Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Gone

My Dad and I: Back to School U-Neck & Dr. G's

I've been gone.

Many of you have sent me very nice queries indeed asking me 'Hey knitting pal, where are you?'. About six weeks ago, while I was in Minneapolis with my family, my dear old dad finally let go and left this mortal coil. He left behind a family that was worn out by his terrible disease but nevertheless shattered by his departure. Since then our lives have been spent planning, sorting, packing, and getting ready to ease my mom into the next phase of her life which will be here in PA., near me.

During his final hours the greatest gift that my parents ever gave me was revealed to me: the gift of their love for one another. Since his death I've thought more and more about the relationships and involvements in this world that truly matter, and the petty distractions that drain your energy and pay you in a currency that has no value. I am grateful for this shift in perspective.

Normally this would be the point at which run the look, here's my latest project script. But I have no finished project. In fact there has been little knitting to speak of. Sure, I have a few projects that are in various states of almost finishedness, but the fire to maniacally knit all the time has receded. After a few rows here and there I inevitably feel weirdly depleted and enervated. Knitting has suddenly gone from default response to everything, something you do when you are happy/sad/tired/stressed/bored/angry, sort of how the time is always right for chocolate, to something that feels, dare I say, pointless?

I've been told my unbridled enthusiasm will come back, and I'm hoping it's true, because I've gotta a hella amount of yarn to deal with! Not to mention a knitting blog to maintain!
Don't worry, if I jump ship and do a stash fire sale, you'll be the first to know.


In the meantime, while I'm refinding my knitting self, please tell me what YOU'VE been knitting, because I really want to know.

72 comments:

sophanne said...

So sad for you Heather-

and only because you asked-

I've been knitting those damn 10 in 2010 shawls that you lemminged me into!

Brandywine (times 2)
Wool Peddlars Shawl (times 2)
Kensington Wrap
Traveling woman shawlette (times 2)
a silk forest canopy
and a ginormous Queen Anne's Lace by mario (mmknits)
A sliding green Kauni Swallowtail

And I can't thank you enough for getting me into this "mess." I've had several beautiful gifts to give, worked with some fabulous feeling yarn, and felt a little bit accomplished, and amazed that I may actually meet a challenge I set for myself, however random and slightly pointless since I don't wear shawls!

Be well my friend.

Kim said...

I was so sorry to hear about your Dad. Hope the transition to PA for your Mom is smooth (for you too). Yes, your unbridled enthusiasm (love that term) for knitting will come back. Right now, I'm more obsessed than ever & about to start a sock with yarn that knits up to look like raw bacon. the way I am now, if my ass fell off, I'd keep knitting.

Spinning Ninny said...

So sorry to hear about your father. You're in my thoughts.

And, as far as knitting goes, I've jumped back on the knitting wagon after nearly a year off from knitting. My carpal tunnel is better and I'm working on destashing crap yarn by knitting tiny baby sweaters!

tentenknits said...

heather, i am so sorry for your loss. i can't even imagine but know I'm here in my part of the world sending you love and good vibes. I'm knitting for you tonight.

Holli said...

Heather - my heart aches for you and your family as you grieve the passing of your father. May your mom's transition be smooth and your spirits lifted with memories that sustain.

Since discovering what an enjoyable combination knitting + audiobooks are, I've been on a rampage. I recently finished a cardigan for me, followed promptly by a pair of socks for my BFF's birthday (not to mention listening to A Tree Grows in Brooklyn and The Good Earth).

You're in my thoughts. Here's hoping the unbridled enthusiasm returns soon.

Amy said...

This is such a lovely post, Heather. Thanks for sharing where you are during this really hard time.

I'm knitting a tank and some socks and thinking about a yoked pullover inspired by Egyptian Usekh collars and a vest for Vestvember. Busy busy!

sheknitupthat said...

I am so sorry for your loss.

