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Stitching myself back together

Hyuk hyuk hyuk — it’s a post about using knitting to feel better! Stitching myself back together! Hah! Moving hastily on!

As the series of posts last week on the theme of Nourish would have suggested to your more alert breed of reader, I’ve been unwell. Being unwell sucks arse anyway, but being unwell when you’ve got Addison’s disease has the extra thrills and spills of trying to manage that condition on top of whatever virus it is that has knocked you for six. Once the viral symptoms have subsided, you’re left to get through a recovery period that involves getting exhausted at the slightest thing and trying to keep on top of meds so that you don’t dissolve like a tissue in a thunderstorm.  It’s baby steps, but I’ve managed to get through two days at work without crying at my desk out of frustration OR calling anybody anything prefixed with “fuck-” or suffixed with “-tard”, so I think we should chalk that up as progress.

I’m knitting.  Quietly and peacefully and very happily.


I really wanted to capture my evening here: I’m sitting on a pillow, my back against M’s armchair, with my laptop on the floor in front of me, knitting by silhouette. This is one of the most soothing, quiet and relaxing ways I have found of knitting.

As soon as I finished my first Intolerable Cruelty, I cast on another. I have discovered I love knitting skirts and want another one as soon as possible. This one has felt like it is slower to come along, because sleeping and grumbling all day long tends to slow down your knitting progress.  But: I cast on this baby on the 10th of March, today’s the 23rd, and I’m only three inches, a sewn elastic casing and a series of crocheted loops to hold the ribbon in place away from the finishing line.  That’s actually some pretty sturdy work right there: some 19 inches of stockinette worked in just shy of a fortnight.  I have found it incredibly relaxing, too.  Just round and round and round and round, stockinette nearly all the way, and some moderately-spaced increases and decreases.  Definitely the kind of thing I can manage when wallowing in bed bitching about how sick I am of being sick.

Knitting brings so much to me. When I’m feeling well, it enriches my life and makes me feel clever and creative (even on days I am neither). When I’m sick, it’s a security blanket.  Knit, knit, knit: slower but just as smooth and steady as when I’m well, it’s a gentle reminder that not only am I not dying, but that part of me lingers under all the fatigue and weariness and frustration with my body.  That there’s a mind in here that remembers how to make wee stitches, how to wrap the yarn just so and if I do it enough times, I’ll end up with socks or a skirt or a teddy or something bizarre that I have to unravel, but something nonetheless. And that is incredibly reassuring when you feel like your life has been suddenly stripped away from you because sickness has whisked everything out of your control.

This skirt has been my constant companion while I’ve been sick; I am beginning to weave a lot of superstition around it.  Somewhere in the back of my pulpy head, I’m sure that when I finish this skirt, I will finish being sick.  Somehow, the act of snipping the last thread and weaving in the last end will coincide with the last of the virus being hoovered up by my immune system and all will be well with the world of bethini.  The chances of this actually coinciding are…well, silly.  It’s a nice idea, though.

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