Not just a dishcloth

Not just a dishcloth

The diagonal dishcloth requires little thought once you get on a roll. Cast on 4 stitches, knit, and then begin a regular series of rows: knit 2, yarn over, knit to end until you have 45 stitches. Then you begin the decrease to 4 stitches again: knit 2 together, yarn over, knit 2 together, knit to end. Cast off. Weave in ends. I like to fashion them into fat, little oblong shapes and tie them with yarn of the same color, with a bow, to make tiny bundles of color. *SIGH* (happy)

It takes time to re-establish routines after a loved one dies so it’s really important to hang onto the comforts that work. Binge watching Broadchurch in the early days of grieving helped as did clearing out the basement and placing it at the bottom of my lane to watch people pick it up. Knitting dishcloths was another.

I’m a firm believer in keeping your hands occupied. Bob Dylan writes in “Forever Young”: May your hands always be busy/may your feet always be swift/may you have a firm foundation when the winds of changes shift.

Before Patrick died we had a firm foundation so when we lost him we also lost our life’s pattern. Mornings were hard and evenings equally so. I found myself pacing from room to room looking for my old life, I suppose, and it was very painful and exhausting. It took time to regroup* after those former ways of living, and knitting that diagonal dishcloth has helped me to do that.

Ann Hood writes in her essay “The Art of Losing” how knitting kept her mind busy in the months and years following her daughter’s death at age 5. It’s a compelling read. One that I experienced long before I knew what was ahead for me and my girl. I remembered her story of how she set a goal to knit 60 dishcloths by a certain date as a way of pacing herself to also complete unfinished tasks that loomed large since her child had died. Another epiphany! I could do that! Perhaps not that many, but I certainly could borrow Hood’s idea of knitting and planning, knitting and breathing, knitting and resting; creating a new pattern in my life.

The beauty of this simple project is that you can carry it with you in your purse. So when you’re sitting at Access Nova Scotia for the 13th time, you can pull it out to help with your breathing, or to occupy your mind. There is always someone to ask ‘what are you knitting?’ which of course then meets that other need I have written about, conversation!

I also carry projects with me to the staff room on most days and here is a fitting story on which to end this blog: when one of my colleagues asked me what I was knitting, I replied ‘oh, just a dishcloth.’ She** answered, ‘not just a dishcloth, Melissa.’ And she was right. It isn’t.

* thanks to E. White for coming up with this term. You never know how one comment can impact a grieving hooker.

**Blessings, Sharon M.

Until next time,


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