Compulsively Knitting for Fun, Entertainment, and Distraction

For complicated reasons that aren’t the topic of this post—sorry—I’ve been trying to stay in bed, sedentary, for much of the day (and night, but that goes without saying) since last Wednesday, when I got some not-great news at a medical appointment. Mandatory bed rest when you’re physically very unwell is pretty easy; turns out that it’s significantly more challenging when you’re physically OKish but suffer from unhealthily elevated levels of FOMO and restlessness.

The right thing, as “they” say, is hard to do, even when you know that implementing whatever’s currently testing your willpower will ultimately be for the best.

Realizing that few things are more difficult for me than sitting/lying around feeling useless, my husband and I set in motion “Operation Bed Rest 2018.” First, we made the bedroom more comfortable, mostly by cleaning it and changing the sheets; next, I bought a few books that I really wanted and had placed on hold at the library months ago; after that, we established clear parameters as to what “bed rest” means in order to avoid me-generated misunderstandings (I’m allowed to meet friends at the coffee shop near our apartment a few times a week and go further afield for outings that aren’t strenuous once or twice a week, as long as I otherwise rest); finally, we brainstormed some other activities that I can do from the comfort of under my comforter.

At the top of the list was knitting.

Though knitting might seem like a relaxing pursuit, I’m apparently incapable of crafting at a casual pace. Once I begin a project, I need to finish it. Today. Tomorrow, at the latest. And it needs to be perfect. And I need to have another one lined up to start right away. In other words, it’s nothing but fun, chill times.

You might think that this approach/attitude would quickly lead to needle-craft burnout, but it actually just reflects the fact that when I commit to a hobby, I’m all in. Knitting has been no exception to this rule: in fact, it exemplifies it. I do go through phases in which I drift away from knitting, but these seem to have more to do with the state of the weather and my hand-eye coordination than anything else, and once I’m back, I make up for lost time. Since I picked up my yarn bag (OK, boxes) again fewer than two weeks ago, I’ve completed:

  • a cabled hat,
  • a pair of mitts,
  • a ribbed hat,
  • four baby-sized socks,
  • a baby-sized hat, and
  • half a cowl.

By the time you read this, I’ll have probably made a sweater and an afghan, too.

Knitting is kind of trendy right now (I think—I’m not great at keeping up with what “the kids” are into these days), but I come by my passion for fibre arts naturally. Both of my parents knit during my childhood, and they passed the skill on to me. I began when I was seven or eight years old, and though I’ve taken the occasional years-long break, the familiar click of knitting needles inevitably calls me home. I love the feeling of high-quality yarn running through my fingers; I love keeping my hands busy while watching TV or a movie; I love having something concrete to show for my leisure hours (yes, I 💜 productivity); I love being able to give a gift that the recipient has to pretend to like since it’s handmade.

All joking aside, knitting has been really good for me lately. I’ve been trying to do some “work” (translation for fun, writing for my own satisfaction) from my pillowed palace, but my concentration hasn’t been good enough in recent days to do so very effectively; more than anything, it tends to end up being an exercise in frustration. Distracting myself from reality by churning out hat after sock after mitt, on the other hand, is a perfectly healthy way to deal. It’s a more fruitful one, anyway.

I leave you with pictures of two of my latest projects.

IMG_8163
I knit this.
IMG_8175
I knit this, too.
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