12 October 2006

On Being Unable to Knit

I've been thinking a lot lately about how addicted to knitting I've become. I have a tendency to become addicted to things, but knitting in particular has insinuated itself very quickly and very deeply into my day to day life. I love having something to do with my hands, I love created seamless fabric from string, I love learning new and more challenging things to do with the same two (or four) needles.

A few days ago, I was unable to knit for a day. I went rock climbing (at a local gym) and I hadn't been in a while. I also failed to stretch thoroughly (NOT RECOMMENDED) and my forearms spasmed the whole next day when I made a motion at all similar to closing either of my hands. I could hardly type (certainly not enough to type this post then, although I usually muse over things for a few days anyway), and I definitely wasn't going to try to knit. For one day that was okay, and I picked up the needles the next day and knitted up a storm. (The Doctor Who scarf is coming along nicely!)

I guess it just struck me a little more strongly this time, because I know there are people who have to permanently stop knitting, and I've known some of them. My grandmother knitted, though never when I could remember, and one of my aunts (the one who I know the least well) also knitted. Both were forced to stop by a relatively quickly advancing (from what I understand) form of arthritis that developed in their hands.

And now, my mom (who started knitting about the same time as me) seems to be starting to have the same problem.

I'm hopeful that with all the new medications out there, there will be one that will stave off the symptoms and allow my mom to keep knitting for a while longer. I hate the idea that she might be forced to stop so soon after she started; I would offer to knit her things, but I'm pretty sure that even for product knitters (and I don't know if she is one or not), having made it with your OWN two hands is part of the appeal.

Meanwhile, hearing that my mom might have to stop and also experiencing what it might be like to have pain stop someone from knitting, I have a lot more appreciation for my own ability to knit--and I don't just mean my skills, but also my physical capacity to do so without causing further pain. Hopefully, my mom will be able to, as well.

(Sorry to bring up this difficult topic; I guess this is something most knitters don't like to think about. I certainly don't! I'm away from my camera, but hopefully tonight I can get back to pretty pictures and positive posting.)

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