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.