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In The Rhythm Of The Needles, There Is Music For The Soul.


"Properly practiced, knitting soothes the troubled spirit and it doesn't hurt the untroubled spirit either."

- Elizabeth Zimmermann

Like I wrote in my last post I've been spending quite a lot of time in hospital lately. To make the trips easier for me I've usually taken my knitting with me. For me it's been easier when my hands have had something to do instead of just sitting there idly. It made me think about the therapeutic side of knitting.

For me knitting is so much more than just a hobby. I've often written here that knitting is my meditation, it's my escape, my calm place. A thing you might not know about me: I used to battle depression in my early twenties after a long illness and I think that it's something that will always be a part of me, something that never really goes away. I guess I have a tendency for melancholy even though I nowadays consider myself a happy person. I thought long and hard whether I should share this detail about me because I didn't want to risk sounding like a cliche and I also would like to keep the contents of this blog quite light and on the happier side. But if this relates or helps even one of you out there then this was worth sharing and posting.

When I started to knit I didn't think of it as a form of therapy but in the hindsight that's exactly what it's been for me. I used to battle low self-esteem, loneliness, and depression, but after I started to knit those feelings have been less frequent and way more quick to pass. Knitting calms me down when I feel a wave of anxiety coming. When I knit I'm never angry, or frustrated (except maybe sometimes when I make a mistake and have to rip what I've done, but that's not what I'm talking about here). When I knit I find it easier to breath. 

I believe most of the people who knit are introverts, so am I. I need my quiet time and I need to be alone every now and then. For me the hardest part about being a mother has been exactly that: suddenly it's never really quiet and I'm never really alone. So I try to get all the little moments of silence and really soak them in. When the baby is napping I try to fight the guilty conscience of not tidying up or doing the dishes or some other chore that is waiting to be done and instead just sit down with my coffee cup and my yarn and my needles and try to clear my mind. Even if it's just for a few minutes - baby-T is almost infamous for his short naps, I'm so jealous of the mothers who claim their babies sleep  2 or even 3 hour naps, I'm glad if he's asleep for 45 mins!

I believe many of you feel the same way about knitting as I do. It's not just a "craft" or a "hobby", it's not only about making beautiful things from scratch or having a handmade wardrobe. It's more than just making something with your hands or the need to create something. It's hard to explain but I believe you all agree with me.

If I could go back in time to when I had it the hardest there would be two things I would tell myself to do. First one is to go outside and get some exercise, a walk in the fresh air really clears your mind. The second advice would be to stop by a yarn store while you are on your walk. 

“You don't knit because you are patient. You are patient because you knit.”

- Stephanie Pearl-McPheeThings I Learned From Knitting

Comments

  1. Thanks for sharing. I hope your family member's recovery is going well. Knitting has helped me during hard times too. I think it engages your mind just the right amount to keep it from running too hard but not too much that it becomes a stressful activity itself. It's such a slow process that there's no way around just taking one step at a time and even if each step is tiny, they all do add up to something worthwhile eventually.

    Stephanie Pearl-McPhee is absolutely right with that observation, I get that 'you must be so patient' remark all the time in regards to knitting. Not one bit! There's just no other way around it when I'm knitting though so I've had to learn.

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  2. I totally agree with your feelings! I turned to knitting years ago when I was going through a really difficult time, and it helped me immensely. I love how it can be simple and zen, and you don't even have to look at your hands, or really complex and require your total focus to distract you from more negative thoughts. It's pretty much perfect!

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  3. I'm an introvert too and have found that I really need to make an effort to take time for myself now that I'm a mom. It's so important, and we shouldn't feel guilty about it! You have to be sane and healthy before you can take care of anyone else.

    Is your baby down to one nap yet? My little guy always shortened naps before he was ready to drop one. Then when I took away a nap, he'd lengthen the next one. Maybe your little guy will too.

    Hope your relative gets better soon!

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  4. I can really relate to this post. Knitting and crochet are such a huge part of my life and several years ago it pulled me out of a very hard time in my life. I feel so grateful for the opportunity to create and to share it with others who feel the same way about it...I hope all is well with you.

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  5. All so true. And one of my favorite Yarn Harlot quotes. Hang in there w all the hospital business.

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  6. On the naptime guilt, dismiss that! It definitely is easy to get caught up in tidying up and getting things done but try to think of it as your break or downtime, as well as his. When I stayed at home with my youngest I'd always start the washing machine when she was sleeping and when she woke up we'd hang the laundry together :) But while she napped I had coffee, knit and did whatever relaxed me. Moms need lunch breaks too!

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  7. Thank you for sharing such a personal thing! Knitting has also helped me through hard times. Or rather, during those times knitting seemed to be the only thing I could accomplish and be proud of. I also agree that knitters are often introverts :)
    I hope things get easier for you soon x

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