Sunday, May 31, 2009

Getting Back on the Needles


So I'd been suffering a little bit of knitter's block, which sort of stunned me. In over a decade of knitting, I can't think of any other time when I was stumped re: What next? I have a great stash, piles of knitting books and mags, and also a fondness for knitting by the seat of my pants, inventing projects as I go.

I realize now I was trying too hard to make myself use some linen yarn that I'm actually not very fond of. Oh, it's pretty enough-- but I got bored fast with the first project I tried using it for, got realistic about the second project (wrongly thinking that if I knitted a particular item and put it on, I, too, would look like the 100 pound 20 year old woman modeling it in the mag), and got disillusioned with the third project (Did I really want to spend 600 hours on a tunic I might maybe wear once?).

I confess other things were eating at me, keeping me from settling on a project. Namely, my oldest dog was dying. I was distracted to the point of... well, to the point of distraction. To the point of a therein lies the rub state of mind where I knew from plenty of past experience that knitting would soothe me, at least some, but that I just couldn't focus long enough to figure out what soothing knitting project to start in on.

Then I was over at Hill Country Weavers, my personal dealer as I like to say, and I saw some yarn that was the same as that I first learned to make socks with. And so, like reaching for good old familiar macaroni and cheese or other comfort food in time of crisis, despite the towering stash I had at home, I grabbed a couple of skeins and I started in pretty quick on Sock One.

I got through most of it pretty quickly but as I watched the calendar, knowing soon the vet would come to the house to put Satch down, I got distracted again. Then the dreaded day arrived, and then the dreaded hour, and it seemed all at once that the vet might never get there and that she would get there all too soon. So I sat outside with Satch while friends threw his favorite toy for him and I just worked that sock and worked it, right down to the toe. Which is when I realized I'd messed it up. Me, a pretty dedicated sock knitter, making some mistake that seemed like it should be simple and clear to spot, and only slightly harder to fix, but I just could not figure it out. Not at all.

Tomorrow, over at my other knitting blog, I'm going to talk about how I went straight from holding my dog and loving on him til he breathed his last to a Yarn Harlot book reading. There, I found out something pretty cool about knitting and how it can help with dealing with trauma. It's no coincidence, apparently, that we pick up the needles when we are agitated. And, on the off chance you haven't tried this as a tool for soothing, I highly recommend it.

Sure, I had to go back and re-knit quite a bit of that sock. But that was okay. It was there for me when I needed it most. And I was so grateful to be back on the needles.

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