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Home : Community : Customer Gallery : How Knitting Changed My Life

Customer Projects - Get Inspired

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How Knitting Changed My Life
Created By: Amy Steenson



I always thought to myself, “I would really like to learn to knit – if only I had the time.”

In early 2005, my life was a blur – teaching music, looking for a house, planning a wedding. I certainly didn’t have time to learn how to knit. Little did I know that only six short weeks after our June 18, 2005, wedding, our lives would take a tremendous, unexpected turn – and I would have more time than I knew what to do with.

After August 1, 2005, I had the time. That day, I was in a serious car accident. I shattered both my lower legs, and broke my left femur, hip and shoulder. While in the hospital, I received a prayer shawl from our church, St. Charles Episcopal Church.

The next couple of months seemed to drag on. I couldn’t walk or even stand. I couldn’t move my broken left arm. I couldn’t wash my own hair or shower. I depended on a caregiver for my every need. I was imprisoned in a hospital bed in my new home.

I finally was able to move my left shoulder, but I was still waiting for my legs to heal. During this period, I spent time trying to figure out myself. In fact, it seemed like I lost myself. I wasn’t able to do the things that defined my sense of self. I could not do things with my new husband, teach, sing, play the piano, travel, craft, go out with friends, or garden. I wasn’t sure what to do.

In October 2005, my friend Wendy from the prayer shall ministry taught me how to knit. My first attempts were plagued with the typical beginning knitter challenges – tight tension, dropped stitches and uneven stitches. But I got the hang of it, and something spiritual happened. As I knitted, I felt more calm, centered, focused. I felt useful and productive. I could show progress in something while my progress healing was slower. In fact, my family teased my husband that he was running a “sweat shop” – I knit for 8-12 hours per day.

The hours I spent knitting gave me great insight into myself. I was able to be creative and industrious even though I wasn’t able to do my “normal” things. I rediscovered myself as a knitter. With each scarf, prayer shawl, handbag or sweater I made, I was continually reminded of the amazing mystery that occurs with yarn and two sticks.

In January 2006 – just three months after I learned to knit – I attended a prayer shawl ministry meeting with Wendy. What a full circle moment for me. I received a shawl from this group in August, and here I was with them knitting and praying for others just as they had for me. I was humbled by the thought that I could contribute to such an amazing ministry. I still was adjusting to being in my wheel chair and the challenges of getting around to have a normal life. That experience struck my soul. I knew that knitting will always connect me to something bigger than I am and to others in need.

Knitting not only changed my life – it gave me my life back.

Now, 20 months and 9 surgeries later, I am still on my journey of recovery. I am still in a wheelchair, and only able to put weight on one leg. I continue to knit with passion and the assurance that as the stitches move from left to right on my work in progress, I am continuing to learn more and more about myself.

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