing! Thank you for sharing. I will hold you and your husband in my thoughts.

    • Catherine, I appreciate your words and thoughts. Stay well. Knit on!

  • Wonderfully written. I found that its also often a bond with folks who knit and use it to initiate comfort and conversation. A way to take the focus off the reason we are there. I did it in the NICU with my granddaughter and then donated small blankets and hats to them. She received one when she left and I pray the next family has mine to take home.

    • Barbara, thank you! You are right that knitting can be a bond with others and a way to talk about something else. On one of my hospitals strolls, I checked in with the volunteer office to see if they needed preemie hats, and found that they were very well-stocked. I hope your granddaughter is well and thriving.

  • Sending prayers for your husband and you. (My mother sewed clothes for my doll when in the waiting room during my father’s long battle with leukemia. Years later I did cross stitch while in the waiting room for her cancer surgery.)

    • Whitney, thank you. I love the image of your mom sewing you doll clothes in the waiting room. I bet that really anchored her. Be well.

  • I, too, have found comfort in knitting while waiting in waiting rooms. My thoughts are with you and Rody for a speedy recovery back to good health.

    • Eileen, thank you for writing. I am beginning to see a large knitting circle, spanning the waiting rooms of the world. Good to know you might be might be there, too.

  • Knitting sustains us and connects us. May you feel the support of all here who have come to know and love you.

    • Mary Lou, thank you. Your words touched me deeply. I am grateful for this support.

  • Thank you for sharing. I hope all has gone well for you both. Always before an anticipated hospitalization (childbirth, knee replacement, etc.) I’ve started a knitting project before the date, then left it to be finished when i get home.

    • Keywestbird, we are doing fine. I love how you handled your hospitalizations optimistically with a prepared project waiting for your return. Be well. Knit on!

  • I did hospital, and then nursing home, knitting for years. Lots of perceived calmness in those stitches,

    • and here’s to wishes for a good and speedy recovery.

      • Gail, thank you! Knit on!

  • Yes, yes, and yes.

    • Alice, thank you for your bouquet of yeses! Knit on!

  • Beautiful!

    • Thank you, Patricia!

  • Prayers for Rody and you. Thank you for your beautiful writing.

    • Melanie, I am grateful for your post. Knit on!

  • I’ve been both the supportive spouse and the patient. Hats are an excellent suggestion. Breathe in, breathe out, you are strong.

    • Deom123, I think hats are just plain perfect for a lot of special knitting times. Maybe something to do with keeping heads warm. You are spontaneous on about breathing. Excellent reminder. Thanks.

  • The coziness of the IV lab – I so get this, having knitted my way through my mother’s eight year breast cancer journey.

    • Beth, thanks for writing. I hope you and yours are well. Knit on.

  • Wow, what a wonderfully written piece. Thank you, Michelle. And thank you, MDK.

    • Vicki Bee, your words mean a lot to me. Be well. Knit on.

  • What a powerful & relatable essay. Wishing your husband all the best on his road to recovery.

    • Shmcpa, thank you!

  • What a moving essay!!! Thank you so much for putting into words the preparation and forethought. I hadn’t thought about the hopefulness. I am deeply touched by the human experience captured here. Thank you. I will be holding you and your husband in my heart in the weeks and months ahead.

    • Nicole, I am deeply grateful for your words and intentions. Be well. Knit on.

  • So beautifully written. Sending healing prayers for Rody.

    • Lynne, thank you! Be well. Knit on.

  • I hope your husband makes a complete recovery. My waiting room strategy is always a book.

    • Mary Lynne, thank you. Good that you can read while you wait. Be well.

  • Thank you for your post. It’s just yesterday my husband has been diagnosed with a detached retina. Surgery is today. I’ll of course be relegated to the waiting room. Your post is most timely. I’m scrambling and hope I have the time to organize a knit project to bring. Likely a hat.

    • Rita, I hope all went well with your husband’s surgery. Be well. Knit on.

  • ❤️❤️❤️

    • Thank you, Lesley!

