Knitting to stay okay.

Sometimes, when people see me knitting in public, or when they hear that I’m a knitter, they’ll respond with some version of “Wow, I wish I had the time/patience/attention span/ability to knit!” I totally understand that reaction – that’s more or less what I say to my friend who gardens prolifically, or the one who goes the gym all the time because she genuinely enjoys it. Sometimes I just nod and smile, and sometimes I tell people that actually, I knit because I need to.

Truthfully, I knit for a LOT of reasons.

I love the creativity it involves (even when I’m knitting from patterns, which I usually am). I love the colours and textures. I love that it produces warm, comfortable, occasionally-stylish and occasionally-frumpy garments and accessories and things – it takes my time and converts it into a tangible object I can hold and wear and sometimes give away to a person I like. I love that it connects me with a less technological time (even though technology is pretty critical to my knitting life… *COUGH RAVELRY COUGH.* I love that there are constantly new challenges, new skills to learn, new techniques to master, new ways to expand my knitting repertoire.

But one of the major reasons I knit is that it makes me feel more… okay.

I’m a fairly, ahem, “highly strung” person, to put it delicately. I get nervous easily, I worry apocalyptically all the time (even about things that don’t really deserve to be worried about), and I fidget constantly. Knitting lets me channel some of that anxious energy into an activity that is both productive and placating. Most of the time, I can actually feel my body relaxing and my breathing becoming more regular when I pick up my needles. (The other knitters reading this are yelling EXCEPT WHEN YOU DROP A STITCH RIGHT?! – yes, that has the opposite effect! ;) )

Knitting helps keep my mind busy, and it makes me a happier, calmer, more functional person. The last few months have included a bunch of personal challenges, from health stuff to job and academic stresses to being apart from my best friend, which is extremely, constantly, wrenching. As a result, I’ve found myself reaching for my knitting even more than normal. I’m really, really glad that knitting is part of my life, because I don’t think I would be okay without it.

6 thoughts on “Knitting to stay okay.

  1. Probably most of us are relaxed by knitting. Life seems to be stressful everywhere and we all have anxieties of different kinds. I knit every day, sometimes for a few hours and can feel my shoulders begin to relax once I get going. Seeing a finished item that is useful to me or someone else gives me great joy. My ability to read cable charts has increased greatly since the Blackberry Aran and The Shepherd and I plan to completely conquer Fair Isle next. Knit On!!

    • Oh yeah, I think you’re right! It’s just a relaxing activity in general. I LOVE seeing finished pieces, too – finishing knits is one of my favourite things, for sure! Looking forward to hearing about your Fair Isle adventures :)

  2. And when I don’t get “quality” knitting time I can feel the knit jones start to build. I have a job and community volunteer commitments and for the past month I have not had enough knit time. It is starting to manifest itself in my growing snarky-ness. Wouldn’t it be nice if someone said to us,”well, you seem a bit out of sorts. Do You need 3 hours of peaceful knitting.”

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