Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Stitch by Stitch by Stitch

Today was okay. We had lunch for Melbourne Cup so I dressed up and wore a pretty dress and a fascinator and won the office best dressed contest.

But still, I thought about Doug a lot today. I hope he would be proud of the person I am now, of what I have achieved.

I'm not sure today's essay is any good. It probably hasn't had the amount of editing it deserves. Still, it's finished, and I think it says what I want to say.

Stitch by stitch by stitch.

A lot of time has passed since June 2005, when as a depressed, tired and stressed new widow, I wrote about finding solace in my knitting, and my dreams of building a new life free of the immense pain and loss I was immersed in.

Then, I had been knitting for six years, but I was a timid knitter, afraid of any technique I decided was too hard or tedious, and in my fear, I convinced myself that I didn’t like cables or lace or intarsia or entrelac or socks or double pointed needles.

I was also poor and frugal, and while I did have a small stash stored in plastic crates in a spare room, it consisted entirely of acrylic, bags of odd balls gifted by various friends as their elderly relatives died, some eyelash yarn and a couple of balls of Lincraft Cosy Wool.

Since then, a lot has changed. I travelled to London by myself to stay with my Sister, and spent three weeks discovering some unexpected self-reliance in that amazing city. I stood in awe in the Rowan shop at Liberty but was still too poor and frugal to even allow myself to touch any of the yarn.

I met and fell in love with a gorgeous man, who is not descended from wool millers or knitting needle manufacturers, but is pretty amazing nonetheless. I moved 1000 km away to a new home in a new city in order to live with him and his now 6 year old son, to whom I have jokingly become “the evil Stepmother”.

I lived through 12 months of the job from hell, which put my emotions and self-confidence through the wringer until I couldn’t take any more and resigned without a new job to go to. I survived 6 weeks jobless, calling recruitment agent after recruitment agent, listening to them telling me that they had no jobs for me, or that they couldn’t recommend me to their clients, until I found one who believed in me. He helped me get an amazing job with amazing people who have continued to challenge me and support me and only occasionally irritate me. Every day, even if I’m not enjoying my work every single moment, I love working with the people.

I learned to drive, and passed my driving test at the age of 34. I love the independence having a licence gives me.

I took dance lessons, made new friends and, sometime when I wasn’t looking, I found myself.

Knitting was my companion though all of it. I learned to knit in the round, with first one, then two circular needles, I knit lace, and cables, I knitted and felted bags, and tried intarsia and entrelac.

I realised that acrylic yarn has its uses, and is fine for pretty much everything when you’re poor and knitting on handouts, but that there are much more exciting yarns out there.

I found out that I wasn’t really scared of intarsia and entrelac but that I didn’t like them all that much, and that that was okay.

And I established that I don’t get on well with DPN’s and if I’m ever going to knit socks then it’s going to have to be using 2 circulars or magic loop.

I finally finished the perpetually unfinished jumper with the short row shoulders. It’s not the most attractive of garments, but it’s soft and warm and snuggly and it feels like home.
I joined Ravelry and reveled (raveled?) in the sense of community and the big wide world that opened up in front of me. I started a blog, and laid my knitting and parts of my life bare to the world…not much of the world if the hit-stats are to be believed, but every reader is valued.

I’ve made some wonderful new friends from a starting point of nothing more than a shared love of knitting (and other fibre arts).

The new life I’m knitting is unfinished, and it’s got a lot of dropped stitches, and a few holes and knots here and there. Some of it’s a bit scratchy. It’s every colour you can imagine, and it’s a bit wonky in places.

But on the whole, it’s beautiful and soft and cuddly. It wraps me up in the love of friends and family. It displays how far I’ve come, and it still has room for me to grow.

I think it’s a pretty good place to be.

1 comment:

  1. Oh Alexia, what a wonderful essay and what a great distance you've come! I'm so sorry you lost your husband (and a yarn lover at that) at such a young age. It must have been an awful and terrifying time in your life, What a strong woman you are!!! I'm very happy that you have since met someone so great, with the perks of an immediate family. While obviously I didn't know him I nevertheless believe wholeheartedly that Doug would have been very proud of what you have achieved. Big Cyber hug to you.