Creative Knitting Newsletter
|Knit Wise||Stay in Touch||Cast On!||Finishing Details|
Heartfelt Thoughts From Dan Brooks
"I must say that I revel in the Stay in Touch section of this newsletter, perhaps because knitting has become such an important part of my life in the last several years. It seems that I have become that rarest of birds, a man who is comfortable knitting in public. I returned to the fiber arts in a serious way about two years ago, having learned as a young child how to knit at the knee of one grandmother and how to crochet at the knee of the other. Though I, being very young, had to beg them to teach me at the time, I did not realize then the importance of the gift that they were giving me.
"In 1990, I became another species of rare bird, a man diagnosed with fibromyalgia. At the time, it was more commonly looked upon as a 'woman's disease'; men still make up only about 15 percent of the diagnoses. Looking back, I can see the effect of fibro on my life nearly as far back as I can remember. Despite that diagnosis, I went on to the usual career of overtime and weekend work, but it was never easy. Following a neck injury about five years ago, I came to realize that I could no longer continue to bull my way through a normal 40-hour work week, and ultimately decided that I could not sustain any sort of employment.
"Times were too tight, though, and I found a job with a local retail store whose owner was incredibly understanding and supportive. We quickly became the best of friends. He died shortly after of a string of medical maladies that still have me shaking my head. Shortly before he became ill, I had again taken up my needles and hooks in a serious way. It may have just been that it was something to do with my hands after the exhaustion of the day. Out of a sense of duty, honor and obligation to my friend and his family, I put my shoulder to the grindstone and stepped into his shoes at the shop. His labor of love became my own, at least for a time. His family ultimately decided to close the shop. I went down with the ship, becoming less and less healthy with each grueling week of physical and emotional toil, but I continued to work at small knitting projects all the while.
"I am most fortunate in that I realized fairly early in life that nothing made me happier than giving my time and support to those around me who seemed to need either or both. Having given my all to what has been my final job, I was left with a hole in my life. It is rare that I can leave the house these days. Instead, I have found that I could give of myself by knitting small things as gifts. Baby blankets are my running favorite as I know that these are welcome gifts that will be used year-round, either over or under the baby.
"I have no words to express the joy it has brought me to discover that I can still contribute to the lives around me in some small way. So, it is with that joy in my heart that I read what knitting means to the other readers of your wonderful newsletter. Thank you for keeping us all in mind of the fact that even as we pursue our solitary craft, we can still connect and share with the rest of the world."
What a beautiful letter, Dan. Those fortunate mothers and babies who receive your lovingly crafted blankets may never know the pleasure you receive from making their gifts. Incredibly, the other letter featured in this issue was the very next one in my inbox. Coincidence? I don't believe in random happenings! --Editor
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