I'm knitting a teal camisole in sockweight. Your needles will be there for you when you are ready, there's no rush :)

Caffeine Girl said...

So sorry for your loss. I cannot imagine the loss of a parent -- and I'm older than you! I am so touched by your description of your parents' love. I'm sure that love will sustain you and her in the coming months.

Knitting is patient. It'll wait you out!

Knittymuggins said...

I'm so very sorry for your loss Heather. I lost my Dad about a year ago so I understand exactly what you mean about needing some time off and that knitting is somehow not fixing it this time. I know you will get that desire back when you are ready. Until then, please accept my heartfelt condolences and take good care of yourself and your family. I'll be thinking of you :)

knittymuggins

Katy said...

I'm very sorry for your loss. It's a bittersweet feeling when someone ill passes. On one hand, you're glad that they're no longer suffering from the pains of their mortal body, but still...

Wishing you both peace and energy for the transitional phase ahead. I'm sure the desire to knit will return, in its own time.

Marissa said...

I'm so sorry for your loss. My father-in-law died in April after a long battle with cancer, and even though you know it's easier on them, it's hard on us to say goodbye.

I've been working on a Citron shawl in fingering weight, and a Winter Flame scarf.

Angela said...

I've been wondering about you. So sad to hear about your dad's passing. Having had a family member with the same disease, it makes it somehow more complicated. We lost my Pop Pop long before he died, and so I feel like I never really mourned him because it was like he drifted away slowly. It's a cruel affliction for everyone involved.

I know you'll get the knitting mojo back when you need it. For me, it's been skirt knitting-- skirts, skirts, skirts, 24-7. (Well, not really 24-7, since I have been knitting less frequently and for shorter periods of time since my shoulder surgery.)

Sending you fond and sympathetic thoughts...

regina said...

Oh, Heather: I'm so terribly sorry for your loss. It just sucks, and you and your loved ones have my empathy and deepest sympathy.

I suspect your knitting mojo will come back. Whenever I experience something traumatic, I stop knitting and reading and most of the other things that usually give me comfort and solace, but eventually, you get back to them. In the meantime, I hope you take the time to properly grieve, and to heal.

Sending you good thoughts and a hug.

Oh, and what am I knitting? Mostly shawlettes: Citron, Azzu's Shawl, Simple Things, Saroyan. I'm totally lame about photographing any of my projects, though.

Rose said...

I'm so sorry for the loss of your dad. Thank you for reminding me/us of the importance of love; it can never be said enough. Sending good thoughts your way.

kim said...

Aw, Heather, your words are so beautifully written. I was so sad to hear of your father's passing. The little bits of him that you've shared with us have always made me smile. I hope that your mom transitions well and that you are feeling more inspired soon. Sure, knitting is rather pointless, but it does serve it's purpose to those of use who shun letting off stress through exercise. ;) Be well.

Ashley said...

I so love that picture of you and your dad in your handknits. The sweetest. And that's why it'll come back to you, no?

travellersyarn said...

I'm so sorry to hear of your loss - the big changes in life certainly diminish my ability to contemplate complicated knitting. Maybe try some nice soothing garter stitch?

I've been finishing a big Seamless Hybrid.

domesticshorthair said...

I'm very sorry to hear of your loss and hope that your and your family get all the healing time you need. I'm glad you checked in, as I was beginning to wonder.

I've made a couple of Andrea's shawls, am about to finish a Frost Diamonds shawl, and plugging away at a Melon Pattern shawl. I am also almost done with crocheting a duck for my son, which, I feel a bit guilty to say, I started over a year ago; I think he's given it up for dead.

Chancy said...

My condolences. Such a big loss is bound to change things, but I hope you find happiness in knitting again.

I've been working on a baby blanket based on the Mason-Dixon Log Cabin Rug.

Mereknits said...

So, so, sorry to hear of your loss. My parents are aging and my Mom is declining. It is so sad to watch. I am happy you have been around people you love and who love you. Knitting will come back to you in time. Don't rush....it will be there when you are ready.

