I’d been admiring my sister’s knitting skills ever since she moved in with us. Em had even gifted me a truly excellent hat at one point, and happily chattered away about what those needles were doing and what each of the many yarns stashed in the living room were good for making. I’d turned down several offers to learn the skill myself – I was too busy, I was too stressed out, I didn’t want to pick up yet another hand-intensive craft when I’m already struggling with lingering repetitive stress injuries. I’d just watch Em knit, and be content with fluffy goodness as a gift and a mystery.
Then – and I know this will seem like a non-sequitur, but bear with me – Leonard Nimoy died.
All of our family is made out of nerds. Em and I grew up on Star Trek. I’m not sure if it’s an accurate memory, exactly, but the first “grown up” movie I remember watching as a kid was Star Trek IV, or as it was fondly known around our household, “Save the Whales.” Losing such an iconic actor and a good human being hit me hard, especially after losing one of my friends to cancer in the previous year. I came home that day, sat down in my comfy armchair, looked over at the shelves… and saw a big ball of yarn.
This one, Em hadn’t brought to the house. Our family had hosted the wake for our deceased friend Mike back in October, and there were still little things everywhere: the leftover blank index cards that people had grabbed to write him goodbye messages, collected matchbooks we’d used to light vigil candles and ignite the tiny funeral boat, and this big ball of yarn.
So, ignoring all of Em’s gentle protests that maybe I should try working with a chunkier yarn to start, or a lighter colored yarn to start, I grabbed that ball of yarn – the same yarn we’d used during the wake to symbolize how our stories about Mike connected us all – and painstakingly followed my sister’s coaching to knit the simplest little garter-stitch bracelet.
An image of the bracelet, and the post I made to my friends that evening.
All my progress in knitting has been informed from that point. Knitting helps me make something out of nothing – I literally make sense out of tangles. It ties me to my communities: to my sister who taught me, to those I’ve loved and lost and remember, to those around me who I can make warm and happy with the work of my hands. It’s by far the best impulsive decision I’ve ever made. <3