Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Lisa's Story

My next guest blogger is a neighbour of mine! I met Lisa when I was knitting in a new cafe that opened up across the street from my house. She walked up and commented on my knitting and explained that she was a knitter too-and we've been connected ever since! I have seen her wonderful knits on her beautiful baby granddaughter and always admired her work. Lisa responded to my call for guest bloggers as a friend on Facebook and so she graciously shares her story below:

My dad in the 1920s
 in knitwear head to toe
I know a bit about craft and mental illness.  Those who know me best are laughing out loud at that statement ;-)  I sew, quilt and knit.  Crafting is laden with family memories – all the women in family were/are knitters, from grandmas , mom, sister, to the next generation of daughter and nieces.  So that makes me happy and reminds me of those loving ties as I knit.

My Mom, who passed away a year ago.
 I was thrilled when I found this photo.
As for the mental illness, I have bipolar disorder, also known as manic depression.  Which means lots of time under the black cloud, unable to do much; and briefer periods of increased energy and joy…till it gets crazy and I crash again.  One big, scary rollercoaster.  So how do the mental illness and craft interact?  When I’m low, knitting is usually the first activity I can pick up again, and I’m convinced it helps soothe and cheer me.  When I’m high and agitated, knitting acts like meditation – slows me down and grounds me.  

My sister (aged 11) designed and knit 
this intarsia animal baby blanket for me.
 She is still the most magnificent, fearless knitter I know.

I’ve seen knitting help others, as well.  I’ve been in and out of hospital many times, and a bag of knitting supplies is always the first thing my husband brings to me.  And once I’m out in the ward knitting (after the staff have confiscated all sharps like scissors and cable needles!), it doesn’t take long for people to approach, fascinated, asking to learn how to knit, or for some spare needles and yarn to cast on.  And what do my fellow patients tell me?  “My mother used to knit for me”; or, “my grandmother taught me to knit.”   During my last hospital stay I knit three sweet dresses for my baby granddaughter.  And  I know she will be a knitter.  
Lisa and granddaughter, safe and warm in a whole lot of knitwear

1 comment:

  1. Wow! Lisa I enjoyed reading your story. I loved seeing the old pictures. I'm sure they are comforting to you. Keep at your craft and keep embrassing it. Life can be a struggle but it also can bring us joys. You will help and inspire many people. Take care.



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