Finished Projects

Knitting during difficult times

Recently I read a nice piece on knitwear designer and teacher, Ann Budd. In it she mentions, “People talk about how knitting kind of saves their lives in times of stress,” when discussing learning how to knit as a young girl while living in Switzerland.

I read that and immediately thought how I could relate to that statement. Recently my sister (half-sister), Gina, passed away suddenly. She was found unresponsive in her apartment by her only son and his fiancé. Gina was rushed to the local emergency room via paramedics, and held on long enough for all of our family to gather and wait in the ICU waiting room.

Fortunately, I had a fun skein of Pancake and Lulu handspun yarn with me. It was Christmas gift from my nephew’s lovely fiancé, Veronica. As we sat by Gina’s bed, my father, who will be 91 next month, helped me wind the skein into a ball. He reminisced about being a child and helping his mother wind balls of yarn for her crocheting projects. My Mom-Mom was an excellent crocheter, and I remember watching her crochet when I was a child. While looking through old photo albums we came across the image below that showed some of the doilies my Mom-Mom had made. The lovely woman in the photo is my Aunt Grace. She taught Gina how to crochet, and then my sister Gina taught me how to crochet when I was 7, that was the catalyst of my love for knitting.

While waiting all day for brain scan results and this-and-that results, I cried and knit. I didn’t have a pattern, but had enough to make a nice and easy twisted rib stitch cowl. I got half way through the small cowl, when Gina took her last breath that evening. She was surrounded by all of her family.  Knitting saved my life, I just wish it could have saved hers.

I would love to hear some stories of how knitting has helped you during difficult times. It truly is therapeutic and has helped me in more ways than just a cozy hat or sweater to wear. 

My sister Gina and I, circa 1984. 

6 thoughts on “Knitting during difficult times

  1. Annie says:

    Dear Linette,
    I’m so sorry for your loss. Your sister sounds like a wonderful woman who brought brightness to the world. I’m glad knitting was there for you in the hospital and after. Sending lots of love to you and your family as you all grieve.
    Knitting has been there for me when I was suffering from post partum anxiety and had a hard time focusing on anything besides fear. My baby would sleep in my lap and I’d knit and the meditative movements were calming and grounding.
    Best wishes for a good week.

    1. Thank you, Annie. I miss my sister every day and I hope to be at least half the incredible Aunt to her son, as she was to my boys.
      I’m happy to hear how knitting helped you get through your post-partum anxiety. But the image of your baby sleeping on your lap with you knitting is so sweet. I’m sure many mothers can relate. Thank you for sharing your story, and best wishes to you and your family too.
      Kindly,
      Linette

  2. DWJ says:

    I’m so sorry for your loss. Two years ago we put my father on in-home hospice care. He had survived pancreatic cancer for 5 years and the cancer came back and the chemo ravaged his body. The day my mother said it was time for hospice care was the day I ordered a bundle of expensive yarn to knit a cardigan. I’d sit next to his bed and stroke his head while he napped and knit on and off. And when he passed I would knit to hold it together. It helped for people to ask me what I was knitting instead of the ‘how are you feeling’ because obviously I was devastated, he was my Dad and I was his little girl. It’s that soothing from my knitting, that calm it gave me that made me come back to blogging too to share that joy and healing with others. Thank God for good yarn.

    1. Thank you for sharing your story and I’m so sorry to hear of your father’s passing. Knitting is can be a nice conversation piece and I’m glad it helped during your difficult time. I would love to check out your blog and see that special cardigan you knit up!
      – Linette

  3. My2Cents says:

    My Sincere Condolences for the loss of your Sister, and your story was lovely…I especially Love that your sister Gina was the one who taught you how to knit…Thank you for sharing your story!.. smiles…My Aunt Peggy taught me (@14yrs old) how to make a chain, a round, and a square, and then for the most part, I set crochet aside for most of my life (occassionally, crocheting rounds or squares for fun, but never making anything.)

    Then, the last 10yrs, my mobility, along with my health, has been in a slow decline…2yrs ago, I picked up crocheting again (this time, self-teaching to do it), and last year, I finished multiple projects, and I was able to pass along the news to my Aunt Peggy, who passed away a month or two after…and, because of learning to crochet back then, and now, once again, I have also, begun (self-taught) to lean to KNIT!..*smiles*..

    I can honestly say that Crocheting & Knitting the last 2 years and especially, this last year, has been a large part of what has helped me to keep my sanity with how poorly my health has been, and my lack of mobility..if I didn’t have knitting & crocheting, I would have gone Wooly-Bonkers!…*smiles*..

    1. Thank you so much for sharing. Your story is very touching, and I am sorry to hear of your declining health and your dear Aunt Peggy. I love how you have taught yourself to crochet and knit again and that your not going ‘Wooly-Bonkers’! haha! I love that phrase (never heard it before).
      I wish you all the best ‘my2cents’. May you crochet and knit for many many more years to come. Sending love and hugs.
      -Linette

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