knitting up love, peace, magic

Almost three decades ago we moved into a little brick house on a tree-lined street. On a walk with my very little boy, we met the most magical family. They had tulips carved into their shutters, two babies and a house filled with laughter. From Kristin I learned to always look for fairies in the garden, that toys scattered across the floor signifies time well spent playing, to celebrate every holiday, every season, that you should always have the ingredients for chocolate cake on hand, and how to knit.

Kristin learned to knit in college and by the time I met her, she could create mittens, hats, sweaters and more, from just an idea– without patterns or instructions. I remember when little Sammie pointed out a beautiful sweater in a children’s fairytale and Kristin knit up an identical (but real!) pullover.

I wanted to learn (I wanted to be like her in every way. But I’m left-handed, dyslexic and sometimes slow with detail oriented tasks (I’m still a TERRIBLE typist).

Still, Kristin gave me the best advice, “Knit something you love” and directed me to good books and patterns. And I learned, slowly but surely, often taking apart the whole sweater and starting over. I didn’t want to bother Kristin with my endless questions because she was having another baby (and then one more!).

Just this week, Kristin published the book she wanted to give me all those years ago:

Yes! That’s my darling niece Lizzy on the cover, because Lizzy married Kristin’s youngest and (as you’ve probably figured out by now) that cute little girl in the fairytale pullover married Ben.

Although both families moved away from that tree-lined street, we kept in touch. We met for family picnics, at violin concerts, and school plays and always, always Kristin was knitting. During all those times when moms are waiting, she kept calm and busy while creating something beautiful. I learned from Kristin not to rush, to go back and fix mistakes, and always, always to knit something you love.

It’s the first advice Kristin gave me and it’s on the first page of her book, “Knit something you love.”

Too many beginning knitters start with boring hot pads or endless scarves. Kris encouraged me to knit baby sweaters, finely detailed hats, cardigans with pewter buttons. “Enjoy the process, embrace the challenges,” she taught me, “don’t just knit something because it’s fast; you’ll treasure the things that take more time.”

And she’s right. Of all the sweaters I knit in those years, it’s this red checked traditional Fana cardigan- my little boys wore one after the other- I treasure the most.

An important truth: knitting does not save you money. The Nordic Knitting Primer is a remarkable deal with 20 patterns for $20. But in general, you’ll pay $5-12 per pattern.* Needles and yarn are expensive. You can find cute sweaters for much less at Target. I recommend mittens, hats and slippers as cost effective projects and Kristin’s patterns create treasured heirlooms.

So, please, don’t look at it as a way to save money or clothe your family. Look it as a way to express your love to family members (I’ll make you a hat! Just choose the colors.), to calm yourself during times of stress, to express your own creativity and to create order out of chaos. Savor choosing beautiful patterns and gorgeous yarns in just the colors you love.

*You can find incredible patterns from all over the world on

** I buy needles and yarn at local shops like Blazing Needles and Harmony Provo. For online shopping, I especially love Wool & Co.

And knitting is magical. There are only two stitches: knit and purl and yet, the variations of color and pattern are endless. In almost every pattern, there are moments when you think, “this can’t be right,” and then you gasp at the magic spun from your fingers. I’ve used the word magic twice in blog post headings in the last week and that’s on purpose. We have the privilege of creating magic in our lives and in our homes. We can be the skeptics of the world or we can embrace each day with wonder.

Knitting is faith put into action: knitting sweaters for a much-wanted baby, hats for the winter we know will come, hats for a child going on a journey. My favorite knitting story features my friend Kit who knit through years of infertility for the babies she knew would come.

Since Kristin dropped off an early copy when I was sick with Covid I’ve knit the darling Freya hat and I’m halfway through the Selbu mittens. I’m taking the time to carefully read the instructions and I’m amazed at how much I’m learning. So here’s my last bit of advice: read every word, follow every tutorial. Kristin has so much to share and she’s generously poured it into this beautiful book.

Happy knitting!

p.s. and because I want to pay it forward, I’m giving away The Nordic Knitting Primer plus the needles and yarn to create the first project to one reader. Simply comment with #knit.

p.p.s and you’ll want to follow Kristin @scandiwork on Instagram. Also, if you follow knitter (and people with babies) your Instagram feed with suddenly become much happier.

January 27, 2022



  1. Annie

    January 29, 2022

    #knit! I know how to crochet but have always wanted to learn how to knit.

  2. Kim

    January 29, 2022

    #knit I’m in a knitting slump and this looks like it would bust me out of it! I’m in awe of that perfect little red and white sweater.

  3. Emily Barneck

    January 29, 2022

    I am loving having you back in my life via your blog. Thank you, Michelle, for being a light! Sending my love to your family.

  4. Adri Murdock

    January 29, 2022

    Your lovely words make me want to learn to #knit, too! Congrats to your grandma cohort! If only we could all have our kids and nieces marry into our friends’ families…Dreamy!

  5. Jill Martin

    January 29, 2022

    #knit. I would love to learn and add some magic to my life. Thanks for all you do!!

  6. eliza:)

    January 29, 2022

    #knit !! this is so beautiful! i’m over here living the lovely life of being left-handed, uncoordinated, & remarkably adhd. on the other hand, i’m also madly in love with art, & that’s literally what this book is!! wowowow

  7. Jessica Galke

    January 29, 2022

    #knit That little sweater is so sweet!

  8. GM

    January 29, 2022

    #knit. What a wonderful project to do year-round!

  9. Jordan Smurthwaite

    January 29, 2022

    That little red cardigan is so darling. I need to learn to #knit ❤️

  10. Audrey Hanks

    January 30, 2022

    #knit I have picked up my knitting again lately and am trying to find a project I love to dive deep on. I am looking to knitting for soothing my soul and reducing my anxiety during a particularly uncertain and overwhelming period of life. This post came into my life at exactly the right moment for so many reasons. Thank you.

  11. Michelle Carey

    January 31, 2022

    I’ve followed you for years since I found a picture of your teeny, tiny salt bowls and spoons. While I’d love the book and knitting starters, I live in Singapore now, and I’d be knitting slippers to sit in my house with the air conditioning on! 🙂

  12. Michelle

    January 31, 2022

    I’ve followed you for years since I found a picture of your teeny, tiny salt bowls and spoons. While I’d love the book and knitting starters, I live in Singapore now, and I’d be knitting slippers to sit in my house with the air conditioning on! 🙂

  13. Jenny

    January 31, 2022

    #knit So glad you’re posting again!

  14. tracy

    January 31, 2022

    I’ve tried knitting off and on over the past 30 years without love or success. This advice though, to knit something I truly love, might just get me started again. Love you. Love this. #knit

  15. Ellen Patton

    January 31, 2022

    Time for a new hobby! #knit

  16. Marguerite

    February 2, 2022

    #knit I would love to learn to make such beautiful things.

  17. Jill

    February 2, 2022

    What beautiful work! I’d love to learn.

  18. Kayci R

    February 3, 2022

    #knit What a generous way to pay it forward. I have tried a lot of other hobbies but always been intimidated by knitting. Maybe I can overcome that?

  19. Cecily

    February 3, 2022

    I also learned to knit on a baby sweater that each of my boys wore. My mom was the knitting guru at our house, and I’m still learning from her. #knit


    February 14, 2022

    And the winner is #14 (for Valentine’s Day!) which just happens to be Tracy. I’ll get your mailing address and send you needles and the book from Amazon and $10 for yarn. Enjoy!!

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