|Before the knitting: Me, Dad and Little Sis|
And why did I take to the needles in the first place? Well, last summer was difficult and I needed a distraction. My dad was diagnosed with secondary lung and brain cancer and the carpet was whipped out from beneath my family's feet. I left my new husband and my new flat in London and moved back to Nottinghamshire for a few months to spend time with dad and to help where I could. It sounds odd but, while it was an undoubtedly traumatic and overwhelming period of time, it was also pretty brilliant. I feel very lucky I got to spend so much time with Patrick Kiely. He was, after all, a top, top bloke. The best, in fact.
Dad needed lots of rest so there was a lot of sitting around, chatting and TV-watching. We sat around together as a family, so that was a very good thing. But I often got bit twitchy and I needed something else to do. So the day my mum dug out her old crocheted knitting bag and set me off on a few rows of knitting and purling, it was like a new dawn.
Knitting is a primitive, low-fi joy. There's something quite amazing about creating one row of loops, then adding another row of loops, and then another, and watching as you slowly, magically, create your own fabric. I loved it and, of course, once I started I just couldn't stop. It amused my dad, it delighted my mum, and it provided my little sister with endless 'what have you become' piss-take opportunities. They were good times.
We lost Dad at the end of September and, while I don't think the sadness will ever go away, we're all trying to find our own ways of dealing with it and getting on with life. And I'm trying to do it stitch by stitch.