  • May good luck, good medicine, and good caring people surround and support you both! Been there (yesterday was one of those days), and I know that the knitting sustains me.

    • BJ, thank you! Knit on!

  • Beautiful! Immunotherapy is amazing. Best wishes to you both for a swift return to good health and to getting back to normalcy. (My waiting room project during my mother’s cancer journey was socks. Knitting made all the difference in my ability to support and stay strong for her.)

    • Hootenanny, thank you! We are placing our hopes on immunotherapy. Knit on!

  • I’m new to waiting room knitting. I love the idea of a hat to give away. I forgot my sock that I was going to bring for the wait, so we stopped at a LYS in the big city. I bought some soft colorful malbrigo and started a hitchhiker. Later that week, in another waiting room it occurred to me how appropriate that pattern was. He is patiently allowing me to hitch along.

    • Mary Ellen, welcome to the waiting room knitting circle! Your shawl in Malabrigo (one of my favorite wools!) sounds like a perfect project. Knit on!

    • Prayers and hugs to Michelle and Rody and so many who expressed their stories in these comments. Thank you for sharing all of the stories. For giving us a hint of your courage and strength. Knitting is comfort.

  • Prayers for you & your husband. I also find knitting a good distraction from pain & waiting now. I also like the fact I have something to show for my time.

    • Jo Meyer, thank you. Sometimes it seems nothing short of amazing to have knit anything, let alone a good chunk of what will be a hat for a cold head.

  • I have always taken my knitting to doctor’s appointments and when commuting on the train into the city, which I typically do 3 times a week. As much as knitting has always been both a creative endeavor and a calming one, when my husband was terminally ill, knitting did not comfort or fill those long hours. I still haven’t figured out why that is the case.

    • Evelyne, thank you for writing. I am sorry for your loss. I suppose sometimes knitting is just about moving needles and yarn to make something, anything, and our grief and sadness is not comforted. May you find comfort no.

  • Knitting can help save your sanity. I retaught myself to knit after my husband’s neck cancer diagnosis. Today, 15 years later, my husband remains well and knitting is all joy. I so hope the same for you. Here is a piece I wrote about my experience:

    Stitches in Time

    “Metastasized cancer,” he says. He had promised the lump on my husband’s neck was a cyst, but now his disembodied voice says, “Metastasized cancer.” And something about finding “the original site.” He gives Tom smelling salts. I think I might vomit.

    At 3 a.m., when I cannot sleep, I teach myself to knit. I watch videos until I master “slip 1 knitwise,” “purl 2 together,” and “yarn forward.” I make baby hats of bright cottons, with stripes, bobbles and curlicues, for fuzzy, fresh heads I will never know.

    “Expect a year of hell,” the surgeon at Mayo says. Neck dissection. Tube feedings. “You might not be able to swallow, or lift your arm.” He advises saving chemotherapy for the “last resort,” a relapse. Tom’s neck is held together with Frankenstein-like staples.

    I cast on a ribbed scarf in soft orange tweed, unending rows to wrap the empty space that used to be muscle and lymph nodes and saliva glands. I wish it were chain mail.

    We make daily visits to the radiation machines in the basement that shoot particles into Tom’s neck. A mold holds his head motionless on the table. They say the effect will be “cumulative.” I hear other patients cry out in pain as they are moved into position.

    I work in black wool, a sweater I choose to consume larger chunks of time. I knit bottomless black seas that wash across my lap onto the arms of the institutional chair.

    Another day-month-year. Another check. Gloved fingers probe his throat, making him gag. A tube with a camera on the tip slides through his nostril down to his vocal chords.

    I don’t have my knitting. I don’t know what to do with my hands. I try to hold them still in my lap. I try not to scream.

    • Judy, thank you for sharing your story with me. What a lot to go through. I am so glad that your husband is well now and that knitting remains a joy for you.

    • Bless you both.

  • Thank you for sharing. Warm wishes and thoughts to your husband and yourself as you continue on this journey. Hopefully the road is not too long and arduous.

