"Knitting heals from the inside." I pause as I read this sentence. Yes, that is true, I think. Knitting helps me heal over and over again. Sitting on the floor between moving boxes, I spontaneously leaf through the book "Knit for Health & Wellness: How to knit a flexible mind and more" by Betsan Corkhill (unfortunately currently not available in stores). A book I received years ago as a gift and which –even though the title aroused my curiosity at the time– had been sitting unread on my shelf until now. Now it fell into my hands. Just at the right time. Because an utterly unexpected notice to vacate had pulled the rug out from under my feet shortly before. Three months is not a long time to find a new home for our family. The uncertain future and the impending stress were getting to me. I had hoped so much that peace and normality would finally return after the stressful Corona years with a baby and a toddler. And now this. One thing is certain for me: Without knitting, I would not have been able to cope so well with so many difficult times in my life.
It started when I did an exchange year in Finland and asked my host mother to teach me how to knit socks. So I "was on to the needle" all through the long winter and was able to get to grips better with the cold, the darkness and the initial loneliness - and in the end learned to enjoy being alone.
In the exhausting final phase of my studies, I discovered knitting as a helpful tool on my way out of burnout and through depressive episodes. While I was knitting, I could forget many worries, escape the monkey mind and feel a new zest for life. I also learned to appreciate knitting in company, during my time in Portugal, where it was very healing and rewarding for me.
Now that I am a mum, knitting once again supports me in many ways. It relaxes and calms me after exhausting days, is a creative balance in everyday life at home, and, above all, gives me the satisfying certainty of being able to create something beautiful. If I can make my fellow human beings happy with it, it also gives me a fulfilling feeling. Even when everything seems to be going off the rails, I have the ability to create something positive. Knitting always gives my life meaning and the feeling that I can make a difference - it is my personal therapy.
Therefore, it doesn't surprise me that I feel an especially big need to knit in the weeks after the notice. Even though reason tells me that there is so much to take care of right now, I take time to knit a sweater for my husband every evening. To stay calm and look forward with optimism in an existentially threatening situation. Many things in life are out of my hands; I have to accept changes and new challenges. What I can take in my hands, however, are my knitting needles, and with them, I can make quite a difference. Knitting clears my head and helps organise my thoughts. And so, the process of creating this sweater was accompanied by our conversations about how things would go on for us.
I knitted, and we talked. It became clearer and clearer in my head. With a lot of trust and new energy, I was able to tackle things with confidence. And suddenly, luck found us. Only a few weeks after receiving the notice, we bought a little house –which is almost a miracle– and incidentally, I was able to give my husband a personal gift to thank him for his loving support during the difficult times. This sweater will forever be the knitted proof that seemingly hopeless situations can turn into something positive. And how good it was to regularly make time for knitting – even when there was so much else to do.
This is my personal story. You have yours. Maybe everything is going really well for you right now. Maybe you have similar or even bigger challenges to overcome. Everyone has their own life to master.
The quote mentioned at the beginning, "Knitting heals from the inside", is one of many in this book. They come from letters to Stitchlinks, a global support network that author Betsan Corkhill created for anyone who "enjoys the therapeutic effects of crafts – especially knitting", as she says. I recognise myself, my feelings and experiences around knitting in the vast majority of the quotes. And you will know what it means to you personally.
I wish you all the best and much joy in knitting, or in Corkhill's words: on your "individual journey to recovery".