“My knitting group has broken up,” said mom on the telephone, “but I may have found a new group to join. We got a flyer at the condo about a knitting group at the CNIB that’s open to the community.”
“You should go,” I said. “Winter is coming and you’ll need something to do. Besides what are we going to do with all the hats, mittens, and scarves we make every year?”
My mother, Katharina Duhatschek, lives in a condo at the Kilgour Estates, and for the past few years she has been meeting weekly in the condo library with a group of like-minded women to knit and crochet for charity. When I retired three years ago I got in on the fun, not showing up for meetings, but crocheting throughout the winter, making so many hats, scarves, and mittens that all family and friends were well-taken care of. I gave all my extras to mom’s knitting group which sent them to women’s shelters once a year.
I have long understood the therapeutic benefits of knitting and crocheting. Even before I retired I would often come home after a stressful day and crochet for hours into the evening, using the repetition of the stitches and the rhythm of the patterns, to calm me down. Plus I got a big kick out of making something, choosing colours and textures and patterns, and bringing them together into a finished product. It would be hard to get through a winter without knitting and crocheting.
“We’re making Twiddlemuffs” said mom on the phone. “Do you know what that is?”
“Nope. Never heard of them,” I answered. “But let me see the pattern and we’ll figure it out.” Mom had walked over to the CNIB the previous week and met the wonderful women of Mosaic. Mosaic, we learned, is a home care and community resource centre. The knitting and crochet group was making muffs, decorated on the inside and out with buttons, flowers, elastics, and ornaments. The muffs would be distributed to residents of the Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centres Veteran’s Wing. Not only do the muffs keep fingers warm, but they keep fingers busy.
“They’re doing decoupage,” said mom on the phone a few months later. “Do you know what that is?”
“I think so I said. You stick pictures on wood and then varnish it. You should go.”
The next time I visited, mom proudly showed me her decoupage box. She had painted the exterior of the wooden box in blue and then cut out shapes of cottage scenes, black bears, canoes, and pine trees. “I think I’ll take it to the cottage this summer and put all our cottage photos in it. I’ll leave it on the coffee table so people can look through the pictures.”
Creativity is important to well-being, and while we all encourage creativity in children, sometimes we forget that we still need to be creative as a we get older. Making things, whether it’s boxes, or mittens, or muffs, allows us to design and innovate, to express ourselves through our hands, to produce something and be proud of it. I’m glad mom has found a group like Mosaic, where she can participate in a creative community.
By Monica Duhatschek