I just realized something about a week ago. I haven't really been knitting much since January. That means since the worst of my depression I haven't been able to pick up the needles and work the stitches.
Then about a week ago I pulled a book off of my stack of "to be read when I have the time" novels and began to read. The book just happened to be The Knitting Circle by Ann Hood. It is a book about knitting and grief. One woman early on in the book even says "We knit to save our lives."
In an amazing God-incidence, the final character introduced to the knitting circle in the book is a woman named Maggie who is so filled with grief that she can't seem to learn even the most basics of knitting.
After I finished reading the book I read the Author's forward (in the reading group copy, Norton Publishing,). In it Ms. Hood states that during a time of grief in her own life she lost her ability to write. I too am experiencing a very dry spell in my own writing. I can't seem to get any ideas from my head into words on the screen. I am at a total loss. I barely even write in my journal. It was such a gift to know that 1) another writer had been where I am now and found her way out of it successfully and 2) knitting helped.
So, I am picking up a project I began last Christmas when my daughter was visiting; a shawl for her to take on airplanes where she is always cold that she can use as a blanket on the plane but wear as a shawl through the airport. It has a beautiful basket-weave pattern that is very rhythmic and will help me get out of my thoughts. Each stitch will be a prayer for my daughter and with each stitch I will hopefully be closer and closer to feeling like I can live without the weight of my grief someday.
It feels good to have the needles in my hands again. The yarn slips through my fingers and with each row the shawl takes shape. In a very cathartic way it even feels good to tink and frog -- remove mistakes for non knitters. Tink means to remove stitches one at a time (knit spelled backward, get it) and frogging means ripping out entire rows or numbers of rows of stitches (rip-it rip-it rip-it). And when I finish this project I have already picked out my next one, but I need to make a trip to the yarn store for that because I looked in my needle drawer and I don't have the right needles to make it. Wonder what treasures I will find when I get there?