I met so many interesting, kind, funny people at the several spontaneously organised knit-nights, and at the festival. I am thoroughly convinced that knitting, or crafting for that matter, influences the brain in a very positive way, and so, we quite literally, all were of a like mind.
I was asked by a Shetland designer at the table, who was enjoying watching me and my new found friends giggling and chatting whilst knitting (and crocheting, Lauryn), how long I had been knitting for. I was immediately thrown back to the weeks after my mum's cancer diagnosis. I felt so powerless in fighting this horrid disease, and I wanted, or needed something practical to do. So I decided to knit her a chemo-cap. I had learned to knit at school when I was about 8, but I didn't remember how, 20 years later. I trawled the internet, looking for tutorials, and ended up on Headhuggers.This lady sensed my urgency and sent me three caps for my mother, free of charge, just asking me to send her some more yarn.
I did pick up knitting again, and crochet, thanks to the 'knitting for dummies' book, and youtube tutorials. I carried my baby daughter in the sling, with a ball of yarn wedged between the fabric, walking around the coffee table to rock her to sleep, and crocheting her a hat simultaneously. It was the perfect way to wind down after another hectic day, calming my racing mind. When my father was dying and we needed to rush up to Scotland, I cast on a shawl. I knew it would occupy me just enough to survive the trip mentally, and if I finished it fast enough, it would bring him warmth and comfort. A hand knit item feels different, even if it is just because of the energy that has been woven into it. He passed before I could finish the first row, but it brought me solace while we packed up his things. When I broke down, I stopped knitting. But forcing myself to start a project, which I ended up finding very ugly on completion, pulled me out of my brain fog and back into the light.
A lot has been written about creativity and emotions, and how they interact. Just the act of giving shape to what is going on inside of you can bring clarity and calm.
Knitting has brought me peace of mind, joy, frustration, it has taught me to keep going at a project, and it has taught me that sometimes you just have to frog the lot (rip-it, rip-it,... knitters have the best sense of humour) and start again. It has taught me that life is about the journey, and not the destination.
My good friend Eva over at krachtinzicht has some classes on dealing with loss through creativity.
If you are looking for good youtube tutorials, check out Very Pink Knits, even if all you do is admire her beautiful nails.