Going through Pinterest one Sunday afternoon, I saw the funniest little meme. It simply said, “I knit so I do not kill people.” I nodded, solemnly and saved it to my board. That one meme contained all the gravity, complexity, turbulent vexations of my soul.
The fact that someone out there created this meme is proof that we are not alone in our efforts to combat stress through knitting. I showed this to one of my non-knitting friends who quizzically searched my face.
“You are so happy and sweet, though,” she said. “You look so serene all the time.” All I did was wink and smile. No one needs to know what a hot mess I am. To quote an Alice in Chains song, “Like the coldest winter chill, heaven beside you, hell within.” But when I knit, all the anxiety, all of the stress seems to fall away. When I put my needles down, then I feel I can look at things clearly again. It is like a mini holiday for the soul.
Thinking back into history, so many images exist of women knitting as they waited out some kind of big event. My auntie said she would sit and knit or crochet for her brothers who were fighting in the European Theatre during the war. Being from a warm climate, she knew they would have been freezing their butts off “over there fighting the Hun”. She said knitting was kind of like a prayer to the Almighty to keep them safe and this gave her comfort. As long as she was knitting for them, they would be ok. I guess it worked for her because they all came back. Also, I found out that in WWII, they actually used knitting as a code! But I digress…
Elizabeth Zimmermann, British-born hand knitting teacher and designer who revolutionised the way we knit through her books like Knitting Without Tears said, “Properly practised, knitting soothes the troubled spirit, and it doesn’t hurt the untroubled spirit, either.” Knitting is an effective therapeutic activity. Film stars do it in between scenes. It has been quoted as a “mental-yoga” because it keeps you in the moment, concentrating on the stitch count and musing on the colour of yarn. It brings you out of your reality into a kind of suspended animation.
Speaking of colour and comfort, Yankee Yarns has in stock Swift Knit Tweed by Stylecraft. The colours are bold and rich and give you a kind of colour comfort like when you see a beautiful sunset or walking in nature. The tension is 9 stitches and 12 rows for a 10x10cm tension square using 10mm needles so I am thinking of making a wrap for when I am drinking my cup of tea by a roaring fire on a Welsh beach. After all, when things are going a bit stressful, who doesn’t think of a holiday!?