I’ve been trying to write this post for a couple of months now. The right words elude me. Or rather, words do not seem to hold the meaning I’d like to convey. I wrote on this topic a few years back, here, after Maddie was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes. I’ve had a similar, though deeper, experience this Spring and on through the Summer.
My love for knitting and crocheting could be talked about in many ways: the colors, the tactile nature of it, the gifting aspect, the variegated colorfulness of yarn, the wearing of it, the meditative qualities, the squishy colorificness, the portableness of it, the wide-ranging uses for it, have I said the color of it?, the variety of things to make, the abstractness of it, the kindredness with other yarn lovers, the rainbow of colors, the sense of connection with women throughout history, the IMpractical nature of it (I mean, if you want to have a new sweater you could just go buy one!), the technicolor walls of yummy yarn at yarn shops, the slowness of it (like in the Slow Food Movement…Slow Clothes Movement:), the softness of it, and really I don’t think I’ve mentioned the colors…divine.
It has been in and through some trying times that I find an attachment to my yarn projects to be far deeper than just something to keep my hands busy. It becomes a kind of companion through the difficult days. Something that even if you aren’t actually knitting or crocheting provides a sense of softness to the rough edges you’re going through. Something that has a presence with you, even if it sits on a windowsill in a ziploc bag, or tucked in a hospital closet, never actually brought out to knit. And when you are able to knit or crochet again, you sense that something is being knitted back together that has come unraveled during the recent ordeal. And as you go on in healing, recovering, learning a new normal, your boon companion is always there, always the same stitches, the same lovely colors. It hasn’t changed even though your life has been rearranged to a nearly unrecognizable state.
In packing the few things I thought I might need when I was desperate to get to the hospital this spring, I decided not to pack my knitting. I had begun the knitted part of Resurrection Shawl, and felt too wretched to think I would want to knit in the hospital. I was hoping I would only be there a few days, five at the most! So I figured I could forego taking the yarn along with me.
After a long day of being admitted, getting hooked up to all manner of drips and meds, having blood drawn, etc, I was finally wheeled to what would be my room for the next three weeks. My dear husband was setting up my things in the room…flowers on the windowsill, clothes in the closet, and “oh yeah where do you want your knitting?” Huh?
I am so thankful he had brought it along. Even though it sat in the hospital closet for three weeks, I loved knowing it was there. Even though both arms were wired to a tree on wheels, I liked seeing the colors and needles through the ziploc bag in the closet. It did not clamor for my attention. It was simply there. My boon companion waiting patiently to be held once again and continue the work of healing it had in mind for me.
You may think it absurd that a lifeless inanimate object could be a companion. This fuzzy stuff doesn’t even purr or wag a tail! But it is what it is, and I know what I know because it was so and continues to be so in my life. I keep on dragging my ziploc baggies of yarn projects around with me. They go in my pocketbook, in case I find myself with a few minutes to knit while waiting somewhere. They go with me up to my room when I’m tired to the bone and need a nap, or need to go to sleep at the end of a long day. I intend to knit a few stitches before I fall asleep. Sometimes I do. Ofttimes I don’t. It just sits there beside me, the colors glowing through the plastic as I drift off. I may put my hand on it, or I might remember to set it off the bed before I’m completely out. And when I wake up the next morning, and swing my feet to the floor, there sits my boon companion, waiting for the days’ adventures, whether knitted or not.