I haven’t mentioned knitting here, even though it’s part of my tagline. It looks like all I do is cook, but I do much more. Well, maybe not much, but a few things other than cooking. I love to read and knit. My biggest joy comes from my knitting.
As I’ve titled this post, I knit so I don’t unravel. You can pick your own knitting meme, but this one’s mine. Who thought knitters could be so funny? I see them posted on Facebook all the time. They make me chuckle.
Knitting provides me with more than an end product. Knitting gives me a sense of purpose and a feeling of productivity I don’t get elsewhere. Sometimes when I pull out my knitting, people will ask me why I am knitting a scarf or socks, when you can buy them for less. It’s quite simple; knitting gives me pleasure. To me, there’s nothing more rewarding than to knit something for a loved one. I love spending time searching for the perfect pattern and the perfect yarn and color. The color, especially, has to call out to me. When I look at the skein of yarn, it has to remind me of someone. I can’t just buy yarn and then use it for anybody. So, if I knit you something, I have thought of you long before I started actually knitting. That’s special, right? I bring my project with me to work, friends’ homes, waiting in the car, anywhere I go. Years ago I had a bracelet that would dangle a ball of yarn. I would walk the kids to the bus stop and knit a few rows. While I was making dinner, I would step back and knit a bit. That’s when I started using machine washable yarns so dinner stains would disappear. Ooops. Live and learn. I like using my time wisely (ok, just give it to me here, laugh at me later!) When I knit, I intertwine a bit of my life into my project. (see what I did here?) I hope that this sock, or scarf, or shawl brings someone comfort and happiness from knowing that they are special. Here are a few things I knit my daughters:
Just a little sock love for my girls! They keep their feet very warm. I love picking out the colors. You can buy socks, but none like these! I learned how to knit on circular needles. It was life changing. Socks are much easier to knit. When I use double-pointed needles, I’m always making mistakes and twisting end stitches. The technique using circular needles for socks is called Magic Loop. It IS magic!
This is my first pair. I made them for me. I used a worsted weight yarn. The instructor said that people with big feet always seemed to use heavy weighted yarn. So now there’s yarn psychology? Who new? Should I follow a yarn diet? It was not a “feel good” moment. I now use fingering or lace yarn to compensate for my insecurity. Oh life, you kicked me but I didn’t fall!
Like learning anything new, knitting has at times frustrated me. There’s always something to learn. I started knitting in prehistoric times, you know, before the internet. Now on YouTube, you can watch a video on how to knit any kind of stitch. I used to pour through knitting books and magazines, trying to learn from pictures and sketches. Sometimes I got it, other times, not so much. I got very good at frogging, or tearing out, rows with mistakes. I learned some valuable lessons. On THIS OLD HOUSE, they say “measure twice, cut once”. I apply the same concept here by always checking my pattern as I go along. It’s better to catch an error right away than having to frog or fix a stitch several rows down. Even when I correct mistakes, I felt like I have accomplished something. You might think controlling some yarn and two sticks would be easy, but it’s not. Trying something out of my comfort zone is challenging. I relate knitting to “real life”.experiences. Over the years I have learned a lot about myself from knitting. “Keep it simple, stupid” is a motto I take to heart. I will take small risks, but only those I am comfortable taking, such as learning a new stitch or technique. If a pattern is beyond your ability, your frustration and the cost of the yarn will become your focus. I find that using a simple pattern and a beautiful yarn produces much reward. I have had to ask myself why I was knitting at times. I had to pull away from looking at knitting magazines that toy with your emotions and fashion sense. Some of those things are just unwearable and not practical. Those magazines don’t tell you why you are knitting and how you should keep knitting. Like life, you learn as you go along. Knitting is many things to many people, but it should always bring joy.
In thinking about writing this post, I did some research. There have been many articles that address wellness and knitting. The researchers have found that knitting reduces stress and anxiety, much like meditation. I could have saved them the trouble of the study and told the researchers this long ago. I fall into a Zen-like state when I knit, the needles clicking calms me. The rhythm is intoxicating. The feel of a wool yarn between my fingers is soothing. I find my mind wandering when I knit. My subconscious gets busy, and I often solve many of life’s problems while knitting. I don’t need to use any psycho-babble to know that knitting is wonderful.
Knitting and access to knitting has changed over the years. Now you can find it all on the internet. Even when I’m not knitting, I think about knitting. There are blogs and websites dedicated to knitting. Sometimes thinking about it is more fun than actually knitting. I struggle when it comes to actually starting a new project. It is a reflection of me in real life, starting new things can be difficult, but you do it.
Everyone should do something that bring them joy. I do many joyful things; reading and cooking, are a few of the things that bring me joy. The world is busy and complex. It’s very easy to forget about yourself and doing something that brings you joy. Don’t forget it. I know sometimes you have to put your needs aside, but don’t tuck them away forever.
Now, go out there and create something. Be joyful!