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.