Category Archives: Therapy

Thoughts on a Nutkin

(Or, “I swear I’m alive, guys”)

So, I’m alive. Really. I just kind of took a hiatus from life for a few weeks and stayed in bed to be cuddled by my boyfriend (he’s really good for that kind of stuff. A keeper). Some other stuff happened other than my stepmother passing away, none of it good, and so staying in bed seemed like a good idea. I didn’t even knit! Gasp. I know. But I am knitting now.

I’ll knit the Monkey socks some other time. When thinking of what to knit, my mind jumped to socks… like it always does. In any case, I thought of my languishing Self-Imposed Sock Club and the February socks. Middle of the month, two weeks… seems like a good time frame for a busy college student to complete a pair of reasonably low-stress socks.

Except, well, these socks aren’t as low-stress as I thought. There seems to be problems with the sock biasing a lot, and the knitted-on hem that is the cast on edge is… troublesome, to say the least. I’ve been thinking of making modifications to the sock, like substituting the knitted-on hem cuff for a normal ribbed cuff, substituting the yarn-overs for a m1 instead, and using just a normal heel flap for the heel instead of the short-row heel that Nutkin calls for. Oh, and also… the purls. Ugh. The pattern has a purl stitch at either end of the lace motif and it’s causing ladders in my knitting like crazy! I’ve been thinking of just knitting the purls and seeing what happens.

So, in essence… taking just the lace motif and changing everything else on the sock.

I have to say, though, the knitted-on hem is the coolest thing ever. I hate ribbing, I really do, and the hem FIXES that. I guess you’ll know what I’m going to do when I do.

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Knitting as a form of therapy

As I know, thousands and millions of fellow knitters somewhere out there in the knitterverse can all acknowledge at least one truth about knitting: it’s therapeutic. It can be therapeutic in any way, from the soothing familiarity of stitch after stitch, to the comfort and warmth of a favorite knit sweater against your skin, to the ability to keep your hands busy so that you don’t strangle someone around you.

As someone who’s in a period of slight self-doubt with no clear ideas about how to proceed, I don’t know why I don’t turn to knitting more often. Multiple times when I’ve been incredibly sad or stressed or heartbroken, I have picked up whatever project I have on the needles and the calming repetition of knit stitch after knit stitch has washed over me like a balm for the soul. Stockinette stitch is mindless, repetitive, Zen. It is plain oatmeal, simple, and will never give you any hassle (unlike some other people we won’t mention). Lace is finicky and demands your attention — no room to think about the woes of the world! One distraction and your skipped yarn over could wreak destruction on the delicate pattern unfolding beneath your needles.

Another way knitting helps calm me is that it’s pure creation. What better way to combat the destructive forces of negative energy than by bringing something new, warm, and useful into the universe? Creation has always been an outlet for humanity, even into prehistory. Sometimes when I’m knitting, an overwhelming sense of solidarity washes over me as I think about the millions of men and women I’m connecting with — men and women through the ages who replicated the same stitches I am working and who used the same techniques to make warm garments for their friends, family, and community. Just now, the thought of working a pattern is mind-blowing. Someone somewhere in time has gone through the exact same steps that I am going through now, and we’ve made the same thing. It’s an intangible and rarely thought of connection, that the same craft I am using today to make a lacy scarf was being used by traders hundreds of years ago on the Silk Road to make their underwear.

I’ve often heard of knitters deeming certain years to have themes: a year of completing WIPs, a year of experiments, a year of knitting for yourself. Project Spectrum. What if I made 2011 the Year of the Knitting Lifestyle? Knitting is lovely, gorgeous, elegant, and artistic. It hardly seems so in my dorm room, which is so far away from the softly lit studios of knit fashion designers. But it really is. Knitting has so much to teach me, and offers so much comfort to soothe me.

I am perfectly willing to make it a lifestyle.