    • Cassandra, I appreciate your warm wishes and thoughts. Be well.

  • I’ve been in a similar situation twice with my husband. I gind the stress makes it too hard to read but knitting is so calming and therapeutic. Usually it’s baby hats for pregnant friends or hats for folks on the street.

    • Sara, I also reading difficult in all waiting rooms. I hope your husband is doing well. Knit on!

  • Thank you for sharing your art and thoughts. Knitting is the best waiting tool, bringing contentment, comfort, calm and a feeling that you are accomplishing something. I knit while waiting all the time. Many times I look at patterns and save them just for those waiting times. Thank God for yarn.

    • Linda, I am with you 100%! Grateful for yarn. Knit on!

    • Linda, I’m with you 100%. Thanks for writing. Be well. Knit on!

  • Bless you and your husband on this journey! Sending positive vibes your way!

    • Connie, thank you! Knit on!

  • Thank you for sharing this special story. Sending you hugs and healing across the miles.

    • Sharon, I am grateful for you comment. Be well. Knit on!

  • Sending all the love to you and Rody, Michelle! <3

    • Thank you, Jen!!

  • Thank you for sharing your experience. I can absolutely relate, because I am in kidney failure waiting for a transplant.. that of course means endless hospital and doctors visits as well as 3x per week dialysis treatments. I’ve been waiting in waiting rooms for over three years, again and again. I’ve always one or multiple knitting and crocheting projects, because they keep me calm, help with anxiety and the projects make people smile.
    My last bigger project was knitting headbands and fingerless gloves for the dialysis nurses and hats for the male nurses, but I also make lap blankets and little garlands. Little handmade gifts come from the heart and are always greeted with smiles.
    Thank you.

    • Kristina, what a generous soul you are! I bet your gifts are always appreciated. You are an inspiration. Be well. Knit on!

    • I hope you get your kidney … and a full recovery … soon. Bless you.

      • Yes!! May it be soon.

  • Michelle, I will be thinking of you and Rody as I work on my second sock knitting. Many blessings to you both. ❤

    • Diane, thank you so much. Be well. Knit on!

  • Beautiful thoughts.

    • Thank you, Miss!

  • Beautiful, Michelle—thank you. Wishing all good things for you and Rody.

    • Vicki, I appreciate your comment and wishes! Be well! Knit on!

  • In October, 2013 my husband had a “widow maker” heart attack. (Thankfully it wasn’t quite that because he’s still kickin’.) The following morning I sat in the cardiac surgery waiting room anxiously awaiting the cardiologist. He implanted four stents that morning.

    As I waited, a basket on the floor caught my attention. It was full of yarn and the beginnings of a prayer shawl, along with the invitation to “knit for a bit to help the time go by.” I wished that I knew how to knit and thought maybe I’d look into learning.

    Over that winter we were back at that darn hospital three more times after episodes of exhaustion, shortness of breath and chest pain. With each visit my husband’s collection of stents grew to a total of nine. At each visit I looked at that basket and thought about learning how to knit.

    The next winter I finally started with a couple of lessons at the Ben Franklin Store in Oconomowoc Wisconsin. Sadly, it is closed now. But it was a wonderful place. They had beautiful yarn along with supplies for just about any craft. But the best thing was the knowlegeable and helpful staff who were always so encouraging. If they hadn’t been I doubt I’d have stuck with it.

    Fortunately I haven’t had to do too much waiting room knitting, but if not for that waiting room I wouldn’t be a knitter.

    • Joni, thank you sharing your knitting story! I was at that Ben Franklin back in the day, so I can really visualize your experience. Glad to hear your husband is well.

  • Your brilliantly written article and warmly composed drawings have eased my mind and released my tears as I waited outside the hospital not knowing what the future would be. Thank you very much and wish all the best for you and your family.

    • Sherry, how hard your waiting must be! May the future hold calm and good health for you and yours. Take care.

