Cara mentioned today that she and a friend felt sorry for people who don't knit. And I must agree. Looking back, lo these many (three) years, I try to remember what I used to do with my time B.K. (Before Knitting, of course), and it seems I wasted a lot of time. Not wasted per se but did not do things as efficiently as possible, since I'm doing most of the same stuff plus knitting and raising a toddler and living in a big house far away from my job. Okay, so my life is radically different from what it was when I learned to knit in our tiny apartment in Boston's South End. But I still think of all the knitting I could have done.
By the way, massive thanks to Emily for teaching me to knit in the first place. She is such a dear friend, and she was so patient with me. I think it took half the day to learn how to cast on. For some reason I did not get it. It's all come together, now, and I even know more than one way to cast on (though I still favor Long-Tail). Thank you, Emily, for helping me start on this path.
So, knitting has kept me free of the devil's workshop and warmed up many loved ones since 2003. And it has certainly helped me through my current travails. I was knitting one of Mini's Muppetheads when Spenser returned from his sojourn in the woods. And I made my husband a pair of Bearfoot Mountain Colors socks for his return from rehab. And I've knit the bottom of the Mermaid Sweater how many times in the last month? But when I messed up, I ripped and started again.
For me knitting is as much process as it is product. The yarn winding through your fingers. The stitches stacking up so nicely. Or the yarnovers and k2togs suddenly turning into something other than a jumbled mess. And when you finish, you get something. And you get to begin again on another yarny adventure.
And then there are the people you meet when you knit. From colleagues who take time out of their busy schedules once a week to sit down and lunch and knit and get to know one another to the super fabulous women at my LYS/Knit Night to the amazing folks out in the blogosphere. The projects we conquer, and the yarn stashes we amass, and the things we go through, and the support we offer one another, unconditionally, are amazing.
When I attended the Family Wellness Weekend, we had an Al-Anon meeting come to us, which was helpful to get a feel for what such meetings are like. But about halfway through I had a little revelation: "These people should take up knitting!" Now, I know this was simplistic and self-serving, but I really did, once again, feel the healing power of knitting, particularly in a group.
I only made it to one Knit Night while my husband was away, due to travel, lack of babysitting, and, of course, sheer exhaustion. But that one KN I attended was balm for my soul. For two hours I was enveloped in that warm, kind, woolly friendship that comes out of a great knitting group. Not everyone knew what was going on in my life, and that was fine. The ones who did gave me a hug and let me get down to the knitting at hand. And for a little while I was able to think about something other than the state of my life, to neatly stack up some stitches, and to decide that knitting up Blue Sky Alpaca Silk on US8s was going to leave nothing to the imagination, which gave those sitting near me a chuckle. I do prefer some modesty, creatures under three feet tall in the loo with me every time to the contrary.
Thank goodness for knitting and knitters. My life is all the richer for them.