My thoughts are with you,
Meredith

Lynn said...

I'm so sorry to hear abt your dad. Knitting will come back, but you are going thru a major change in your life right now so give yourself time to adjust. Knitting will be waiting for you when you're ready.

As far as knitting, I'm trying to finish off a sock.....

LEO said...

Heather, this is a beautiful post. I'm hoping your knitting mojo returns soon, but for the love of God take your time. I'm casting on (and hooking on? whatever you say for crochet) enough projects for us all as of late.

Kerry said...

I'm so sorry to hear about your dad. I hope you have lots of great memories of him to help comfort you as you grieve.

I just finished up a pair of JayWalkers and a Cable-Eight Top and am now getting ready to cast on a bajillion baby projects for some dear friends who are expecting. Hope you find your way back to your needles soon.

Katie K said...

The photo says it all, how close you were. My condolences.

I just finished the first Duck sock published recently in knitty.com. It's got a lot of technical details. Not the "knit a baby sock in a day" easy peasy thing I thought it would be, but cute as all get out when done.

Jocelyn said...

Lovely photo of you two, Heather.

My desire to knit anything ran off like a frightened bunny (I think a combo of stress & summer made it go). I tried to lure it back with my NYC wooba wooba yarn? No dice.

Today my neice found orange sparkly worsted weight yarn that will be perfect for the shawl I promised her, maybe another Mara.

I just bought one skein though. :)

Kathy said...

I'm knitting on a zip up cardigan for one of my little knitters and pair of 'Bella Mittens' for myself.

I'm sure your knitting desire will return as you recover from this trauma. (I think it's a trauma to lose a parent, anyway.)

Beverly said...

I'm sorry for your loss, Heather.

I've been crocheting and embroidering, but I'm bringing Carefree shawl on my trip with me.

Sonya said...

I love that picture of you and your dad. I'm so sorry for your loss. I hope your mom's move goes smoothly. I'm sure you'll be relieved to have her close.

kgmama said...

I'm so sorry to hear of your father's passing. I lost my father nearly two years ago and I still miss him, still wish we had more time together. My father had Alzheimer's and I know he would not have wanted to go on, and yet...

What a wonderful photo of you and your father! I hope remembering the whole of your father's life, not the last difficult years, will comfort you. Reading about the love you have for your father, and the love of your parents for each other, I am sure he was a very special man.

Take extra good care of yourself and of your mother during this sad time.

I am knitting a Tiny Tea Leaves cardigan and a Little Colonnade Shawl.

Anonymous said...

My thoughts go to you and your family. Thank you for sharing with us. We miss you - and we'll see you back whenever you are ready. We'll be here!
I'm knitting yet another Shetland Triangle in the most gorgeous cashmere.
Christina from Denmark.

Nantucket Dreams said...

i am so sorry to hear about your dad. i hope that you and your family are all leaning on each other (which it seems you are) and that in time you find comfort and solace in knitting once again. it will come...one day you will feel it. meanwhile, i am knitting a baby blanket...it is very boring and i hate it...but i must finish cause the darn kid is not going to wait for me!!! :) warm hugs to you and your mom

peaknits said...

Heather, I'm so sorry. This post has touched my heart - you really have taken in the details and are allowing yourself time to grieve. Knitting will always be there. Take care.

Mandy said...

Love that pic of you and your Dad.

I've been knitting...oh, just a bunch of crap I'm not really interested in. Time to start a new project? Perhaps?

Heather said...

So sorry to hear about your loss...sending lots of good thoughts your way.

SJ said...

Heather, I'm so sorry for your loss. I was just thinking of you last night and wondering where you'd been. I hope you and your family are able to get through this difficult time by finding comfort in each other. You'll be in my thoughts

What have I been knitting? Well, last night I finished Annis from Knitty (still needs a good blocking), and I'm going to be casting on Merope by Rosemary Hill today. One of these days I'll get back to the Pea Pod Sweater for Rainbow.

lizchatwell@yahoo.com said...

