Tuesday, March 26, 2013

"Knitting ...

... is not who you are," were the words from a woman, a minister, I had invited into my private place, my safe place.  The birthplace of my knit and crochet creations.  The place where I can be "me" in all my disabilities - and all my creativeness.

My wall of scarves
It had been an extremely rough half year.  My mom had died.  My relationship with my only sibling had taken a disturbing downturn.  All the PTSD and stress affects had gone off the roof.  No energy.  No motivation.  Overwhelmed by even the simplest tasks.  Unable to perform even the simplest tasks of living.

Yet, even in my grief and despair, there was still one thing I could do (besides sleep).  I could knit.

Even when the energy was very low and the cognitive skills were barely there, I could still knit.  One row forward; one row back.

Initially, after I returned from my mom's funeral, I discovered that reading patterns and following instructions was way beyond my abilities.  BUT, there was always the one row forward and the one row back.  The twirley scarves.

I always seem to have an abundance of them.  After mom died, I put that stash to good use.  Over the course of the last year when I had been able to visit my mom for a week at a time rather than a rushed weekend visit, I had gotten to know many of the assorted staff members from the aides to the nurses even to some of the administrative staff.

Mom had been a resident at the enriched seniors housing facility for seven years - and had been loved by many of the staff.  After her passing, I went back with a bagful of scarves and passed them out to those who had in some way blessed us during those seven years - especially during those last two weeks when the energizer bunny slowly ran down.

Coming home, my stash depleted, my abilities and cognitive skills down for the count, rebuilding my stash was the one activity I could do.  The one that kept me sane in an otherwise insane world.

Slowly, very slowly, my mind began to heal as the scarves flowed through my fingers.

Then I got challenged during one of my bi-weekly visits to my favorite yarn store.  I saw a hat.  A beret.  A slouchy beret.  I didn't want the one I saw on display.  I wanted to make one!  I wanted to create again.

With encouragement from my friendly mentor, I selected yarn and pattern.  Then the fun began.

I had used circular needles but only for flat pieces.  Now I was using them in a ... well ... a circle which was a challenge in and off itself.  Following the design was the hardest part of the challenge - which I accepted.  I knitted.  I ripped.  I started again.  I tinked (knit backwards which means "unknit" in layman's terms).  I used markers and row counters.  And I persevered.  Until it came time to close the circle - since I've never seen a hat with an open top.  To decrease stitches.  Here is where a new learning experience came in.  Learning to knit with double ended crowbars.  Oops!  I mean needles.  But they sure felt like crowbars to me.  They felt twelve feet long and at least a foot wide!  (see photos on left for real dimensions).

And here is where I leave the post for today.  With healing slowly beginning accompanied by the rhythmic click of the needles.

Knitting is not whom I am.

It's what I do.

It's how I heal.

More next time.

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