Friday, November 8, 2013

My First Knitting Project

This post is dedicated to my Mom.

Debi Loring-Verburg 09/10/1954--04/20/2010

My first real knitting project was a hat made out of dog hair yarn.  I know, I know, it sounds strange--but if you think about it, it really makes sense!  My Mother used to always find me some neat yarns when I was just learning to knit, and an alpaca ranch near my hometown had some interesting yarn that the owner had spun--which was made with alpaca and dog hair.  I wish I knew what kind of dog hair she used, because the yarn is so soft!   I still have a little bit leftover today, and I'm saving it forever--to remember my Mom.

A couple of months after my mom bought me this yarn, I was supposed to graduate college.  I was taking 21 (yes, 21) credits to finish up my double major in art and communication.  About a week before final exams, I received a phone call from my husband (then boyfriend), and he said he was coming to pick me up. This was quite unusual, as I basically lived at the college at that point--as you could probably imagine, with my trying to squeeze everything in at the last minute for graduation!

It turned out that my mother had suddenly gotten sick the night before and was taken to the hospital. They did a CT scan and found cancer everywhere.  The doctors told her they could make her comfortable, but she was dying.  She had small cell lung cancer, stage IV.  She had just quit smoking about 8 months prior.  We had her transported to a larger hospital to see if there was anything they could do, but ultimately 9 days later, we had to take my mom off of life support and say goodbye.

As you could imagine, I was destroyed.  PTSD became a real thing for me, not just something experienced by veterans.  I didn't finish school, and I spent many months on the couch crying and watching Grey's Anatomy reruns on Lifetime.  In this crippling depressive state, part of what helped me out of it (besides a lot of therapy and medication) was knitting.  It was something I could do that didn't involve a lot of human interaction, as I was in a very fragile state, yet I could give knitted items to people if I wanted to, or just pass the time.  I found knitting to be one of the most therapeutic things I've ever done!  Having the solitude and alone time to just sit and concentrate on one thing, hear the rhythmic clicking of the needles, and just sort of meditate--that's what I loved (and still love) about knitting.

I did eventually finish my college degree a couple of years later, and I am doing just fine.  I am happily married and thankful for my family, but I still miss my Mom a whole lot--who doesn't?

I had just started knitting a few months before my Mom died, and I had made that hat out of the yarn she got me while she was still alive.  It was far from perfect:  It was knit flat, the gauge was uneven, the side seam was very visible, and it fit too loosely.  But I still love it, and wear it like it's some of my best work.

I love you, Momma.

This post is my entry in the Interweave Story Behind Your First Knitting Project Contest.  
If I am chosen for a winner, here are my prize picks: