When I started this blog last February my first post was a fairly detailed explanation of just why I call this blog Knitting In the Apocalypse. Please feel free to go back and read that first post. But, put briefly, the premise is this: We all face crises in our lifetime. Those that are capital Apocalypse, the things that affect many people on a large scale and the lowercase apocalypse, the things that are mainly our own personal wrestlings. I, like many people, find solace and therapeutic value in working with my hands.
In my recent interview with Maggie Menzel: Knitwear Designer she mentioned this very thing. She said that she was often most productive in her knitting during times of great stress, that the very act of picking up her needles caused her heart rate to slow and her tensions begin to ease. There’s even a podcast on YouTube called Stress Knits for the same reason. It’s a common theme.
There have been a lot of changes for me in recent years. Moving from Asia back to America, working in fairly stressful jobs, and simply the ups and downs and frustrations of normal life. Like Maggie, I find myself reaching my needles more often during those times of high stress. Each and every time I do, especially during those times, it is as if I discover its benefits all over again. I will reach the end of a day, I will find a comfortable spot, pick up one of my projects and as soon as yarn flows over my fingers and the fabric grows and moves across the needles I think to myself, as if for the first time, “I really LOVE this!”. It’s like magic.
Right now, there’s a feeling of lowercase apocalypse happening. There’s nothing dire happening. Everyone’s healthy and projects and goals I have are inching forward, often more slowly than I’d like, but forward is forward. In fact, if there was something even smaller than a lowercase version of this, that’s where I’d be. The only things I have to stress me are that my garden needs weeding very badly, my chicken coop is still not built, and some unexpected car repairs came up. Annoying to be sure, but really, really small in the grand scheme of things.
So I was a little taken aback with how stressed I was feeling. My logic and intellect recognized the “ordinariness” of these things, but my nerves just plain didn’t care. But then it slowly dawned on me, in dealing with all these things the amount of time I was actually spending with my knitting had decreased pretty drastically. I am rarely without a project bag close to hand to be sure, but I just hadn’t been able to reach for it as often.
The epiphany happened during one of the times I actually did get to sit for a bit with the Taina shawl I have been working on. As I began knitting and I had that “I REALLY love this!!” moment, as I always do, I suddenly realized just how little time I had been spending doing this. Like anyone who requires medication to manage mental or physical health issues, I saw at once that I had gone off my meds. I’m thinking my family realized it before I did :). But once I did catch sight of it, I knew I needed to get back on track.
This was really good news. It meant I had an easy, tried and true solution AND it meant some of my languishing projects were going to get the love they needed.
I currently have 3 projects on the needles. Besides the Taina shawl I am working on my Vanilla Latte socks and a double knit square for a blanket I am making.
I would have to say that currently Taina is my favorite. Other than having to watch carefully on the rows that create the eyelet patterns it is simple garter stitch and very relaxing to knit. It is definitely a good go-to when you want something to help you just recenter yourself and breathe.
As I mentioned in One for the Road I like to have things that challenge me in my knitting skills. While knitting the Vanilla Latte’ sock I have been learning to Fish Lips Kiss Heel. This has definitely been a challenge, but I think that once I get the hang of it, it will be one of my favorite heels. In fact, once this pair is completed I plan to make several more pairs using it to become confident in it before learning a new heel technique. Perhaps I will try the Strong Heel since Maggie was such a fan of it.
In terms of progress I am about to close the toe on the first sock and preparing to start the heel on the second. Since I am very close to finishing my shawl, I think this pair will get the attention it’s been lacking and will be completed very soon.
Finally, I’m working on a double knit square. Here is where I have to be mysterious and covert. This is for a blanket I am intending to give as a gift for someone who may or may not read this post. So I must deprive you of the details for today. But once this blanket is finished, which will be quite awhile I’m afraid, I will post pictures and tell you about the fun and trials and travails of creating it. I am so, so close to the end of this particular square, but I made some mistakes in the last row I completed and had to put it down and take a break before I went back to it with fresh energy to see if I can deal with them. Because there is a knit stitch and a purl stitch for each stitch it takes a good long time to do make things in this style. I am literally 3 rows away from completion of this square so I am dreading the thought of not being able to repair it. I may have to call in extra help on this one. But I have every reason to hope it can be rescued and I can look forward to beginning the next one.
Breathing and Knitting. Knitting and Breathing.
My apocalypses shrink in size if I remember to make time for these things.
I REALLY love that.
P.S. Finished Object!!