I began reading Knitting Through It: Inspiring Stories for times of Trouble a few months ago, sampling the WPA’s Federal Writer’s Project stories and the modern essays as time and whim allowed. The writings collected by Lela Nargi are fascinating, certain to appeal to knitters of all ages. Then, late in April, I got the news that my Grandfather was dying and something propelled me to pop this little book into my suitcase.
We arrived at my Grandfather’s bedside a few days before he passed away and I spent some of my time there knitting. At night in the hotel room, Knitting Through It was my reading choice and it provided comfort in the same way my needles and yarn did during the day. I read it cover to cover and then started over again. Suddenly the stories spoke to my grief directly and I found comfort in the generations of knitters who had experienced similar situations and found a way through it.
Knitters are aware of the therapeutic nature of knitting: it calms us during periods of stress, makes us productive during periods of trouble and provides comfort when we gift our work to someone in sorrow. We knit for victims of war and natural disaster, for the homeless and dispossessed, we knit for those grieving and by doing so, we share part of ourselves. Knitting Through It shares those traditions in words, providing comfort and community for knitters.
My Grandfather passed away on May 1 after a long battle with illness. His legacy of spirituality and hard work were passed down to all his children and grandchildren. When I remember this time, it will be with images of knitting; a fitting tribute since it was his wife, my Grandmother, who helped me gain proficiency in my knitting.