Saturday, March 28, 2015

Grief Therapy

Mom taught me many crafts as a child.  The earliest was embroidery.  I can remember sitting next to the diesel furnace at 'the Dempsey Place', working on a sampler.  We moved in April of First Grade, when I was seven years old.

I know she taught me to knit, but I don't remember finishing ANY knit project.  It seemed to go SO SLOOOOOOOOWLY.  I much preferred crochet.  I remember Mom taught me the basics, and Grandma Freda also gave me some tutoring.  I loved to make afghans, and in 1979 my 4-H crochet project won a trip to the Minnesota State Fair, where it won Grand Champion and a purple ribbon!

In the last year of her life, Mom still had a craft basket sitting next to her chair.  There were several pattern books, a case of crochet hooks, 5 or more balls of yarn, and several knitting needles.  Al and I called the yarn balls her 'ammunition'.  Mom took great delight in disturbing Dad's naps with a toss of a ball.  And she would roll them to the cat, who had perfected ignoring them, unless a ball came unraveled.  Then Kit would chase the end of the yarn as the ball was wound up again, a process I came to call 'kitty fishing'.

Mom's yarn stash covered the floors of two closets, plus a few project bags under beds. More than four large garbage bags full were dispersed to myself and my daughters and stepdaughter.  I didn't take a large quantity, but I did take the largest amount of a single color, hoping to make a sweater or afghan -- something special to remember Mom by.

When Al and I returned to Friday Harbor, I went to Island Wools to ask about knitting lessons.  I told Libby that Mom had taught me to knit as a child, but I didn't remember a whole lot about it.  She asked if I held my yarn in the right or left hand.  All I could remember was crocheting with the yarn in my left hand.  So she said I was a 'picker' and told me of a beginning class offered early in February.

I attended the class with one other student, so there was a lot of individual attention.  I had a bit of difficulty -- everything just felt so awkward, it just didn't feel 'right'.  But I kept on, and I followed her advice to knit EVERY DAY, even if it was just a little bit.

I was anxious for my daughter Lindsay to visit with her kids over their school break, so we could compare notes.  Both my daughter's are knitters, taught by Mom.  Turns out, Mom and my daughters are all 'throwers'.  What I learned WASN'T 'right'.  Well, it wasn't wrong either.  Just different from what little I did remember of what Mom taught me.  And the dye was cast.  I didn't want to un-do what I had learned, so I just kept on.

A dishcloth for Viking Star

A dishcloth for Richelle

A scarf for myself


I have two more projects I am working on.  And the more I knitted, the more I realized how much it was helping my grief process.  While my hands are busy in the creative process, my mind is full of memories of Mom, and Dad.

As we prepared to leave Friday Harbor March 1, I wanted to be sure I had plenty of projects lined up for the summer, and asked the owner of Island Wools, Julie, if she knew of any yarn shops in downtown Olympia -- we will be spending the summer in the southern part of Puget Sound.  And she said ' I know there is one in Port Orchard.  Do you know who Debbie Macomber is?'

I couldn't believe my ears!  Debbie Macomber is -- hands down -- Mom's favorite author!  I knew immediately that I would be visiting THAT shop.  Especially since Port Orchard is just around the corner from Bremerton, where we were headed to visit my son Micah.  (See the last post for our personal tour of an aircraft carrier)

After we arrived at Bremerton I contacted the shop, A Good Yarn, by email and told a little about Mom, hoping I would be able to meet Debbie.  I got replies from two or more of the staff, who told me that Debbie writes from an office upstairs from the shop and pops in frequently when she is in town.  Unfortunately for me, she winters in Florida and hasn't returned yet this spring, but I was invited to the shop, and today was the day we visited.

We could see an 'office' on the second level; it appeared there was a computer in the window.



Debbie's daughter runs the Tea Room across the parking lot from the yarn shop.  Good food at reasonable prices.  There is a nice gift shop also.

My yarn shop purchases.  It is my plan to knit a tribute -- light blue was both Mom and Dad's favorite color -- to leave at the gravesite when next I visit.


 


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