My early career required that I have some skills and interest in various textile crafts, particularly dressmaking techniques. Perhaps because of this, I never ever had any interest in knitting and did not imagine I ever would.
Three weeks after being diagnosed with early breast cancer in August 2013, secondary breast cancer was confirmed. In a moment, many things in my life were not to be what I had imagined. Suddenly life was about “hope and hurdles” and considerable uncertainty. It was easy to be fearful for myself and those I love. It was hard to keep my mind calm and focus on putting my life in the best possible place.
By chance a number of factors came together: I found two balls of wool among my possessions, I made friends with an enthusiastic knitter, two members of the family announced pregnancies, I learned of the 5000 Poppies Project (honouring Anzacs), and my mother (a very experienced knitter) spoke of her enjoyment of knitting babies garments.
With only a very basic understanding of knitting I created a simple scarf for my husband. I then knitted 50 poppies to commemorate the contribution of my forebears in WWI and WWII. With a little more confidence, I then had a go at knitting items for babies.
As I undertook these small projects, I found a new joy and peace: I could do something that had some value (no matter how small) and, most importantly, the knitting occupied both my mind and my hands. I had found a place of calm.
I am now working on creating original patterns for babies’ articles, as I couldn’t find knitting patterns available in styles that I wanted. I still have a lot to learn, so I spend many hours researching knitting techniques and trying them out. I’ve been fascinated to discover how many different ways there are of achieving a similar result. I hope to be able to put together a collection of original patterns I have created or collected to be available for others to use.
I recommend knitting as a beneficial hobby. It doesn’t take a lot of energy if you aren’t feeling well. It can fully occupy your hands and mind. Experienced knitters are eager to help and encourage you. You can’t go wrong – if you make a mistake just pull it out and have another go. Items for babies are excellent as the projects are very portable (great for filling in time while hanging around medical waiting rooms) and there are many charities eager to receive them.