Over the last year and a half, I have been knitting furiously. Or rather, diligently. Obsessively? Incessantly? Probably a combination of all of those, actually. My husband still claims that my knitting induces fits of rage, but I maintain that it is 99% soothing and only 1% rage-inducing. Sometimes the blasted pattern just LIES, I tell you. Or the yarn rebels. You know how it is.
Or you think I’m crazy.
When people comment on my knitting, I often tell them it’s my way of fidgeting productively. I’ve never been a fan of sitting still. I don’t think I ever grew out of that restlessness, and knitting gave me a way to be still and yet not. It’s a grown up way to fidget.
One of my favorite things to do with knitting is cabling. I love it so much. It looks like Celtic knotwork, it appears much more complex than it actually is (no, I swear it really isn’t that complicated!), and there are endless variations. I love watching the pattern emerge. I love attempting new strips of cably goodness and joining them together into beautiful blankets.
My first attempts followed cable knit blanket patterns, so the repeats, the strips, everything was all laid out for me, and that got me comfortable. Here’s one of my pattern-following projects:
But after a couple of those, I found that there were so many more beautiful cable patterns that weren’t tied to any specific project. So I made my foray into creative invention and started combining cable patterns to create my own afghans. It is terrifying and so much fun.
Here’s one that started by following a pattern, but I found the repeated panels a little too boring, so I switched the middle one out for a new pattern!
I know, you’re still thinking – Knitting? Terrifying? FUN? But it is fun! I can watch TV, hang out with friends, listen to music or any audiobook, and all the time, my fingers are twitching spastically and creating cables.
I have become extremely grateful to the Russians lately because they understand that knitting is both an art and a defense technique. A defense against cold. I am always cold. So why not knit a blanket on top of myself at the same time? When I’m hunting for new cable patterns, I often find patterns on Russian websites. Now, I don’t read Russian (I am studying Irish because, you know, that’s way more useful) but the patterns are often charted out and all I have to do is figure out what all the boxes mean et voilà! (I know French too. I’m full of useful skills.)
People often tell me that they don’t know how I do it, as if it’s magic. It’s not, and I firmly believe that anyone could learn it if they really wanted to. The thing is, you have to be the sort of person who doesn’t mind finicky detail work. I’ve always enjoyed making things and tasks that would seem mind-numbingly tedious to other people (like using tweezers to place tiny edible pearls all over a cake, for example) I find very satisfying.
I think that’s what I love about knitting. It takes time but the end result is so detailed and beautiful that it is its own reward.
And I am warm and cozy at the same time.
How do you destress? What crafty sort of work fills you with satisfaction and joy?