… I put away old my old projects. I went through the house and all the travel bags and gathered up those started and planned, bagged with patterns and needles, poised for fibery pleasures. It was like burying a beloved pet. The container they all went into was one of those giant plastic bins; it almost looked like a coffin. I counted and cataloged them, photographed them all. Goodbye my little friends, time to sleep, all of you. I'll be back when my shoulder is fixed. A big box of stored potential, stored dreams.
Now, after almost exactly one year, I pull out my spindles and knitting needles. My first touch of fiber was at SOAR. It was both joyful and sad. I lost skills. I didn’t think that could happen. I had been in a groove. Now I had holes in the corner of my first sock. How could I forget the secret magic to not having those holes? It took me so long to learn those things. How can I forget in only one year? It was crushing to realize I had lost my chops. I feel adrift in a world that was so familiar, like looking in through a window at something I can’t touch.
I have to admit that it was difficult to leave fiber alone at first. I went through my fiber bins, both yarn and fleece. I photographed them all. I weighted them. I cataloged them in database after database. Now, if I want the green silk/merino handspun from MDS&W from 1997, I can just say to fiberguy to go to bin 6 in stack 2 and get the item in this photo; there should be 6.5 oz.
And those projects I so lovingly stored? The ones that held all that potential? Some are ashes in my mouth. A pair of gloves that I loved now are clearly the wrong yarn choice and will be remade properly. I am finishing up the tiny things and ripping out more. I want a fresh start. I lost a piece of luggage on the way to SOAR that contained my nearly finished Pie Are Square shawl in alpaca along with many other treasures. It detached me, somehow, from all the other projects. I loved that shawl. I invested hours into it. It was the perfect color/yarn and now, sadly, no longer sold. My favorite needles, too, all gone.
I know a year from now that lace will fly off my needles without thought and I will be back into the groove of knitting. Spinning will come first. But it seems like I lost a piece of myself when I lost the skills. Like forgetting how to talk English or how to walk. Some fundamental loss that was a surprise and rather deeply disturbing.
And I did gain something else during the time I was losing myself. I learn to bead more seriously. I applied myself. I went through hundreds of books. I learned project after project, technique after technique. I would practice until comfortable. I took them all to SOAR as gifts as if to say, ‘Here, this is my healing. This is what I learned. This is for you.’ Yet that, too, was lost in the same bag on the way to SOAR. All my splendid pretty things to give to those who inspire me and I treasure. I had my best efforts in there to payback special favors that meant a great deal to me (Deb M). Yet I went empty handed; felt ungiving. Somehow that seems tied to losing myself too.
So now, I have projects that are ashes in my mouth, diminished fiber skills, an empty feeling of loss. It feels hard to get over this hump with no fiber to make me whole. When knitting helps you heal from loss, where does one turn when knitting IS the loss?