Tell me about your knitting

“Tell me about the knitting”

“The knitting? You mean you want me to tell you what I’m knitting?”

“If you like. I’d like to know more about what’s going on with you and the knitting, how it makes you feel, why you do it..”

So began an odd dialogue with a therapist that I saw through a tricky time back in the mid 2000s. I wouldn’t even have mentioned the knitting except that I was describing how I enjoyed reaching the part of the evening after putting my then small children to bed, where I could pick up my knitting and put the telly on. 

And so I explained about the knitting.

“Well I sit like this..”

“With your arms joined around the knitting?”

“Well yes. In order to knit your hands have to bring the needle tips together, so I work along the needles, and they are sort-of joined with my hands like this. It’s the yarn that makes the join”

“And why do you wait until the children are asleep and no one else is around?”

Surely it was too obvious to be interesting, but I continued and tried to to explain..

“It’s just what I do when I’m on my own. I like the repetitiveness of the stitches, and the rhythms I make with pattern repeats, the whispered counting, and the stories I tell myself as I go up and down the rows and around the rounds. I like the way my hands know what to do to create fabric without thinking, and the way that the stitches grow row on row into something that makes sense in a new way.” 

And the more I went on, the more I realised that perhaps it was not so obvious afterall.

She nodded and explained that she saw the knitting as creating a small bit of uninterruptable space around me – that I was making a little island of time and space out of my knitting. Until then it was so private and un-shared, that I felt strangely exposed telling someone else about it. 

So many things have changed in my life since then. It’s no longer a secret that I knit 🙂 and there are no kids to put to bed anymore, but I still find myself returning to that island in the evening for the same reasons as ever before, and I probably always will.

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