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Knitting, the Best Therapy

In Sarasota, we have a definite "season". Season is when all the snowbirds flock down to Florida to avoid the brutal winter of the North. The fabulous yarn shop I work at, A Good Yarn Sarasota, tends to slow down during the summer months. All of the employees are encouraged to pick a project to host as a knit along (KAL). I've chosen a pullover by Veera Välimäki with some simple short rows. I'll be hosting it as the August KAL in the shop. It specifies a single ply yarn and I've decided on my own KittyBeaKnitting yarn, Sanibel. The owner of A Good Yarn Sarasota, Susan, has chosen to carry my Sanibel yarn in the shop and it should be in-stock by the end of July. Sanibel is a single ply yarn, 70% Superwash Merino Wool and 30% Silk. It has a tighter twist than some singles and a beautiful sheen from the silk. Simply put, it's a gorgeous yarn and a pleasure to knit with. As a test sample for the pattern, I'm using the colorway, Fruitville. There are shades of peach, yellow, red, gray and deep mauve. All with the bare, natural pale ivory showing as a perfect background color. The pattern uses a size 7 needle, which creates a lightweight, open fabric with perfect drape (also thanks in-part to the silk content). I'm working on a new colorway that I'll use for the KAL at the shop. The great part about the short rows is that they are in garter stitch, so there's no need to even pick up the wraps. I know short rows scare some knitters, but they are really quite simple. And typically a necessity with top-down patterns. This project is perfect for TV or social knitting. Once you've done the shaping at the neckline and shoulders, there are seemingly endless rows of stockinette in the round. Knitting every row? No problem!
One of my favorite parts of knitting are the thoughts and ideas that pass through, some fleeting and some more intense. At the end of the day, knitting gives me time to reflect on the day's events, recharge my batteries and a chance to relax and let the stress float away. I honestly feel that learning this craft has been a true gift. This week, we had a good friend, Peter, who passed away after a long hospital stay and then a brief stint at hospice. He was a larger-than-life character who will be sorely missed. Knitting gave me a chance to quietly reflect and remember all the fun times and entertaining stories he used to tell. It was an opportunity to escape the worrisome details of the hospital and then, hospice visits that were upsetting, at times. It was during my late night knitting that I was able to come to terms with the finality of Peter's passing. Knitting (and crochet) is certainly a form of therapy for many ailments and I'm happy to see its been getting the recognition from the media that it deserves.
When I look at this project in the future, I will always remember what was going on at the time I was making it. I will remember the odd olfactory combination of coffee and medical supplies at hospice. I will remember getting grins out of Peter during his short moments of lucidity. It was quite pleasing to know he was aware (if even just for a moment) that he was surrounded my his loving wife, family and friends. And I'll never forget the images of how his appearance changed as he slipped away. All of this will flood back when I look at this sweater. Have you ever looked at your knitted projects and reflected on your life's events at the time you made it? Our projects can certainly be like a journal or mileposts of the happenings in our lives. I know they are for me.


Peter and me at a friend's birthday party. This was taken just weeks before the start of his bad luck, healthwise. 

Peter and Cat - Knitting in Sarasota - The best therapy

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