Heather, I"m sorry for the pain this new journey has brought you. But what a blessing to find comfort in the love they had for each other! No pressures on the knitting front...all of the needles and yarns will still be here for you when you are ready. I've been milling through baby hats and ugly knit flowers, but nothing was grabbing me. So I just started a crochet for beginners class. Really enjoying the freedom of the hook! God bless!!

Meghan said...

my deepest condolences. no matter how long your loved one (and family) have suffered, you're never really ready to say goodbye. embrace it, and feel all the sadness and other emotions you need to feel. knitting will come back when you need it to.

nicole said...

Dearest Heather, I am very sad to hear that your dad has passed away, and touched by your beautiful words. I so enjoyed reading the tender and loving glimpses you gave us of him over the last few years. I dearly hope that the gifts of love your parents have given you will console you and carry you through this difficult time. My thoughts are with you and your family, particularly your mother.


Since you asked, I'm sitting on my parent's porch, overlooking the sea, wearing for the first time my Jo Sharp Silk Road pullover, hot off the needles. I've got an Alice Starmore project (the Grant Avenue vest) at my fingertips, and I'm about to tuck in for another afternoon of blissful colourwork.

Prends bien soin de toi, mon amie. Que le temps et les doux souvenirs estompent ta douleur et ton deuil.

AmyP said...

I'm so sorry to hear about your father's death. There's just nothing that makes that sort of loss any easier. Be patient with yourself. There's no one in your life like your dad.

As for knitting, I'm working on the Traveling Sweater by Blue Moon. Lots and lots of 2x2 rib, but a spectacular finish and clever construction. If I can keep my focus, it should be ready to wear in the fall!

Editrix said...

I'm so sorry to learn this sad news, and I wish you and your family strength in the days ahead and comfort in knowing how your father's love touched your lives.

Laura said...

Oh, Heather, I am so sorry to hear this news. I'm sending warm and comforting thoughts your way.

Since you asked, it's all about socks chez moi. I didn't get it together to come up with the Fab Trip-Hop Socks for Heather, but I'm working on socks nonetheless.

MSP_Import said...

Hi Heather,
I lost my dad at 19, during my freshman year at PSU. I was back at school the day of the funeral and threw myself into schoolwork. Do whatever feels right during this time--even if it's not knitting. I don't think things ever go back to "normal" but I think we can adapt to the new us after something like this happens.
And I just finished a Multnomah. I love it. Best of luck to you, and I'll go back to stalking the blogs of every knitter I know.
Krista

caknitter said...

You have my deepest sympathies.
Your father lived a long life and now he's resting and enjoying watching from above.
Sewing and knitting going on over here.
I can't wait to see what you knit next, but most importantly is you do it when you're ready.
:-)

Vivian said...

I am so sorry for your loss. I'm lucky to still have both of my parents and can't even imagine what you and your family are going through. Sending lots of hugs and good thoughts.

As for my knitting, just a whole lot of shawls. I am a building up a stash of gifts. I

k-brow said...

I'm sorry for your loss. We lost my dad last winter and it was a tough time. Time heals some things and grief mellows, but it takes time. I think knitting through it helped me a lot.

On the needles now...Central Park Hoodie. It's taking forever, for no good reason.

Anonymous said...

I'm sorry to hear of your dad's death. I was surprised at how listless and sad I was after my dad's death for similar reasons. You're doing the most important project now- dealing with grief and transition.

THe most exciting thing that I"VE done, knittingwise, is to finish a linen st distowel that I started 5 years ago!

MargieinMaryland

melissa said...

oh heather, sending much love (and maybe some knitting mojo) to you. xo

Beth said...

