Wednesday, September 10, 2003

Knitting as Therapy

Okay, I admit it. When it comes to buying yarn, I might as well join a 12-step program or give up and start my own yarn shop. There's always something that attracts my attention, despite having a small mountain of projects already at home. But as addictions go it's cheap and gives me pretty, practical results. I love socks, so I only need a skein or two to get a fix. That gives me lots of leeway to get many different sorts of yarn. If I can work my needles and my schoolwork just right, I can earn good grades while making Christmas presents. Sometimes I do feel-good presents too. My mom-in-law just lost her mother and she won't let anyone do anything for her; I suspect she won't feel right if she doesn't do it ALL herself. It drives the rest of us crazy because we can see her working herself into a frazzle and we want so much to help. Even if she won't let me do anything else, I can knit her socks. She loves my socks! She says they're perfect lounging-around in gear. Does this feed my ego? Unbelievably so! And yet it's such a little thing; a pair of socks to keep her feet warm. She brought me yarn Monday. It was so thick and cushiony -- this yarn demanded big needles! I started that night and by tomorrow morning I'll be done with the pair. I'll be able to give them to her when she comes over to baby-sit the kids. She does so much for so many, a pair of socks is the least I can do.

Knitting also increases my attention in long lecture classes. I have had the most amazing and interesting teachers at VVC, but at some point in any lecture I'll start to fall asleep if I don't have something to do with my hands. I used to doodle but I am an abject failure as an artist. I'd try to take comprehensive notes, but in all reality you don't need to write the teacher's lecture verbatim. One or two sentences or even sentence fragments will do to remind me of the important pieces. I started bringing knitting to classes to do on breaks, and then one day break was over and I kept knitting. Amazing! I can listen to the teacher and when something important needs to be jotted down, I lay the knitting down and jot it. I wonder if this means my brain is working so fast that I need to multitask to keep it at attention? I suspect it does. If only I'd known about this during high school algebra!

Another plus side to knitting my endless round of socks is that it is CALMING. I need that this semester. Oh, do I need that this semester. I have a teacher that would be enough to drive a woman to drink unless she had healthier alternatives. I read, I knit, I'd weld but my children are too little to leave in the house unattended. I miss heliarc; it's even more fun than knitting! Socks fit in most classrooms better than a TIG welding rig would, however.

And, last but not least, it is bringing new people into my life and more opportunities to make friends. I don' t have many friends and I would like to widen my circle a little. I endured an emotional crisis a couple of years ago that showed that having a social circle can be a very good thing. I have a couple of very good friends -- unfortunately they both live a great distance away. I need a few more 'in town' friends; the sort you can meet down at the Starbucks for a couple of hours every other week or so. Maybe I can organize a once a month knit-together at the Barnes and Noble...

Then there is my other, subterranian passion. I love writing. I haven't had much opportunity to do a lot of writing since 1997, what with one crisis and another, and then 3 children in 4 years (whew!!) I wonder how you would go about setting up a writing circle? They have them all over the web and that's fine -- I even belong to a couple -- but I need more face-to-face interaction. I love helping people with their ideas. With a bit of polishing I think I'd be a good editor. And I do so want other people to see what I'm writing.

Off to the laundry now -- if I don't have clean clothes for the kids, we won't be exercising tomorrow. I may not have been in a while, but I'm not going to let that be an excuse for never going back. I may not be doing all that I should be doing, but I'm also changing the habits of a lifetime. It's going to be slow and there are going to be setbacks. And if I go to the gym tomorrow, then maybe I'll get back there more quickly next time. Concentrate on the positive!

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