Monday, July 25, 2011

The comfort of knitting

Too often I take my knitting abilities for granted. Not too many knitters out there can walk and knit, or watch tv at the same time, or memorise graphs easily. To me this is all second nature, a natural part of my knitting.

Somewhere over the years I think I lost the calmness that can come with knitting. It may have been one too many projects knitted to an impossible deadline, or working in a knitting store, or just because of familarity. I never understood the "knitting is the new yoga" because I'd been at it for years. Oh, and I'm not very good at yoga.

This all changed last week. Dot was admitted to hospital last week with a staph infection and abcesses. Felix and I sat in the emergency waiting room, and I knitted. I concentrated as hard as I could on the fair isle pattern, because otherwise all I would do is worry. Then I put my knitting away and watched as they put a drip in her and enough sucrose to make her sleep for a while and we went up to the paediatric ward.

The very wonderful doctors and nurses told me to wait while they drained things. I sat in a chair in the room they'd given us and I knitted. I finished the fair isle and reached into my bag for some more knitting. A garter stitch baby cardigan for my girl was worked on while I blocked out the noises she was making from another room. That helped a lot.

That night, while Dot slept, instead of sleeping myself I knitted. I knitted row after row and gave up thinking completely. I counted every stitch in the row, sounding off numbers in my head as I went, watching the rhythym my fingers take. It's been so long since I've actually watched myself knit, and I calmed me down enough to eventually sleep. By then it was about 6:00am, but sleep is sleep.

Dot left the hospital two days later, full of strong antibiotics and wrapped up nice and warm in a knitted hat, a picture of health once more. I'd spent her last few hours there giddily happy that she was fine and pronounced ready to return home. While she slept this time I was working on some mittens for Marcus instead, fair isle again. I didn't concentrate as much, nor watch my hands, but I knew they were working out fine, just like his sister.

I don't know if I'll ever focus on my knitting that much again, but I liked the connection I felt. Over the years other women, other knitters have sat and knitted while they worried. About husbands, lives, money, war and children - the children most especially I suspect. I'd like to think that their knitting helped them cope as much as it helped me.


Chrisknits said...

I am so glad you had something to temper your worry while you waited her treatment. I knit a sweater for my soon to be born nephew during a contentious battle between the mom and grandmother. Baby was to be put up for adoption and there was worry all around at the mom's medical condition during pregnancy. In the end the little one gained a wonderful, loving, family and peace was restored to ours. I prayed with each stitch knit on that sweater.
Best wishes to Dot's continued recovery.

Leonie said...

Oh honey that must have been awful for you. I have to agree that the knitting is calming, helps you to get through the hard stuff. I've taken the kids to hospital a few times and one of the first things packed is the knitting. It doesn't just help me, it helps them. If Mum is knitting it can't be too bad. It's gotten me through a number of my boys' asthma attacks including the one that took 4 days to get under control. Best wishes for a speedy recovery for poor Dot and no more hospital visits for a very long time. Take it easy.