Tend to your own Knitting

            I’m knitting again, something I began forty years ago when I was going blind.  My plan, then, was to do what I could medically and live my life.  Often my life was in bed, propped up by three pillows, to allow the retinal bleed to settle.  I determined to schedule those bed rest days; otherwise my thoughts careened with worry.  So I listened to audio books, to operas, to Spanish 1 tapes (and I still only know the lyrics to some of the Smother Brothers songs about beautiful eyes).  And I knit afghans for everyone.  I still think there’s fringe somewhere between Pennsylvania and California of a particular forest green afghan.

            The knitting served me well.  I looped the yarn and felt the power of something growing, not diminishing.  The activity was orderly and predictable and necessary during a time of personal chaos.

            I knit, too, when our son, Joel, was born, little hooded sweaters that his sister, Leslie, inherited.  But when Leslie arrived, preceded by my first guide dog, Marit, I put the knitting needles aside.

            Until now—this summer of sweltering 90-egrees.  Leslie and her husband, Jeremy, are having a baby—11 days and counting.  And we hope not tomorrow, with Hurricane Irene descending on Philadelphia.  But aside from being washed and blocked, the soft, yellow blanket is ready for the grandbaby, gender unknown.  Hence the yellow.  But the blanket most likely would have been yellow anyway, in honor of Leslie’s favorite blanket, a double bed yellow thing that went frayed and gray by the time she was five.  And yes, yellow, well, gold for her favorites, the Steelers.

            And here’s the irony. As I knit this summer, I found that the hobby relaxed me.  I could knit through meetings and not grow hyperactively restless.  Friends could pop in for a visit or for a phone conversation and I wouldn’t check my watch because of the many tasks piling up.  Where knitting scheduled me forty years ago, it now unscheduled me.  And that is a precious good thing.

About Sally Hobart Alexander

Blinded at the age of twenty-six, I left California and elementary school teaching for life in Pittsburgh, Pa. There, I met my husband, got a Masters' degree in social work, had two kids, now 35 and 32, and became a writer. Surprisingly, the writing career led me full-circle to teaching, and I teach in Chatham University's M.F.A. program and lead two writing critique groups. Always, since the age of 26, I have traveled, not in the stereotypic darkness attributed to blindness, but a mist. My blog then, "traveling through the mist" will deal with issues in my culturally different life as a blind writer, teacher, speaker, and human being.
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2 Responses to Tend to your own Knitting

  1. Marti Wallen says:

    Knitting – It1s good to hear you have taken it up again- I remember the HUGE afghans you made as a young woman- I have a HUGE something something in a bag here I would like to contribute- It is beautiful yarn and I can’t make anything out of it- Love your sister, Mart

  2. Marcella says:

    I love this, Sally! You are so amazing. My favorite (and still around) baby blanket was also yellow, made by my godmother. Good luck!

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