I'm so glad to see a post from you though am very sorry for your loss. Even when we know it is coming and in some way 'makes sense,' it is still very difficult.
The knitting will come back to you in time. My own knitting has been sparse, mainly due to a project I'm not thoroughly enjoying, the featherweight cardigan. It is turning out nicely though is rather tedious.
Take care Heather,
Beth

Anonymous said...

Hi Heather,
I am so sorry to hear your news. My own mum is sick at the moment and your words struck a cord. Know that warm thoughts are winging there way to you from Perth, Australia.
I am knitting my first all in one baby cardy. I've never knitted on in one piece before. I think I have stuffed up the sleeve join. I'll keep going though!
Warm thoughts,
Jude x

Courtney said...

I'm so sorry to hear about your Dad. I've been knitting very little and I really need to update my blog. Take care of yourself!

gale (she shoots sheep shots) said...

So beautifully put. Wishing you & your family well as you put the pieces back in place.
As you know, I've been test knitting for a book and while it's been fun and made me , to my surpise, a fan of garter stitch,and a fan of crochet, I am looking forward to returning to some personal projects.Like that damn Traveling Woman with only 10 rows left to go.(OMG I think that one is a metaphor for ME).

Andi said...

Take care of yourself. One day you will look to the comfort of knitting again. Thank you for all your inpirations you have brought our way. Sending come love to you an yours.

Lisa said...

I am so sorry for your loss. I check your blog fairly regularly and the longer you went without updating, the more I felt something wasn't right. I had guessed correctly, based on past blog posts about your dad. My heart is sad for you. Take your time adjusting, we faithful readers will be here when you do. ♥

I am knitting a Tomten for my daughter (yarn is nothing special though) and procrastinating on a knitted doily that's more challenging than I expected.

Diana said...

I am very sorry for your loss. It is truly evident, through your blog posts, the love you have for your father. I hope you soon find comfort.

Daphne said...

Such a lovely picture that says so much. My condolences to you and your family on your loss, and best wishes on your mom's move.

We're on the other side of life right now, procreating and wildly pretending our parents aren't aging. Today I'm knitting a hoodie for a three-year-old girl who'll be a big sister soon. I've been busy knitting for many babies-to-be, including my own, this spring.

Katrina said...

I'm so sorry for your loss. I know there are no words that truly bring comfort at this time, but good friends and time will bring comfort.

Less than a year ago, my brother died very suddenly. I, too, lost my desire to knit anything for a couple of months. But because Keith died in August, Christmas was coming. I picked up my needles again to knit Christmas presents for the friends who were my rocks during the hours, days, weeks, months after he died. They all got some sort of neckwarmer or short scarf, basically one skein type projects, but knitting none the less. After that, the only knitting I did for a few months was just for me. Or my kids and hubby.

And what am I knitting now? I'm finally knitting the socks for my mother I was working on when I got that horrible phone call. I was waiting for him to come back from his business trip so he could help me make sense of the pattern. (He was an engineer and I looked to him to help me make sense of the math.) I ripped out what I had started and am using the yarn to make a different pattern, but using it anyway.

Wow! I'm sorry this is so long. But I wanted to let you know that your knitting mojo will come back. Probably with a vengence.

Janet / Twisted Knitter said...

I'm so sorry for your loss, Heather. I really enjoyed getting to know your Dad in your posts about him and I love this photo of you two.

Wishing much peace to you and your mom.

duni said...

i'm so sorry to hear about your dad. i hope the transition in your family goes as smoothly as possible.
right now i just picked up the outer stitches for the ophelia shawl (shakespear in lace). i bought the kit off a nice person on ravelry and have been loving every minute. i even bought some beads...
take good care of yourself!

Chris T, said...

