This week I received the most delightful pair of ‘knitted knockers’ in the post. As a one-breasted woman I like to wear a prosthesis every now and then, but the silicon ones the hospital provided me with irritate my skin. It was only recently put to my attention that the charity www.knittedknockersuk.com provide bespoke soft cotton ones free of charge to women who have had mastectomies or lumpectomies,“made with love and filled with hope”.
I put in an order and within 3 weeks received these beautiful boobs, knitted specially for me by another woman. The connection between women over boobs is very powerful. These knitted specimen say so much more than pages of words could do. I’m very moved and grateful.
Like many creative processes, knitting not only requires us to learn and repeat basic skills, but also to be curious and explore variations on those `stitches’. “There are two kinds of women: those who knit and those who unravel…” (Stephanie Danler – the Paris Review Sept 8, 2015). Knitting becomes a metaphor for life itself ; We can live to connect to the other, or to unravel. Sometimes the unravelled is fixable. Sometimes not. “I knit socks because in each and every stitch, every pattern, every turn there is a lesson. Or a memory. Just like life”.(mary-mann.blogspot.com/2013/04)
And according to the Mayo Clinic, seniors who engage in knitting seem 30-50% less likely to have a ‘mild cognitive impairment’ than those who don’t.
Many lactation consultants still use knitted breasts as visual aids. In 2010 the Somerset Mothers’ Union was commissioned by the NHS to knit fake breasts to be handed to health visitors and community nurses, to help new mums learn techniques and how to cope with breast feeding complaints. The Lactation Consultants of Great Britain https://www.lcgb.org have ‘Knitted Breast The Pattern’ available on their website for downloading.
The ladies volunteering for “Life For African Mothers” (Making Birth safer in sub-saharan Africa) make midwifery training sets which comprise not only of knitted breasts but also knitted placentas and wombs… ! Patterns anyone ? (www.lifeforafricanmothers.org)