Saturday, March 29, 2008

Knitting Book Contest

I was reading some of my favorite Knitting blogs, and I came across this.

My Yarnin Story

Once upon a time ... oh, nevermind. I was going to spin a good yarn, but maybe I'll just stick to the facts ...

My mom taught me to crochet when I was 12 and then again several times over the years. For many years, I made blanket after blanket and maybe a couple of scarves. Over the years, I got married and had 2 kids.

During my second round of postpartum depression & anxiety, I was looking for something to recharge my batteries and calm my mind. I had always wanted to learn to knit so I took a class at AC Moore. The class taught me to throw, but I had a horrible time controlling tension so I switched the yarn to my left hand. It just came so natural to me.

From that first lesson, I knew that I found something. I have knit almost every day for the past 3 1/2 years. It relaxes my anxiety and slows my thoughts to a rate in which I can process them. Knitting has helped me to process traumatic memories, and it has helped me to pray for my mom while she was going through chemotherapy. Knitting has challenged my mind with mathematical skills that I thought pregnancy might have killed. Knitters have welcomed me to sit down and chat. They have explained patterns and taught me how to fix mistakes. Knitting has opened my creativity, my problem solving, a few mathematical skills, and I think it is just the most wonderful discovery.

I wish I could put into words how knitting has calmed my anxiety. It helps me to think or not think, based upon what I need. I now have an outlet to express creativity and problem solving.
The rhythm of the needles can encourage a state of meditation or prayer. All of this and I get great clothes and accessories too.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

In Between Knitting

Sometimes I just don't have the brain power to figure out a knitting math problem, or maybe I need a break from the current project. So I start a new project. Well, I have 6 projects in progress. Lately, I have been struggling with migraines, and I don't really want to work on any of these projects, but I still want to knit. I want to feel the smooth needles and hear their calming clicking. I have lots of yarn to knit up, but what to do when I need to just knit and knit and not have to think. Sometimes I make a dishcloth, but in the last 2 days I have made 2 newborn baby hats. I knit a 2x2 rib in a circle for about 5-6 inches, and then I decrease and finish up the hat. I give these hats to a local hospital. I get my knitting fix, producing something, and doing a good turn all in one swoop. Next week, I will be able to tackle my projects. (My migraines are hormonal.)

Monday, March 17, 2008

Faux Cable Tee

When I can't stand the cotton candy pink anymore, I am working on this tee. I am making it out of a beautiful merino cotton. I just love this stitch, and I think I am really going to love the way this fits. No shaping is really necessary because this stitch is basically a rib so it has lots of stretch. I have really been love with the contrast of chocolate brown and aqua. It is so easy on the eyes, and since I have autumn coloring, these colors just make me look great. At first, I was going to make the top a yoke, but I've changed my mind, and now I'm going to make it a raglan.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Cotton Candy

I am trying to use up some of my stash this week, and my 6 yo daughter always picks out this cotton candy pink. I'm trying to use up the last skein by making this really cute beret. If I have enough yarn, then I will make a muff to go with it. I'm sure that this will really contribute to her princess identity. I think that all 6 yo girls have a princess identity, and I really encourage it to an extent because once a girl hits puberty, she just thinks she's the ugly duckling.

Friday, March 7, 2008

The Benefits of Knitting

I have finished reading The Joy of Knitting: Texture, Color, Design, and the Global Knitting Circle by Lisa R. Myers, and I must agree that there are many benefits to knitting and I think these apply to crochet as well.

"To summarize briefly, the process brings calm, peace, an opportunity for contemplation, a sense of purpose and utility, and pure visual and tactile pleasure. The product brings custom wardrobe items, precious gifts, and a sense of achievement and self-confidence."

I would add to this something that I heard in an interview with Stephanie Pearl-McPhee. Knitters learn that one stitch at a time makes a difference. Small things add up to big things.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

What Knitting Feels Like ...

Since I've been teaching knitting, I've struggled with finding words to describe what knitting feels like. I 've been reading The Joy of Knitting: Texture, Color, Design, and the Global Knitting Circle by Lisa R. Myers and here is quote that describes well how I feel:

"Once you get the hang of it, knitting is a lovely rhythmic motion. It can soothe and calm you. It can even put you into a meditative trance. While your hands are busy, your mind can be emptied of anxieties and details. Sometimes it may remain open and passive, in a Zen-like state. Other times, it may float free in contemplation of larger issues."

It is amazing because knitting a simple project can give me room to process a problem or slow my thoughts down when anxiety has them spinning out of control. Knitting a more challenging project can help me to take a break from worrying and give me a much needed escape. Sometimes, I swear I can feel the release in endorphins as I perform the pattern again and again.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Nana's Happy Hat

One of the quickest ways to satisfaction is to make a hat. I made this hat in a couple of days (a few hours while watching television). I am liking how it turned out, except I may work on the buckle a little more. This is the first time I worked with a bamboo yarn, and it is so soft and luxurious. I just find it amazing that this came from sticks. I bought this pattern from The Crochet Side. It was easy to follow.

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Cross Crochet Washcloth

This week I have crocheted small projects to give myself a break from the sweaters that seem to be taking forever. Small Projects provide such wonderful instant gratification. Life has been full of emotional frustrations, and the quick, easy projects have really soothed my soul. I needed some encouragement that I could get something done. This small dishcloth provided me with something easy and yet I had never worked this pattern before so it was new. It provided me with the level of mental challenge that I needed while also providing those repetitions calmed my nerves.