What making means to me

My long-standing comfort WIP: meet SockYarnBlankie

My long-standing comfort WIP: meet SockYarnBlankie

For me, making time (ie time dedicated to making) is synonymous with 'me time'. That much sought after period of calm, free from the demands of everyday life in general, and the rigours of childcare in particular.

I was drawn back into making on a whim. As the mum of two young children I found myself one day mercifully and gratefully alone on a shopping trip. With birthday money burning a hole in my pocket I found myself staring at yarn in John Lewis and rashly decided that "I would learn to knit again".

I selected yarn (a Rowan wool/alpaca blend from memory) and needles and headed home fired with enthusiasm to make myself a stripy jumper. My making time was limited to nap times and evenings and I loved it. Picking up the needles signalled the end of adult responsibilities for a while. The ability to just sit and knit, to calm the brain, ignore the never ending laundry pile and to just create.

Making time became, literally an exercise in making time for me and helped me to remember that I was a real person and not just an extension of my family. Over time my interest in knitting increased, my horizons broadened (thank you Ravelry) and I became a Knitter, a teacher and a designer.

Now, no day is ever complete without at least a little knitting in there somewhere. Whether it be swatching for a new design or working on a simple stripy sock, time spent making grounds me, reminds me who I am and that with a little time and patience you can create anything you want.

This blog post was inspired by A Playful Day and her Maker's Year project - you can read all about it here and also by using the hashtag #themakersyear on social media


What knitting means to me.

A recent difficult weekend really gave me pause to reflect on this question and made me realise the importance of this craft of ours, in my life. I wrote this piece as a private, cathartic act after the event and in truth it was never intended for publication. 
By happy circumstance though I read of Kate of A Playful Day blog and her Cyber Hug initiative for Monday Dec 7th. Raising awareness of the mental health charity Mind, and recognising that for some people our craft is a very real way of improving their mental health. We use the term 'sanity-saver' quite loosely but for some it is just that. Whilst my own experience is nowhere near is dramatic it does describe a time when knitting came to my aid. 

You can read Kate's introductory post here. And if you would like to join in and share an image of something you have made and how it helped you please use the hashtag #makegoodfeelgood.

Combine a total of 12 hours of motorway driving, a very sick and frail old lady and stressful family politics and by the end of our trip my emotions were raw, my heart in tatters. Trying to keep everything on an even keel for our children, trying to sooth a distraught husband, trying not to succumb to road rage on the A1 when faced with road closures and a 50 mile detour.
By Sunday evening I was a mess. Mentally and physically.

Fortunately my husband realised that my floodgates weren’t going to hold much longer. He put yarn in my hands, a pot of tea on the table and took the children out of the house for an hour.
Holding back tears of frustration, anger and sorrow I picked up the needles and began to knit – very slowly. Not my usual rapid, slick, efficient movements where I slide stitches effortlessly and often without really thinking or looking. But slowly, painstakingly wrapping yarn and forming each stitch as though it were as fragile as I was feeling.
Slowly, my emotional turmoil receded as all my attention focused on yarn and needles. I was dimly aware that my breathing and heart rate were slower and calmer – and that tick in my left eyelid stopped too.
Stitch by slow stitch I literally pulled myself together. The very opposite of unravelling a sweater. The formation of each stitch helped me to order my thoughts and brought me back to myself.
The hour flew by. At the end of it, my shawl was only a few rows longer, but I was in an infinitely better place, mentally, than when I started and I was ready to face the world again.

Because you are fellow crafters the shawl in question was the Urban Hints shawl by The Wool Kitchen using her gradient yarn. It comes highly recommended !