  • God speed on recovery. I too have done the knitting , both as the person in the waiting room, and as the patient undergoing chemo infusions. I made a blanket as a comfort item- and as a promise to finish the project. A prayer, a meditation in every stitch.

    • Thank you, Kimberlee! Knit on!

  • Thank you for sharing your story. I knitted socks and scarves during my late husband’s many appointments and hospital stays. Calming and comforting when words aren’t enough. Many prayers for you and Rudy.

    • I am sorry for your loss. Thank you for the prayers and your hearfelt comment. Be well.

  • Michelle, I am praying for strength and healing fir Rory and you.
    My husband’s journey began in August 2019, a dry nagging cough…it is just a cold that has gone into your lungs. The specialist confirmed stage 3 lung cancer. The journey began, surgery and Covid hit. He had chemo, radiation, and immune therapy. I couldn’t be by his side. I sat in my car waiting knitting hats, picc covers, seat belt pads, anything to bring comfort. It was a long isolated journey made worse by Covid. Knitting kept me sane.

  • In 1992 my 8 year old daughter was diagnosed with leukemia and she endured 2 years of chemotherapy and I don’t know what I would have done without my knitting. I can’t remember what I knit but it got me through 11 hour infusion days. She is 38 and has two kids and she is a cure !

    • Ann, what a hopeful story! Thank you for sharing. All the best to you and yours.

    • Ann, thanks for writing. Terrific to know your daughter made it through chemo in childhood to a health annd motherhood! Hurray!

  • I completely understand, Michelle. My husband has been undergoing immunotherapy for the past year. I always have my knitting. Like you, it’s usually a hat for donation to the cancer center. Next week he’s having surgery. I already have my projects in mind for then. One is already started, need to pull the others together. Praying for good results for all cancer patients. It’s an awful disease.

    • Renee, thanks for writing. Best healing thoughts for your husband’s surgery. May he and others go on to a healthy life.

  • beautiful essay. thank you

    • ❤️

  • Enjoyed your post. I learned to knit socks during my husband’s appointment times and infusion therapy for multiple myeloma. I think I made two dozen pairs to give to friends and family. It was his cold feet from the therapy that got me gout, and I was able to make 3 pair for him first. It was a good pastime for both of us. ❤️ Thank you for sharing and good luck with your husband’s treatment. They have wonderful medicine these days.

    • Sue, cold feet get a lot of knitters started on sock knitting. It’s what got me going. I hope you and yours are well and your feet are toasty warm. Thank you for sharing your story and for your good wishes for us.

  • Dear Michelle,

    Thank you for the beautifully written essay about cancer and getting through the processes by knitting. It hit home with me. My husband was diagnosed with esophageal cancer in 2020. in a very serendipty way, my youngest sister reintroduced my to knitting in January 2020. Little did she know that she gave me the perfect lifeline as I spent my time during his radiation treatments, chemo, and infusions of one kind or another. Now four sweaters (one was a black fisherman’s sweater I made for him for our 55th anniversary), one shawl and cap later, It has remained a lifeline for me. It’s meditative to me and keeps me centered especially on those days that bring tears. Thanks again for speaking so clearly and warmly to all of us who are in the same boat.

    • Elizabeth, I am so glad you rediscovered knitting, with help from your youngest sister, just in time for when you needed it most. May you all be well. Knit on!

  • Wishing you and your husband all the best. I just finished a year of immunotherapy. So far so good – hurray for science!

    • Tasha, congratulations on finishing your immunotherapy year! Hurray for science is right! Thank you for your best wishes and for writing. May you be well.

  • Thanks for sharing your story.

    • Christine, Be well. Knit on!

  • I returned to knitting after a decade of moving to a warm place where children no longer needed mittens, hats and ski socks. Then came the year where my single sister in FL was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and my mother was in Maine, in hospice at 99 with congestive heart failure. After a week teaching I would fly to one or the other for the weekend or longer when my sister needed me. Knitting in airports, airplanes, hospital waiting rooms, hospice rooms started conversations with many kind people, kept me patient and ready to help and created lap blankets for my dear ones.

