another blanket

The news came like a punch in the gut a few weeks ago. I had emailed a few former professors/mentors/teachers of mine asking if it would be okay to list them as references for a job I was applying for, and one wrote back to say "Of course you can always list me as a reference. By the way, did you hear about J's breast cancer diagnosis?"

Unsurprisingly, I never got a reply from J, who was recovering from a mastectomy and had just completed one round of chemo. She's got another four months of treatment to go, and from what I hear it's rough already. With a demanding job (from which I hope she is taking medical leave) and a family, I can't imagine the stress and exhaustion she is going through.

I'm not always so good at expressing myself verbally, but I can show that I care in other ways, so I knit a blanket for her. It's the Hodgkins blanket pattern (which I intend to write up into a free PDF for download pretty soon) I made for my SIL five years ago and my neighbor two years ago, both of whom are healthy and thriving now, so I hope that's a good sign.

I wish these pictures were better. The color is probably most accurate in the picture above, a nice pumpkin orange.

What do you do when someone you care about is having a crisis? This is a person who means a lot to me. I learned a tremendous amount from her about teaching and being a musician, and I will always be grateful to her for that.

Our paths haven't crossed so much lately, but I can't ignore what J is going through. I'm not sure how best to give her the blanket, but I'm leaning towards mailing it. For one thing, I know that chemotherapy is a big hit on the immune system, and I have kids of my own who are snot factories at the moment, so I don't want to bring it over in person and risk introducing new germs to her home. But also, it's been a while since we've had a close relationship and I don't know how to bring this over in person without feeling awkward. I don't even know how she feels about visitors right now. I'm afraid I'm admitting to my own cowardice and discomfort here, but there you are.

Knitting a blanket was the least I could do. Maybe in a week or two I'll gather the courage to make her and her family some soup.

Pattern: my own design, the Hodgkins Blanket, a better pattern write up coming soon!
Yarn: Lion Brand wool-east thick and quick, just under 8 skeins
Sticks: size 11 circular needles


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