How to Choose an Emergency Room Knitting Project

Today’s post is about selecting a good project to take along with you to the ER.  If your family is like mine, with the thrills and spills of everyday active life, you wind up there more often than you’d like.  Rather than submit to the tedium that is the ER experience, why not take along a knitting project and have something to show for those hours of waiting?

First, choose your emergency event well.  Don’t choose something that’s immediate and life-threatening, as that sort of event won’t give you sufficient time to even grab your knitting bag, let alone stash your necessities in it.  A good sort of emergency requires the services available only at the ER, but isn’t so urgent as to prevent you from throwing a few things into your knitting bag before you drive off.

Take, for instance, my most recent emergency.  My 13-year-old, using a 13-year-old’s very best problem solving skills, decided to climb over a fence at summer camp, rather than go a few feet out of his way to walk around it.  Not only does he have spot-on 13-year-old reasoning skills, he also has the coordination to go along with it.  The resulting tumble was about four feet onto pavement.  His face broke his fall.  The summer camp folks duly bandaged him up and called me.  I decided it was the better part of valor to have him checked out, as this was most likely the second concussion he’s had in about three weeks.

Now, the time of day this all occurred and the availability of a CT scanner pretty much dictated a trip to the ER.  After we decided to go for a concussion evaluation, we took a few minutes to get ready for what we figured (rightly) would be an hours-long wait.  Which brings me to my next point:

Second, consider what projects would work best while you’re sitting in an uncomfortable chair for hours on end.  Keep in mind that you may have long stretches of time punctuated at irregular intervals by various medical workers coming to poke and prod and take the patient away for various tests.

Waiting at someone’s bedside in an ER bay may not be particularly conducive to projects involving complicated charts, that are really huge, that have a lot of different yarns to keep track of, or are anything that’s a stretch, based on your own knitting abilities.  You may not find a good place to rest a chart while you’re working, and knitting something that’s frustrating and tedious may not help the frustration and tedium of the ER experience.  On the other hand, something that’s too simple may not keep you from fretting too much.

For those reasons, I prefer something small, with a pattern that’s enough to keep my interest, simple enough to pick up and put down when meeting with medical personnel, and doesn’t require a complicated chart.

Third, take with you what’s convenient.  Even if you’ve chosen your emergency well and have a few minutes to gather your things, you still have to be pretty quick about getting yourself and your loved ones out the door in a timely fashion.  A deep stash dive is not in order.  The project needs to be one where you’ve got your yarn, needles, and pattern pretty well handy.

Most of the time, I have at least three projects going: A long-term, complicated project that takes my mind off of work (in this case, a Shetland lace shawl), a somewhat easier project (typically, a cabled sweater), and a portable, easy project I can do while chatting.  This time, though, I was more constrained.  The Shetland shawl is nearing completion, but the stretch I’m in now is the most complicated.  So, that was out due to size and complicated charts.  The sweater I’m designing is still very much in the design and swatch phase, and I didn’t want to cart along a bunch of stitch dictionaries.  And, I’d just finished my mitten project, which would have been an ideal ER project.

While my husband put together a tote filled with snacks and water bottles, books and e-readers, I ran to my sewing room to check my options.  I grabbed a skein of baby yarn, some DPNs, and my Baby Leaves Hat pattern, and off we went.

Six hours later, my son was diagnosed with a broken finger and concussion.  We were relieved that the CT scan was normal.  Here he is, all patched up.

While we waited for various procedures and diagnoses,  the guys read and I knitted just about the whole hat except for the ribbing.   I was relieved that my son’s injuries weren’t worse, and pleased that I had stayed sane and occupied for that time, practically knitting an object from start to finish.

In case you’re curious, this is the Baby Leaves Hat by Paula Dean Nevison that I’ve knitted and blogged about before.  Yarn is Sirdar Snuggly DK in colorway 329.


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1 Response to How to Choose an Emergency Room Knitting Project

  1. Pingback: The Interstitial Knitter | A Rocky Mountain Knitter

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