Healing and the fiber arts

Posted on May 22, 2018 by Brenda Lavell | 0 comments

Last Summer was a challenge for me, as I started having a host of continually worsening medical issues.

By early Fall, my hands and arms were affected:  I couldn't knit, let alone dye yarn.

Multiple ER visits later (I couldn't get into the kind of specialist I needed), I realized that my lack of medical care was quite literally going to kill me.  I couldn't sleep for pain.  I was no longer able to walk or get out of a chair without help.  I hadn't knit in months - I couldn't even write my first name!

After that realization, I got on the phone to the San Francisco Bay Area, my old home, and made the needed appointments, despite the very long round trip drives.


Had a preliminary diagnosis in two weeks, and a firm diagnosis in a month.

Four months later, I am SO much better, though this is something that has altered our lives completely.

During the worst of it, well meaning people would unhelpfully say things like, "Well, at least you can spend all your time knitting."

Except that I couldn't spend ANY time knitting.  It was excruciating to just hold the needles, let alone move them in such a way to create knitted fabric or lace.

During all of those months, all I could think about was knitting.  I wanted a wardrobe of hand knit sweaters and socks, in super soft yarns that cradled and comforted my tormented, twisted, painful joints.

Maybe the fantasizing provided some impetus, but I think medications started doing their jobs a couple of months ago.

I was able to dye several days a week.  100 skeins or more (after one day a week, tops, maybe 20 skeins)!

And I could reskein and twist for more than a few hours.

AND ... I decided to try it.  Knitting.

If you know me, and what a Type A I am, I immediately started in on a pair of socks.  Not plain vanilla, but not super scary.

For the first time in more than six months, I was hopeful.

Because if I could knit - and dye - I could see a continued future in the fiber arts,.

Which is important to me.  This work allows me to live with my retired dad up in the mountains with our dogs and cats.  Moving to a city wouldn't allow the same lifestyle.

My doctor believes we caught this early enough to allow me a full lifespan given kinda scary medication (this is a serious disease that often ends lives far too early).

I wasn't able to knit during the worst of it, but my longing to knit, I'm convinced, helped me through the darkest times.

And let me tell you, knitting now is SO restorative.  I'll write more posts about the actual science behind knitting's healing properties (there are many), but based on my own experience combined with the many amazing stories shared with me by my amazing Phydeaux knitters ... knitting truly does heal spiritually, emotionally, mentally, physically and even socially.

What about you?  What has been your experience with healing and the fiber arts?


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