Towards the end of life in an office, I was working many hours. Part of the number of hours I worked was self inflicted. I was a capable sort and gladly took on whatever was asked of me. It made me feel good to be appreciated and valued and it made me happy to support my greater family in such a way (and yes, I did work for family) Toward the end, that burden, once happily taken on, threatened to bury me. The more I worked, the more my life was work and sleep.
And then one day, at work, while on hold, trying to get the software glitch out of our work Internet connection, the signal hung up on a picture of the difference between my knitting and the rest of the worlds knitting and suddenly, I discovered knitting.
Somehow, discovering something I wanted to understand for so long, freed me. I found the strength to leave and after leaving, found so many good things.
I found a wonderful job, doing something completely different and took it on out of a sheer love of knitting. Imagine. They let a knitter loose in a yarn store. I was then and still am, surprised that they took on a newbie knitter with nothing but enthusiasm and let me loose on customers. I am daily, thankful at the good that has come of that.
Knitting gave me the space to rediscover and re-appreciate the other things that gave my life so much joy and fulfillment. Gardening without vegetables at the end of it is like art without food. A body and soul needs both. Walking between the rows of growing things, watching carrots and peas and beans and potatoes grow, waiting for the harvest, adds context to the beauty of the flowers. There is such dignity and beauty in the simple utility of a vegetable garden.
Long hours spent over very fine linens, placing myriad dainty stitches, opening and closing space in the dance of so many different embroidery styles are no longer mine in the way they once could be. The long hours and close work are something I just cannot do much anymore.
Reading too. Fine print and days lost among the pages of a book. Trips through time and other lives, are no longer mine. These days books usually come to me in audio format, interpreted through someone else`s voice. Knitting is consolation for these. And what a consolation.
I found knitting friends. Women need to have a community of women friends. We need to share in a different way than the guys in our lives do. Through knitting I discovered that even if the only thing you have in common is an interest in string and needles, you can sit down and talk, even if you never met them before.
Among knitters, there is an instant sharing, an instant appreciation for the amount of work that went into that shawl you just spent 8 jillion hours of your life on. Non knitters, even appreciative ones, never know this. Knitters understand what every stitch you went through meant to you. It is as if, on seeing your work, they joined you on that intricate delicate journey.
Knitting brought me history and generations. If you sit with a teenager and an octogenarian, and all 3 of you are fascinated by knitting, age disappears and you are just knitters having a really good time. (Surely there is a knitting joke about 3 knitters going into a bar...) We connect with the past and future as we sit and share and knit quite firmly in the present.
I met a knitter yesterday, whom I have seen before at the yarn store, but who I could not even call an acquaintance, not even via Ravelry and all its virtual friendliness. And yet, I knew her. I knew her knitting.
She let me into her home and we made a good bargain and she invited me, a virtual stranger who was not hardly a stranger at all, in to see her knitting. I have a feeling we could have spent hours talking about knitting. Perhaps one day soon we will.
Of all the things that I have gained from knitting, it is the friends I treasure most. New friends, old friends, virtual friends, friends that I meet for coffee just down the road. Knitting brought me community, shared stories and connections that have enriched everything I am and hope to be.
I am very thankful for each and every one of you.