    • Mary, you do know a lot about knitting while waiting. It sounds like your knitting brought you important conversations and community in the most liminal of spaces. Thank you for sharing your story with me. Be well. Knit on!.

  • Waiting room knitting is also the most caring form of Knitting In Public. Tense, tired, overwhelmed people sitting in the room with you have an instant bridge to conversation, one that is not about how sick their lived one is. “Ooh, what are you making?” ‘Oh, my aunt used to knit, is it hard to do?” And with that, a friend is made, sometime, but a load is lightened, every time.

    • Jenna, well put! Thank you. I hope you and yours are well. Knit on!

  • Lovely article. When I was diagnosed with breast cancer, I too started bringing my knitting to every appointment and treatment. My first project was a shawl aptly called Therapy. It has some errors in it, but when wrapped around my neck, they can’t be seen. Another shawl I made shows the effects of the painkillers after surgery, but one has to look closely to see the misplaced stitches. And again, when worn, the errors are not easily seen. Along the way, I bonded with my chemo nurse over knitting, and met other knitters who shared patterns, and favorite needles. When my husband had a bout with cancer, I kept on knitting, and I knit while sitting with my Mom in her last days. I still use handknits as armor/security wraps when facing potentially difficult situations, and always bring a project to waiting rooms.

    • Christina, thank you for sharing your knitting stories. I love how you called your shawl (first project a shawl!) Therapy. I hope you and yours are well. Knit on!

  • Thank you for sharing your story with all of us. So many of us can relate to the waiting room stories. My last remaining maternal family member , an aunt going through chemo and radiation while I knit away on socks in the waiting area. Knitting was my calming corner. It always broke my heart to see someone arrive for treatment alone wishing the hospitals had volunteers to accompany them ,just someone waiting with a smile for them and know covid has change some many possibilities for such things. I continue , now, to sit in another waiting room while my husband is going through testing. Still knitting but adding a very simple shawl along with my simple socks.
    Hope, Hugs & Strength to all who continue their waiting room knitting journey.

    • Cynthia, I can almost see you in the waiting room knitting circle, working on a simple shawl. I hope all goes well for your husband. Thank you for your generous comment. Be well. Knit on!

  • My son has been in and out of the hospital for the last 20 years and my knitting always go with me. Usually, it is a baby blanket on my needles.

    • Betty, thanks for writing. Best wishes for wellness to you and your son. Baby blanket knitting is a sweet project for waiting rooms. Knit on!

  • Beautifully written. I love the idea of a project you can finish, nearly finish, with the wait. I typically just lug whatever I’m working on at the time.

    • Melinda, thanks for writing. It helps to have a dedicated bag set up for waiting room knitting. I have started to use the same yarns, making it easy always have the correct needles. I have even bought a few skiens to keep on hand. Be well. Knit on!

  • Amen, sister! Well said.

    • Thanks, Ann! Be well. Knit on!

  • Dear Michelle,
    Been away so I am behind in reading the blog. Please know that another knitter is sending well wishes to Rody and you. Hang in there. As always, loved your illustration and words.

    • JanGrimmer, thank you for your words and well wishes. Be well. Knit on!

  • So beautiful! I knit through 4 of my 5 births which greatly amused my nurses and doctors. I donated the knitting I did while going through 4 miscarriages. I didn’t want the memories.

    • Leslie, thank you! Sometimes it’s best to let others enjoy what we knit while our hearts are healing. Be well. Knit on!

  • Sending good vibes for the magic potion to work its magic. I have definitely done my share of waiting room knitting. It always helps.

    • Ruth, I feel those good vibes. Thanks for sending them. Be well! Knit on!

  • ❤️❤️❤️✅

  • i knit for my first grandchild, my mothers first great grandchild, during her chemo treatments for a rare cancer that came out of nowhere and took her before he was born. Yes, knitting during those times is so helpful and eases the stress and sadness. I don’t know what i would do without it

  • Beautiful stories. thank you

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