It came out in the blocking!

I’ve been making a baby blanket to raffle off at a charity event to benefit a local 4 year old with Stage IV cancer. About halfway through, I looked at the blanket and realized it was nothing but a series of interlocked mistakes, worthless. No one would want it for her baby. I should just toss it.

The same night, I realized ♥My Book♥ was nothing more than a series of stupid sentences, so I put two and two together and realized I wasn’t being rational. But my urge to knit the thing had been sapped.

Last week I awoke at 2 AM hearing my inner voice telling me I was a hideous, loathsome human being because I hadn’t even made that baby blanket. For some reason, that spurred me into high gear, and four days later, the second half of the baby blanket was completed, bound off, and the ends woven in. It still looked like a series of mistakes loosely looped together, but there was nothing for it. I’d done what I’d set out to do.

I tossed it into the washing machine (it’s acrylic, yet another reason to hate it) and tried to forget all about it.

When it came out, I spread out the thing, and behold:

The mistakes were gone.


Long, long ago, Ivy told me one of the most common knitting mistakes is to say to oneself, “It’ll come out in the blocking.” That what you see is, in general, what you get. And yet here I was, staring at this lovely blanket with all the uneven stitches evened out by a simple trip through the washer and dryer.

And it makes me wonder, is this what happens after we die, when God binds off our souls and tosses us into the divine washing machine? All the uneven little bits get washed and spun into evenness, and the pattern itself becomes visible as everything it ought to have been. The truth nature of what we’ve become is evident, and we’re blocked: the lace becomes straight, the slubs become even.

I’m not saying our small sins — the moments we snap at people, the good deeds left undone — are unimportant. But maybe over time, those are things God can easily wash out of us. Whereas the larger defects — a row of knits instead of a row of purls, or a lifetime of stealing — actually change the nature of the fabric we’ve created. 

Maybe Grace and Mercy make up for a lot of our human nature, a lot more than I ever thought. Maybe in the end, God looks at our souls and is pleased with what he made, and says, “Look! It came out in the blocking!”


  1. Ivy

    The common knitting joke is that EVERYTHING comes out in the blocking. Twisted stitches. Cables turning the wrong way. Dropped stitches.

    Uneven gauge comes out in the blocking. The strain formed from picking up a dropped stitches comes out in the blocking. The curling of stockinette actually comes out in the blocking, which floored me until I was instructed to do it for the masters. Try it. It actually works.

    Blocking lace is a wonder because with lace you really can’t see what you’re making until you’re blocking it. The stitches gather and bunch and the whole thing looks like a tangled mess as you go, then when it’s all pinned out to dry, that’s when you really see it for the first time. So maybe we’re a bit like lace. As He forms us, He doesn’t entirely see us. He doesn’t fully know us until we’re acting in the world, the soul’s form of blocking. Then He gets to witness His creation in full for the first time.

    1. philangelus

      Wouldn’t God be all-knowing and therefore fully know us even before we act in the world?

      But definitely for the rest of creation, we might look at one another (and ourselves too!) and think, “Wow! So that’s what God was making!”

      1. knit_tgz

        Oh. You two just made me think (and this shows how much of a geek I am, even a knitting geek) “So, we’re like a BSJ”? (for the non-initiated, see here).

  2. Ivy

    Oh, and the blanket is absolutely lovely. 🙂 Acrylic is the most common fiber for a baby blanket, and easy care is the right choice for this project.

  3. philangelus

    Thanks — I thought “machine washable” was a good option for anything that might get covered in spit-up. 🙂

  4. Scott

    Please don’t try the same method with your book.

    Paper and computers don’t mix so so well with washing machines. 😉

    1. philangelus

      Good point. I guess I’ll edit it instead.

  5. karen ^.,.^

    lovely blanket — knitting is something i’ve never tried. i crochet and cross-stitch, but knitting looks so complicated. it’s a beautiful blanket. the family that uses it will be blessed. 🙂

    1. philangelus

      Usually I pray for the recipient while knitting. This time I prayed for the child with cancer. It just made more sense to do it that way.

  6. Lane in PA

    The blanket is a work of art. It was made by human hands and not a machine. It was made with love and prayers.

    1. philangelus

      Love and prayers, yes, but I still see a ton of mistakes in it. But I hope someone wins it and has a beautiful baby sleeping under it and feels a sense of peace.

  7. Kathy

    Love this! Thanks for sharing!

  8. knit_tgz

    By the way, the blanket looks so cozy and perfect to make a baby (an mother) feel loved!

  9. barbara the scot (mamabeak)

    Yes.. I like these thoughts. They make sense. I often think of you when I say my Rosary. And, realised tonight – the discussion on happiness on NFP and on my forum – that .. the workings of the Devil (manifest or metaphorical) in letting ourselves be weighed down by the insigificant, superficial, inconsequential and in letting that dim our vision of so much. Noise/dirt blocking out the Spirit. And choice.. Free Choice .. in going along with that or finding a clearer pitch/cleaning the window.

    Sometimes the choice is diminished by circumstance.

  10. barbara the scot (mamabeak)

    adding: I know this is hard for you because your Emily died but please pray for this woman and her baby (anencephaly).

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