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.