Saturday, November 18, 2006
knitting as comfort
God be prais'd, that to believing souls,Everyone accepts that knitting can act as a comforting activity. I knit or spin to calm myself or relieve depression. But, often we don't consider the comfort knitting can bring to others. After posting last night, a knitting memory flashed. One of my first knitting memories, to be honest.
Gives light in darkness, comfort in despair
William Shakespeare (1564-1616)
My grandmother was dying, we were caring for her through Home Hospice. I had learned to spin several months prior and had just gotten together enough money to buy a spinning wheel. I had also learned to knit a month or two before and was knitting a hat. I had a pattern I knew, and I was sticking to it.
My grandmother, Margie Morris, had never been an independent person. She craved company, and dying slowly compounded this. The family agreed that we wouldn't leave her alone and took shifts keeping her company. Two weeks before she died, I was sitting in her rocking chair and she was bundled up in her recliner. She watched me knit that frustrating hat with fascination. She started telling me stories about her mother's knitting. My grandmother had never learned to knit because her mother just hadn't had the time to teach her. (They were what I call American peasants.)
But, Grandma was so happy to see that I had learned to knit and just loved to watch. Whenever another family member came in to keep us company, they'd sit down and watch me knit with fascination as well. The attention really unnerved me at first. I was a beginning knitter and knew I was terrible at it, but kept knitting because I soon realised that watching me knit comforted them. My sister and Grandma would talk about how talented I was, or how pretty the hat was becoming, instead of other things. If I stopped, they had to talk about something else.
So, I kept knitting. Before my Grandma died, two weeks later, I managed to make two hats and started a scarf. I was knitting fulltime, giving everyone the distraction they craved and a sense of normalcy. I learned a lot about my great-grandmother in those two weeks, because that was something (related to knitting or my embroidery projects) that Grandma and the family could talk about without mentioning death.
My only regret is the sad fact that my spinning wheel arrived two days after my Grandma died. I just sort of stared at the box when it arrived in annoyance. Grandma had admitted, when had I proudly proclaimed a fortnight earlier that I had ordered my spinning wheel, that she really wanted to see me spin. She hadn't seen someone spin since her childhood. I had planned on bringing it up to her room and leaving it there even when I wasn't around, just so she could look at it. I had ordered an Ashford Elizabeth, and it was beautiful to behold.
Only, she never saw it. Because it was two bloody days late. Bugger all.
Ohwell. The fact that that memory came back to me so strongly surprised me. But, I felt the need to write it down for when I'm old and grey myself and (hopefully) watching my grand-daughter knit. Back to our regularly scheduled blogging...
I had intended to knit a blankie for my nephew, D, for him to cuddle up with. (complete non sequitor) He was diagnosed with epilepsy over a year ago. The blanky plan didn't pan out (the handspun yarn of doom, I swear), but I was determined to make something handknit and special just for him. Finally, I decided a pullover would be perfect. Tonight, I finished the body, bound off the shoulders together, and knit in the collar before starting the left sleeve:
Only, right after finishing the collar, I noticed a MISTAKE. (grinds teeth) I'm just gonna put a duplicate stitch in there. No one will notice. And, if they do, it's a design element, okay? It's handmade.
And... I'm really sleepy now. I'll bet this post'll make no sense in the morning. But, I need to go to sleep so I can get up early and get all my props together and all that...