There is Always Time to Knit
“I don’t have time. I don’t have patience.”
That’s what I hear every time someone asks what I’m doing, and I tell them I’m knitting.
Folks, those are the two life resources I have in the most limited supply. I have ADHD. I interrupt people constantly, I bite my nails, and have an attention span of about 30 seconds. I also have three kids, 5 and 7 (twins), whom I homeschool 3 days a week. I have no extra time or patience on a normal day.
But for the last four months it’s been in shorter supply than ever. We had the incredible privilege of fostering a pair of twin 2yo boys. Yup, in addition to my twin 7yo kiddos. 5 kids under 8. You do the math.
But you know what still happened? Knitting.
My knitting actually thrived during this season. I didn’t get tons done but I had several really simple projects on my needles that all made me really happy. And on some of the hardest days hosting those sweet boys, a few moments of knitting was a real, live, welcome relief. It calmed my mind, gave me something soft and pretty to touch, and helped me feel productive.
This is why I’m so verbal about the mental health benefits of knitting, and recommend it to anyone I can. It's true that all hobbies have their benefits, and really anytime you’re doing something you enjoy, you’re going to be doing yourself a favor. But knitting has some unique characteristics that make it particularly helpful to overall mental health.
Repetitive - Knitting induces a meditative state that is incredibly useful in calming all sorts of anxiety.
Tactile - The feeling of lovely wool and sturdy needles engages your sense of touch. This gives you a productive outlet for the energy that would otherwise go to nail bitting, hair twirling, or some other sort of fidgeting.
Beautiful - Knitting engages our creativity without requiring us to have any artistic skills. You just need the mechanics of the knit stitch and some yarn in your favorite color and you can make something truly beautiful.
Productive - Knitting also satisfies our desire to be useful. Instead of sitting and meditating, which can be a hard sell if you feel busy, you’re sitting and working on a shower gift, or a piece of decor for your home, or a piece that will keep your child warm at school.
Portable - You can take it with you! This is the feature that makes knitting truly unique. Many other hobbies have the above characteristics, such as sewing, pottery, woodworking, and baking. But they all require large specialized spaces. The right knitting project can fit into a small cosmetic bag.
The boys moved back home a little over a week ago, and towards the end of their stay I started a pair of super easy blankets. They loved blankets and always were cuddling under one of our couch blankets while watching movies. I loved cuddling them up in their fleece blankets at nap time and sitting with them till they fell asleep. I wanted to send them home with a bunch of hugs and cuddles in the form of a handmade blanket.
This project proved to be the perfect thing to invest my tiny bits of spare energy in. The large gauge garter stitch out of Malabrigo Rios was incredibly squishy, and knit up really quickly. The striping pattern kept it from ever getting monotonous. I also had this adorable little rope basket from target that housed the project really well and made it easy to bring paces, in spite of it being a larger project. All that garter gave me lots and lots of repetition which gave me the meditation I really needed as my patience started to dip to dangerously low levels.
The housewarming party is this week, and I haven’t seen my little guys since they moved. I look forward to giving them their stash of knitted Miss Ria hugs. And as many real ones as they’ll let me.
Folks, it just doesn’t matter. Life is always crazy, but there’s always a little time for knitting, and it’s the perfect prescription to a shortage of patience. :) Learn to knit!