SO good to hear from you. I really did wonder what happened to you and I am sorry for your loss. I can, however relate to the waning motivation to knit as I myself am experiencing that. Knitting became my survivor clutch about three and half years ago at which time I quit smoking and morphed from a chain smoker into a chain knitter. Recently I started a teacher training program to fulfill my lifelong dream of becoming an art teacher and the classes and homework have kept me so darn busy that I rarely find time to knit anymore. But you know what, it's ok. Maybe the mojo will return and maybe it won't but it's all good. It's all good, my dear friend, it's all good.

Yarnhog said...

I'm so sorry for your loss. I hope the transition into the next stage will be as simple and peaceful as possible for you and your mother and family.

I'm knitting a log cabin blanket and just finished a woolly aran cardigan. But since it's July, I just cast on a pair of socks.

merrilymarylee said...

Goodness, I hope the move to PA goes smoothly for your mother. That's going to be so tough on all of you!

That's a beautiful picture.

KnitNana said...

My heart goes out to you. What a lovely photo of the two of you, tho.
Knitting will come back in it's own good time, I guess there are cycles to everything.

I'm knitting lace and dishcloths. Weird combo, eh?
Sending you many many
(((((hugs)))))

Liz said...

So sorry for your loss - it's good that your mum can move to be near you - I'm sure you'll be a great support for one another.

I've been knitting a hand-spun, sleeveless (I got bored near the end), Arisaig in grey Shetland.

a friend to knit with said...

i just love this photo of you and your father. wrapped in wonderful knits of love.

big hugs to you. xx

Sereknitty said...

I'm so sorry to hear of your dad and all the stress you've had in the past weeks ...

I've just finished knitting a dark purple Annis, complete with beading, instead of nupps. Fabulous!

Next up, the Baby Tea Leaves Cardigan, in Madeleine Tosh (wine)

lacepetticoat said...

My thoughts are with you and your family at the moment. It sounds like your shift in perspective has helped you through this time and I'd therefore say it's a good thing, especially if it helps you to celebrate your Dad's life instead of dwelling on sadness.

I'm knitting a pair of socks for a friend, in a darkish, drab-ish green which is her favourite colour. And I've just cast on a Swallowtail shawl in the most beautiful hand dyed Scottish merino/silk blend, the colour of fog. It makes me smile whenever I pick it up.

earthchick said...

Oh, Heather, what a lovely post. You are so much in my thoughts.

There have been times lately - and increasingly - that I have felt the sudden impulse to simply stop knitting. It's inexplicable, but the word "pointless" has certainly come to mind. I've had nothing going on in my life like what has gone on in yours, so I don't know how to explain it.

Maybe the lack of maniacal obsession is a healthy thing? Or maybe it's just a necessary thing at this particular stage for you. Who knows? But I trust that everything will unfold as it needs to, and in due time.

And of course if you have a fire sale, I call dibs on all the best stuff. ;)

Kathy said...

I'm so very sorry to hear about your Dad. May you find comfort in the memories of your time with him.

I found your comment: the petty distractions that drain your energy and pay you in a currency that has no value..." very powerful. I hope you hold onto that feeling.

And, only because you ask:
(Endlessly) knitting Mountain View cardigan in fingering yarn.
Thin Mint scarf from Domiknitrix
various small baby items.
trying to resist starting the Spring Garden Tee
Considering starting a pair of socks. I won't do this until the back of the cardi is finished. Probably.

Joan said...

Deeply sorry for your loss, Heather. Your post was eloquent and touching. My dad passed around Christmas, 2005. Still miss him, and yet still feel his love is there for me. It's like a well I can tap into when I need. Wishing you peace.

Anonymous said...

Hi Heather,
I'm just a 'reader' of your blog but I wanted you to know I am thinking of you.
Jude (Perth, Australia)

Becky Holmes said...

Heather, I'm sorry that you are not blogging. I really really miss you. You are so funny and you make me smile whenever I read your writing. I hope you feel better soon.

Liz said...

Just another random blog reader checking in with you to let you know I miss you and hope you're dealing with things. Looking forward to hearing from you again when you're ready.