Perri Klass, MD


Perri Klass, MD

I love to knit, I love to read, and I love to read about knitting.

I wish I could say that I only went to medical school to support my knitting habit. It would sound wonderful, but it wouldn't really be true; I went to medical school in part, I suppose, to support my writing habit, and discovered in medicine a new source of stories, a new identity as a writer. It was not my original ambition to be a knitting writer, or a medical writer, either; it was my firm and fervent ambition to be a writer of fiction, and I have been writing stories pretty much ever since I first learned to write. I come of a family of writers, and I think I always understood that fiction writing was a gift, a joy, a labor of love-in other words, that I would need a day job. And thus I found myself in medical school, and when I was in medical school, I started writing about my training and about the experience of being transformed into a doctor. I wrote a series of essays in the New York Times about drawing blood for the first time, about the experience of crying in the hospital. I wrote about having my first baby while in medical school, which was much more unusual back in 1984 than it would be today.

And it was then, as I became something of a "medical writer," that I began to dream of writing about knitting. There was, after all, quite enough medicine and medical school and medical information in my life already. And yes, it might be somewhat therapeutic to come home after an overwhelming day in the hospital and then to sit down and write the story of what had happened, but then, on the other hand, it was much more therapeutic to come home and knit-or to knit at work, if I could get away with it. Why couldn't I write more about knitting, about something I loved, something that helped keep me going, but was in danger of getting squeezed out of my overtired life? All through medical school and internship and residency training in pediatrics, as my knitting habit became more serious, as I became more and more addicted to knitting books and knitting magazines, I tried to convince editors that a knitting story would be more fun, or more exciting, or attract more interest, than a medical story. When I finally got my chance to write my first knitting essay, I was just finishing my training as a pediatrician. I had a lot to say about the ways that knitting mattered to me during those emotionally intense years of taking care of very sick children, those sleep-deprived years of long nights in the hospital.

-From TWO SWEATERS FOR MY FATHER: WRITING ABOUT KNITTING

Articles/Introduction posted with permission of XRX, Inc


Here are some articles by and about me (and knitting):

Click below to read the first essay I ever wrote about knitting - A column in The New York Times about knitting at work
HERS; A Stitch In Time

Click below to read a discussion of the medical value of knitting - By doctors and non-doctors
Medicine and Knitting

Pattern Recognition
I started thinking about how when you do knit a piece that someone else has invented, follow her pattern, then for at least a while, you almost see the world through her eyes.
Knitter’s Magazine WINTER 2007

A Knitting-Shaped Hole
Actually, I started thinking about whether there was a knitting-shaped hole in my own life—or would be, if I put down my knitting . . .
Knitter’s Magazine SPRING 2008

Stripe Dreams
And in my night dreams, I cover the world in stripes . . .
Knitter’s Magazine SPRING 2008

Turning 50
Knitting is my internal symbol. It represents me.
Knitter’s Magazine SUMMER 2008

Two Sweaters For My Father