The trouble with mittens is that one looks awfully lonely without its twin— End of the year reflections

from Theresa

I know about being a twin. I had a twin brother, Tom. Twenty-three years ago on New Year’s Eve, he died in a small plane crash. Every New Year’s Eve since reminds me of how fragile life is; every birthday we share reminds me of the years we haven’t spent together. I gave the sweater I was knitting during that time to my brother-in-law. He loved it, but every time I saw it, I saw that every piece—the sleeves, the front, and the back—was a different gauge, a reflection of my grief and loss.

My life changed again 12 years ago. One week in August, I found out I was pregnant for the first time—and I found out I had cervical cancer. Although the doctors thought the choice of immediate surgery was obvious, I just couldn’t envision my life knowing what might have been. My knitting friend, Sister Mary Daniel took it as a sign, so did I. I spent the next eight months knitting—sweaters and hats and booties and a blanket for my son, a sweater for my husband, a cardigan for my mom, mittens, scarves, hats, afghans…. I worried about who to give my yarn to. And I knit into the wee hours, wringing out every moment.

Tommy’s now 11 and a joy. He’s part of my knitting, too. Every time I open my book of patterns, I see him grow, from my very first official pattern, Jack o’ Lantern Hat #1, to the Voyageur’s Toque #142 taken last summer on a family camping trip to the Boundary Waters of Minnesota.

Two years ago, I designed this little felted purse for a fundraiser for the Susan B. Komen foundation to fight breast cancer. I still get queries for the pattern, so I thought I’d offer the pattern for sale, profits going to cancer research. Email me [theresa AT erazmus DOT com] to purchase a copy. Downloadable to come soon.

This last year has been good. My family is healthy. I have several good jobs. My knitting is a joy and my house is warm due in part to the insulating properties of yarn in my attic. Minnesota is a great place to be alive.

Knitting entwines my life, moving from past to present to future. My best wishes for the New Year.


2 responses to “The trouble with mittens is that one looks awfully lonely without its twin— End of the year reflections

  1. I had tears in my eyes as I read. All the best!

  2. Theresa, when I wrote the post about fraternal twins I had no idea that it was so close to the anniversary of your brother’s death. That is a beautiful piece. Happy New Year to you and all of your family.

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