Coping, spinning and socks

I have had a fair amount of people die in my life. The causes of the deaths include natural reasons, accidents and in one case murder. Due to the death experiences, I have become well acquainted with my grieving cycle. Normally it is isolating, internal processing, external processing, and then acceptance. I have also recognized that each time I go through the grieving process, there always seems to be some sort of activity that acts as a coping mechanism to help me escape from reality for a bit. As a pre-teen that coping mechanism was reading, as a teen it was movies, in my 20s it was music and drugs and now in my late 30’s I have found it to be knitting.

I originally started dabbling in the fiber arts because I needed to have a self care activity that did not involve people. As I advanced in my career as a therapist, I found that it was hard to take the therapist hat off while watching TV or reading a book (I still think I could do some great work with Carl from the Walking Dead). On a whim, I took a crochet class at Joann’s. Later, I took a knitting class and fell in love with it immediately. Knitting came easy for me. One friend told me that in a past life I was an accomplished knitter and that soul memory has followed me to this life. I like that thought.

Upon learning of my mom’s death, we drove to Idaho (about 12 hours). I don’t remember much of the trip there. I cried a lot, talked on the phone with my sister and knitted. The knitting was meditative and logical. It gave me respite from that emotional space that my mom’s death created. I have chatted with knitters of all ages and genders. Many exalt knitting as a craft that was refuge for them in the most difficult times of their lives. Having knitting as a lifeline during my mom’s death, I now fully understand just how strong an anchor a piece of yarn can be.

I am finishing up the socks for my sister’s birthday today. I turned the heel last night and am just finishing up the leg and cuff. They will only be a week late. Not bad, considering the circumstances of the last month.

I have also been spinning fiber. I am fairly new at spinning, but love it. Although I have little time to practice, I find myself getting better each week. Yesterday (Saturday), I plied (spun two strands of yarn together so they became stronger). I have been intimidated for a long while at the thought of plying. However, with the help of my friend Patrick, I realized I had been overthinking the entire process (surprise) and it was actually much easier than I ever expected.

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