Knit one, purl one, chill out

I’m working on a pair of socks right now and I’m thinking about one of the major reasons why I took up knitting in the first place: to stay away from screens and digital information overload.

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I’m an information junkie by trade and by nature. I spend most of my work day in front of a computer with an internet connection. On my off time, my smartphone and tablet are always near. I’m on Facebook and Twitter just as much as the next person.

But all that has changed in the past month.

I’m finding all the news from the United States quite depressing and distressing. The news from the rest of the world isn’t particularly cheerful either.

It’s getting to the point where I’m feeling panicked as I scroll through the alarming headlines I see shared on social media or on respected journalism sites.  The Daily Show with Trevor Noah and The Late Show with Stephen Colbert don’t seem that funny to me anymore.

I know I need to stop worrying about things I can’t control.

If I already hadn’t started knitting, I would be starting now.

Google “knitting and mental health” or knitting and stress reduction” and you’ll find many articles, such as this one and this one, which confirm what knitters already know: knitting is good for you.

Which brings me back to knitting as a way of pulling the plug on information overload. .  

The more I knit, the more my fingers and brain are occupied and NOT surfing the web. 

And when I’m not knitting, I’m retraining myself in my online habits.

If I want to do some aimless internet surfing, I have moved my bookmarks for Ravelry, Knitty, and online yarn shops to the top of my browser.

If I’m watching television, it’s home decorating and nature shows, and more soothing Netflix fare. I’m really getting into The Crown!

I’m glad I started knitting a couple of years ago simply out of my own curiosity and as a bit of a self-improvement project. That way, I don’t associate knitting as something I started as a result of something stressful.

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Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have a heel to turn and an episode of Martha and Snoop’s Potluck Dinner Party to watch. Martha is wearing an intriguing knitted sweater. 

 

The knitting needle and the damage done

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Last weekend, the unthinkable happened. I ran out of yarn.

I finished a toque ahead of time, the rational part of my brain admired it and I put it with my finished knitted goods. No big deal, right?

Not a big deal until Sunday afternoon, when I got hit by a rogue wave of panic.

We were in the Costco parking lot, heaving a 50-pound box of cat litter into the car, when I mused aloud,

“I’m trying to resist the urge to go over to Michael’s and buy some crap yarn to get me through this evening, because the wool store opens at noon tomorrow, so I’m just wondering if I can hold off until then. What do you think?”

My husband stopped mid-cat litter lift and said, concerned, “Um, you’re thinking about this a lot, aren’t you?”

I didn’t go over to Michael’s to buy the crap yarn. I could wait it out.

That evening, we settled in for a bit of Sunday night telly. Netflix, not Knitflix. But my hands got fidgety. I tried working on a page of my Scenes of Paris adult colouring book, but it didn’t quite scratch that itch. I picked up the iPad, to look at knitting patterns online, but that just made me more twitchy.

I know, I thought. I’ll take photos of my completed knitting projects, just for my records.

So I did that. And then I just went to bed out of it. What was the point of staying up if there was no knitting to do?

The next day, I was at the wool shop at noon, and bought enough skeins to start a three-colour mitten project. Calm washed over me. The universe had righted itself.

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So yeah, maybe this is a bit of a problem.

But then again, I could pick worse things to be addicted to. With the standard vices, I’m a moderate kind of girl – although the idea of giving up coffee is as unthinkable to me as giving up wool.

In terms of money spent on my habit, I average about $30 every two weeks for knitting supplies. That’s reasonable, as far as I’m concerned. I don’t give up nights out or social time with friends to knit, although I do like to get a few stitches in after I get home and before I turn in for the evening.

I have this under control.

I won’t have time to knit tonight. I have tickets to an experimental music concert.

Should I take my knitting with me?