When knitting, frogging is the act of unraveling your work due to a mistake such as a dropped stitch or a patterning error. Once fixed, it is then usually necessary for the brave knitter to carefully collect their stitches, the same amount they began with, back onto the needle, and proceed with the project.
It’s not a task for the faint of heart. Especially if you are two thirds of the way done your project, and one wrong move could have you drop yet another stitch, which would then mean more unraveling. Literally, a snowball effect.
I kind of see frogging and grieving as being similar.
And probably why I look to knitting as a way to occupy my hands and my time and my thoughts.
The process of regrouping after accepting “what is”, is a monumental one.
So when our true blue fella vanished from our lives, Bea and I began that slow and tedious climb upward; we began picking up our stitches, so to speak.
And of course there have been mistakes, and heartache, and abandoned projects.
But I think if you can see similarities between your creative and grieving processes, you have that proverbial light, at the end of a long dark tunnel, at least established.
I have a plastic tote full of half finished handcrafted projects. Ideas scribbled down in various notebooks of things I would like to try. Fabric pieces are all over my dining room table right now because I hope to establish a little home cottage business as retirement looms. It all works to fill a space, a huge hole, that I strive daily to mend. And to cope with those lonely moments when there is seemingly no one there to fill them up.
But sadly, there are still days after nearly two years, when things still unravel out of control. You do not feel like making things work, or you begin to unravel something, the knots appear and you throw it all out. I have cut out whole sections of unruly, tangled yarn just to put an end to the misery; or I have bagged up every ball of yarn, knitting magazine and pattern, and given it to the Salvation Army, or a co-knitter in crime.
But the urge eventually comes back to take the needles and create something, anything, to relieve that longing for a tangible fix to pain.
And I begin to fill the void and the basket with presents for those whom I love and care about. I just find that with everything there needs to be a break. You cannot knit, hook, read, or grieve all of the time.
But put things in place when the urge hits you to do any one of these things. The notebooks…the the projects yet to be determined, the remembering…they all have a place, be it in my heart or on the dining room table.
It’s what generates hope.
Currently I am working on what I hope to be a lovely wrap that will look dazzling on a special someone next Christmas. It is a divine look right now. I know the pattern so well, I do not have to think about what I am doing and yet I still somehow dropped a stitch which created a “goose egg” in my progress.
I had to go back a few rows and then pick up 89 stitches in order to get back on track. I instantly put it back in the bag.
It was the first thing that came to me the next morning:
You bought the yarn and want to give it as a gift./ I will clean the house and then tackle the mistake./But sometimes you like to take a break and knit between chores./But I might rush it and make an even bigger blunder.
You need to take the risk for your overall well being.
And so I did. What I cannot quite believe is that I was successful in rescuing all 89 stitches within 20 minutes of frogging!
It can be done. Not always, but it can be, nonetheless. And the same holds true for grieving and loss.
I know this because my girl and I have made it this far. And let me tell you it was a climb I thought we would never make.
And yet here we are, functioning, by a warm fire on the other side of winter solstice.
We have challenges ahead: a graduation without a father and husband; family, across the country and across the border; but we also have plans in tiny notebooks and sketchpads. We have love. We have hope. Always hope.
Oh, and knitting.