In my hands

In the evenings, when I’m tired of chopping and mixing and spooning hot food into jars, I’ve been knitting, instead. And so, in a week, this little cardigan has almost been completed. It’s Ilse’s, of course – the one she chose the wool for at the fair. The one she’s been asking me when I’m going to start. And now her eyes are as big as saucers as I let her try the top-down garment on for size, and she can see that it is almost there.

It is a simple little knit, with a clever pattern to form the rippling rows around the shoulders. The neck and hem and button bands are finished in childish garter stitch: the first stitch I ever learned, which lies flat and wiggly all at once. Only the sleeves remain, and the buttons to sew on, and ends to be woven in. I’ve knitted a lot this week, because it has been such a sad week, and I knit when I am sad. I’ve dropped a lot of tears on this little woolly number. And because of the way the things I make remind me of the times I made them in, this cardigan will always remind me of my grandad, and when he died.

If last year was all about pattern, this winter is all about texture. Ben’s cables were the start of it, and now the rise and fall of these sweet waves. I bought some sock yarn at the fair and want to try three different pairs, one homely, one botanical and one Parisian. That’ll take me up to Christmas, I should think. I’ll have something to bring to each of Mrs Thistlebear’s parties between now and then, and make new friends over. And between parties, with my hands busy, my mind can wander freely to wherever and whenever it wants to go.

When sad, some people walk. Some talk. Some sit and gaze out of the window. Myself, I like to knit. It’s a good thing to have in your hands, wool. It’s soft, and warm, and strong. And later, when you look down at what you’ve spent the evening making, you realise that all the things you couldn’t say are in your hands, instead.

12 thoughts on “In my hands”

  1. Hi Cecily, your sweater is looking beautiful and I enjoyed reading about the time and care you’ve put into it. I agree, making is the best medicine for me as well, when I am feeling sad or anxious. Thank you for joining in with my link party.

  2. What a poignant post. I am sorry you are sad. It’s anxiety which bothers me more, and crocheting or sewing always, always soothes me. Busy hands, calm mind. The cardigan is just lovely. x

    1. Thanks, Gillian. I don’t know why making things is so soothing, but it certainly is. I had a go at some cross stitching last weekend and found that to be just the same – I can see why you like it so.

    1. Me too. Given a choice at the moment, I keep opting for the simple option. Thanks for visiting, and for your comment.

    1. Thank you for visiting again, and for your lovely comment. It’s been a pleasure to knit while my mind is elsewhere, and Ilse loves it so far. Just one sleeve to go, now.

    1. I hoped that I wasn’t alone in crafting when I’m sad. Knitting is what comes most naturally to me, but having learned to crochet granny squares a few months ago I can certainly understand the appeal of crochet at such times too. Thank you for visiting and leaving a comment.

  3. What a lovely post. Knitting and sewing are such soothing activities when we are sad. I like your blog very much and am happy to have found it from Jennifer’s link up.

    1. Thanks for your kind comment, Penny. Making this cardigan has been incredibly soothing, and I like how memories – happy and sad – are part of the fabric of the things we make.

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