Thursday, February 18, 2010

Yarn and Therapy and Yarn Therapy

On every other Thursday I cut out early from work to do three things in this order.

1) Go to personal grief counseling
2) Go to the local yarn store
3) Go to the family grief support group with my husband and Meg

It is a very grief heavy afternoon and evening. It helps me keep functioning through the time in between. In some ways the second stop on my Thursday trip might not sound like part of the grief work. A trip to the yarn store is a bit of a pleasure trip, but knitting is a serious part of my grief coping mechanism.

I first learned to knit in second grade. My gram cast on for me and taught me how to knit. She was unsuccessful at teaching me how to purl. I made part of a scarf that we ended up turning into a hat that I gave my second grade teacher for Christmas. I remember being proud of it when my teacher put it on after opening the gift. It was such a silly looking hat though, I have to wonder now as an adult if she had to laugh about it later.

I didn't knit again until last March.

About a week after Drew had died, I was still not back to work. We had done quite a number of household projects for distraction and went on a shopping run with my in-laws to get more stuff to do more household projects. My mother-in-law wanted to stop at Michaels to get some yarn. I was suffering from the usual cognitive dissonance that happens when doing ordinary things right after life changing events. The yarn looked pretty and a I remembered how long it had taken me to knit that small hat when I was in second grade. So my mother-in-law helped me pick out some pink and green bamboo blend yarn, appropriate needles, and bought me a copy of Stitch 'n Bitch.

The next few days I attempted the long tail cast on several times. Finally getting it mostly correct around the fifth time. Then I knit Meg a garter stitch scarf. It was the first time I could sit for awhile and get my thoughts to slow down some. I dropped stitches, learned to pick them up again, and had to unravel some parts of the scarf to fix more major errors. Meg loved the scarf. I was hooked. A college friend clued me into ravelry and I found patterns galore to contemplate.

Knitting works for me to help tame the grief. I know I'm not alone in this. There is even a book called Knitting Circle by Ann Hood who lost her five year old daughter suddenly and took up knitting as part of her grief work as well. I haven't read it all the way through it yet, but the library has it and one day I'll have the mental energy to check it out and read it completely.

So today in preparation for the first anniversary of Drew's death next week,I bought yarn for various thank you hats and Meg picked out yarn for a Child Surprise Jacket cardigan. It is more yarn than I could possibly knit in a week. I am prepared. At least I am prepared for knitting. I will never be prepared for the time when I can no longer say at this time last year, Drew was alive.


  1. Here from LFCA- so sorry for your loss.

  2. Over here from LFCA. I am so heartbroken to read about your loss. Abiding with you at this sad time.

  3. I am also here from LFCA. Terribly sorry for your loss. Sending up prayers for Drew and for you as you grieve.

  4. I'm here from L & F also. I wish I had words but I know there are none. I am thinking of you, your family and your beautiful son Drew as you approach these dark days. And I am hoping that you are surrounded by family and friends who will remember and mark the time with you.

  5. When my son died, knitting kept me sane. I've been a knitter for years and years, but somehow, doing the same thing over and over, getting predictable results, having mastery of something was just a bit of balm.

    I'm sorry Drew dead, I wish he could be with you.

  6. Here from LFCA.

    I am so sorry for the loss of your Drew. I can't even begin to imagine your pain and suffering.

    I'm thinking of and praying for you and your family.

  7. from LFCA and beaming you so much love as your mourn your sweet Drew.

  8. I've used knitting to cope before too. It helps, as much as something like that can I suppose.

    I'll be thinking of your Drew.

  9. I have a copy of Ann Hood's book and would be happy to send it to you. It is very comforting, and though it's fiction, it's very similar to the author's own story of loss. Here's my email, and if you send me a message with your address, I'll pop it in the mail to you at no charge. I'm always happy to pass along books to people I think will appreciate them. Email is

  10. Sending you and Drew and your family love and light. I'm just so, so sorry.

  11. I'm here fromLFCA. I'm so sorry about Drew's death. He sounds like a great little guy who definitely knows what he wants. I loved your description of learning to knit and then starting over to help you deal with grief. Hoping for peace for you and your family:)

  12. *here from LFCA*

    I'm so sorry that your Drew is in Heaven. I wish that knitting will help heal your heart. Sending you lots of love and light.

  13. Here from LFCA and planning to send you a longer email. I'm so terribly sorry for your loss of precious Drew. He was so beautiful. My heart just aches for you. Just know, that many of us are here for you and will sit with you in your joy and tears. I do believe yarn is a curing for the soul. I'll tell you more in my email.