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August 3, 2004

Filed under: Uncategorized — katy @ 10:02 am

I love to knit. There’s a comfort to it that I can’t entirely explain. The repetition of weaving the yarn around a needle and then forming a stitch creates a sense of purpose, of achievement, of progress. When your entire world is unraveling, you tend to crave order, and I found it in knitting. In fact, I’ve even read that knitting can lower stress more effectively than medication. And I guess for me it was a better approach, because there was something tangible to show for it. Maybe because knitting gave me a sense of action, of doing something. I didn’t know what tomorrow held, but with a pair of needles in my hands and a ball of yarn in my lap, I was confident I could handle whatever lay ahead. Each stitch was an accomplishment. Some days all I could manage was a single row, but I had the satisfaction of that one small achievement. It made a difference to me. A very big difference.

The Shop on Blossom Street, Debbie Macomber

While I didn’t really love the book, I could relate to this passage. This is definitely the way I felt when I really picked up knitting after Owen was born. And this was before we even knew he had autism. There was always something different about Owen. He was probably the "easiest" baby we had. He slept through the night much sooner than the other two. And he was very content during the day to swing or bounce or jump. I guess, he required very little attention. As he got a little older, and could sit, he would play with his ring stacker endlessly. We are talking over and over again. Next he moved on to shape sorters. And then it was puzzles. Kevin and I were so impressed with his puzzling abilities. Literally.

Owen, like Gracie, had chronic ear infections. So when he didn’t answer to his name–ever–we assumed it was his ears. Our pediatrician was not an advocate for tubes. Owen eventually got them, thanks to an audiologist who was shocked by the 25 or more ear infections he had in his less than 2 years. Early Intervention in Massachusetts was a disaster too. They don’t "diagnose" and our non-verbal, non-eye contact making child received 30 minutes of speech every other week.

All the while I knit. I, too, had that sense of purpose, of achievement, of progress. It has truly kept me sane in the midst of this puzzling world of autism. Speaking of puzzling, Owen’s latest stimulatory behavior is his reflection. He likes to look in mirrors, door knobs, televisions…anywhere. Now, what is the purpose of this post? Well, my camera cord is missing. Kevin says it is behind the printer, in the land of unknown and wild dust bunnies. I had some boring pictures to post of endless stockinette stitch on the Dale Salt Lake City sweater and Devan. I cast on for Devan last night and my tail was ridiculously long, so I went for knitting the back first. No sense in wasting a good cast on tail. Here’s to small achievements and big differences–of many kinds.


16 Responses to “”

  1. Cindy Says:

    A good post : )

  2. Chris Says:

    I truly cannot identify with your situation. But I do know that knitting will help to comfort you when things aren’t going well with Owen. And we are all here to help when we can!

  3. Vicki Says:

    Darn cords. Great post, Katy!

  4. Carrie Says:

    I recently found your blog. I have only been knitting for about year but I have been parenting my daughter, Kathryn , for 12. Kathryn has cerebal palsy with severe mental retardation. I am so grateful that knitting lets me put something together when life is unravelling. Thanks for sharing and my best to you and your family.

  5. Annie Says:

    Great post, Kathleen. I love that section of the book that you quoted from- so true for so many.

    By sharing your experiences, you help a lot of people.

  6. Margene Says:

    Knitting gets us through the worst of times…I have knit through deaths of family and friends and othr stressful times. It really brings out the best and helps us through the worst of life. Woohoo for the SLC sweater!

  7. ann Says:

    that was a lovely post – and you are absolutely right, the smallest achievements can make the biggest difference

  8. Rachael Says:

    even that one row of knitting is something made, something tangible, no? good for you, dear…

  9. Kevin from NY Says:

    love ya – fought the bunnies – got the cord

  10. lillium Says:

    I think the post by Kevin touched me the most! He fought the bunnies for you – gotta love a guy who’d do that (big grin). I appreciate your sharing on your blog. Thanks for the connection.

  11. Laurie Says:

    Will slept through the night from the time he was 9 days old. I woke up panicked, but then just decided that he was so easy to care for because I was an excellent mother.

    Ah, live and learn. Thanks for a great post.

  12. Mary Beth Says:

    Knitting is a constant. Something for you as a person, when being a mother, parent, wife, employee, daughter, sister, whatever, is challenging, knitting is a constant. Great reflections on your experience. Makes us all look at our own experiences, too. Thanks for a great post.

  13. Chris Says:

    I know you visit, I was speaking more to those who never reveal themselves. It’s nice to know who’s stopping by and what they think. I forgot the patch on Devan, but the designer mentioned on my blog to add it with duplicate st. I may do that, but first I have to get the back, BACK together!

  14. Sarah C. Says:

    What a touching and beautifully written post. Thank you for sharing your thoughts; I totally agree that knitting is so much more than what it seems.

  15. Becky Says:

    This is a wonderful post. While I don’t live a similar experience, I do feel that knitting has helped me in a similar way. I started knitting when i was confined to complete 24-7 bedrest 5 years ago. Away from my family, completely isolated and confined to a bed, I took up the needles as a means to keep my hands and mind busy, and I haven’t been able to put them down since. They’re a constant comfort and creative outlet.

  16. Elizabeth Says:

    I just found your site and knew I had to respond to this older post. I’ve just read Patricia St. John’s book ‘The Secret Language of Dolphins’. It deals with her research on communication of dolphins and how she applied it communicating with autistic children. If you haven’t read it, do check it out. Everyone needs the calming effect of knitting for some reason or another.

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