I’ve seen a lot of change in the last year.
My visa process to move to the US started in October, and still isn’t complete. I was finally able to move here in February, and married my partner, Tom, in March. I’ve moved countries, surroundings (I’d lived in the country for a few years before coming here), changed my entire lifestyle. I am having to restart entirely. I have also felt slightly (if I may, from my perspective of otherwise comfort and privilege) demeaned; I’ve had to prove my relationship is real to countless governmental employees, I have been fingerprinted for the FBI database like some sort of dangerous criminal, endlessly examined, re-examined. I have had to justify myself, my relationship, my very existence frequently in the last year. Still! I have finally been granted permission to seek employment, which is a great relief. After 6 months of ups and downs, I am permitted to set down roots beyond functioning as a bad imitation of a homemaker (which I am, mostly, not at all) and living in a sort of madness-inducing stasis.
Knitting has helped me through a lot of the loneliness. When people talk about Seattle, they talk about the Space Needle (which seems to perturb locals), the mountains, the water and ferries, the cafe culture, the art culture, the laid-back neighbourhoods, the good food… and when they’re done with the pleasantries, they talk about the Northwest Freeze. I’ve heard a lot of locals to Seattle disparage others for deigning to claim that this exists. “Go out and join a club! Actually try to meet people and make friends!” It’s really not that easy if you haven’t grown up in a built-in social circle, as those who grew up or attended school/university around here have done. It seems that making friends around here is a multi-month, if not -year, endeavour. I’m sure there are thousands and thousands of people in this city that I could learn to be friends with, that are warm, welcoming and interesting. Still, regardless of how wonderful these hypothetical people are, in my experience, most residents of this city initially shy away from the kind of sincerity and friendliness I try my utmost to project. It’s hard to keep them captive long enough to establish a rapport. It’s been a frustrating process. So, I turned almost all of my attention to knitting.
Knitting has been my warm, bright spot in a sea of uncertainty. Tom is a wonderful, supportive partner, and his friends are very nice people, and maybe I’m even starting, very slowly, to be friends with them (after three years of talking to them relatively regularly). Yet, knitting has provided me with a means to meet new people whom I can relate to, and to branch out.
Knitting has been my warm, bright spot in a sea of uncertainty.
I have made a friend in a local yarn shop, and she’s been great to hang out with, welcoming, warm and supportive. How wonderful that the knitting world could provide social avenues? It’s a tricky thing, making friends. Even tricky among knitters. It’s a matter of figuring out a rough sketch of who you think you are, how you interact with the craft, and then finding like minds, or realizing truths about yourself you hadn’t previously struck on. I have tried out a knitting group or two since I’ve moved here; nice people, all. Still, I haven’t found my spot yet, but I’m working on it. It’s hard, but making things with my hands provides for me an outlet that is sorely needed when I’m anxious and alone, and frankly, a little bit scared of the future.
Like all of the fears and challenges I’m facing right now, it’s all about keeping even-keeled, even focused, keeping even tension in all things.
Right now, I’m putting my “all” into a KAL pullover, relatively simple in construction, but an absolute sanctuary for my mind. I’ve never free-styled a sweater before, though I’ve knit (and frogged) plenty. It’s a raglan, as I’ve mentioned before, and I’ve never thought to shape the back of one, but it’s turning out really well, I think. It’s beautiful, really. It’s really helping me. Like all of the fears and challenges I’m facing right now, it’s all about keeping even-keeled, even focused, keeping even tension in all things.
Next time: I’ll be writing about the funny connections that run through my life with this particular sweater. I’ve moved from fishing community to fishing community, freshwater to salt, and yet my projects frequently have that nautical flavour to them. What’s new is the Scandinavian preoccupation I’ve developed over the last year or two. Funny that I should have moved to an old Scandinavian fishing neighbourhood with still-strong roots! You can now read about it here.