on knitting and healing and other stuff


As a knitter, I’m a third-time offender. I learned in college, it didn’t stick. I picked it up again about ten years later. My husband still has the scarf I made him during that flirtation with the needles, but it didn’t stick. Ten years later, fall 2005, I was drawn to some beautifully colored yet incredibly cheap yarn at Big Lots. It came home with me and became scarves for the women in my book group for Chanukah/Christmas. Then I made 7 or 8 more scarves for gifts that year. It was starting to stick when something happened.

In January 2006, my younger sister went into the hospital with pneumonia and flu. She was gravely ill. The week she was there, hooked up to all sorts of machines, kept completely sedated, I knitted. I went and bought her some really lovely soft yarn in her favorite color and knit her a shawl with it, because the doctor said if she did recover, she’d have to stay in the hospital for several weeks. She would be cold, I thought, she’d need something cozy to put around her shoulders. Surely if I knit her a shawl, she would live to use it. She didn’t. We lost Paula after she fought her hardest for a week. She was forty-two years old.

I kept knitting. I finished her shawl. It’s a very strange-looking thing: I did seed stitch when I could focus on it, I just knitted plain when I couldn’t. It’s a mess, but it kept me sane. I put it away in the cedar chest, and I kept knitting.

I knit a bunny hat and a baby sweater for a new little one who came into the world just two weeks after my sister left this one. It was affirming to knit for a new life. It was knit therapy, as were the hats, scarves, socks, sweaters, and felted bags that followed.

In April, I discovered Knitty and the Knitty Coffeeshop. More knit therapy: what an amazing community.

In September, a week after celebrating her 50th wedding anniversary with my dad, my mother passed away quite suddenly. I had started some merino socks for myself on the anniversary trip, so those became my therapy socks as my family and I went through a fresh wave of shock, grief, and loss. I knitted, picked up too many stitches at the gusset, kept knitting. They still fit, sort of, even with a couple of very unique design features.

So now it is a new year. I’m still knitting. It stuck this time.


5 Responses to “About”

  1. said

    I’m so new to this I’m not even sure what I am doing. I hope this reaches you as you have certainly reached me during the classes. With the hard hit losses you have been given, you have stood strong and as an example that we have to go on for the living. I’m glad to see you knitted–that’s an example for someone else to try something new, hold onto it, make it work. It is so very nice to give something home made that took time and thought, and ripping and cussing, well back to the time and thought! You are a hoot, please don’t ever change. You are timeless and don’t worry about those wrinkles–we’ve earned everyone of them! good or bad no one know which is which anyway. See you sometime I hope, Cris

  2. Janis said

    Thank you, Cris. You’re going on my knit-list for this year!

  3. winediva said

    Hi. Just thinking of you fondly :).
    No one calls me Wardster anymore. I miss it sometimes.

  4. 🙂

  5. Dawn said

    Howdy Janis!

    Thanks for your kind words about my comment on the knittyboard – one of my secret fantasies is to be a writer – hah!

    I just wandered over to see who you were, and immediately feel the connection… I grabbed a pair of socks to work on on the plane to Florida three years ago when my dad died very suddenly – and though no one will ever wear them I think, they got me published in Annie Modesitt’s Cheaper Than Therapy.

    Glad the knitting stuck – the third time’s a charm, right?

    Good to “meet” you!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: