Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Learning to Knit

Life is funny.   When I was young, I could never figure out how to knit or crochet.   My mother could crochet anything, she made zillions of bedspreads and shawls and sweaters and toys and doll clothes and tablecloths and, even when her dementia was so bad that she didn't know anything else, she crocheted hundreds of hats that we handed out to shelters all across the region.    But when I was forced, through circumstances too complicated for me to grapple with here, to sit in physicians' waiting rooms for hours and weeks and months because of a friend's illness, I picked up the needles and tried again.    The crocheting still didn't make sense to me, but I slowly taught myself to knit and purl, and I found I was less frantic about the time spent sitting when my needles were moving.    I made many scarves and a few dishcloths in those waiting rooms and, when I no longer had to be there, I put the needles aside.

When I lost my job I tried to knit again, and it was as if I had never learned.   My mind was so bruised from the battering it received that year -- my daughter's horrific injury, my lost job, the unfounded but terrifying IRS audit (and their claim that I owed tens of thousands of dollars), the front door of my house kicked in -- I couldn't concentrate, couldn't count, couldn't knit.

I picked up my needles again a couple of weeks ago and find myself clicking calmly in the evenings, making nothing more complicated than dishcloths again.   Maybe someday I will learn to read a pattern, maybe someday I will learn to knit something more demanding.    But it felt, to me, like an unexpected and very happy victory to be able to keep count of my stitches again and knit a simple square.

5 comments:

Emily@theNest said...

Dear Gail, I think thats where exactly I was at a few weeks ago- just needed to keep my fingers moving... and I have a large 40 inchx 40 inch square of crochet that got me "over the hump", and now I'm making these crazy, eccentric pieces that make no sense, (but will!!) and I'm enjoying the process immensely. I think there is something of basic therapeutic value of knitting or crocheting, and all the more therapeutic if it is just simple squares... does that make any sense?? (it's late!!!!) btw, that story of your mother crocheting even with dementia is just so lovely. xx

The Farmer Files said...

Supposedly, people who knit are brilliant and the most relaxed. Those simple facts are inspiring to me. I loved the story about your mother.

gpc said...

Thanks, Emily, I hadn't thought of actually using the squares together (duh) - what a great idea! Mrs. Farmer, your comment made me laugh -- I'm knitting fast and furiously now, trying to become brilliant and relaxed! :D

Janet Bocciardi said...

So glad I made you chuckle on my post, because after reading what you've been going through - you needed it! ; )

I have a funny story about knitting, too. I've always been a crafter so always busy doing something. In the first 8 or so years of marriage I didn't knit, however. Crocheted and counted cross-stitch and embroidery were my only needle skills at the time. However, every time someone would call and my husband would ask what I was doing he'd say "knittin'." LOL! He had no idea what I was doing and it was just his catch-all I guess. I finally picked it up and now that's what I go to when I'm relaxing.

It says a lot about you that although you were down, you continued to want to be productive even when you were sitting in waiting rooms.

Take care and I look forward to reading more of your posts!

ikkinlala said...

I'm glad to hear that you can knit again!