Wednesday 28 January 2015

Try, Pull Out, Scream, Then Try Again ...

There has been lots of coverage the national media recently about how knitting is good for your mental health. It's meditative, therapeutic and wonderful at reducing anxiety. See this article on the Huffington Post website espousing knitting's miracle ability to alleviate pain and depression.

Usually I'd agree. I'm on strong painkillers every day for my physical disability and every now and then dealing with it, when I never get a day off from pain and discomfort, becomes too much. Then I want to hide under the duvet until I get my mojo back, which is usually in the next day or so. Perhaps this reactive depression is nature's way of making me rest - usually I push myself to my boundaries because there's so much I want to do and I have lots of life left to live.

Certainly knitting as a hobby is a great one for me. The monotonous (though not to me) rhythm of following pattern helps me get into a 'zone' where my mind is distracted from what hurts. I love seeing in knitted yarn what I've achieved that day. Plus it's a hobby I can do in bed if needs be. I have brittle bones and my most common fracture is a leg bone, be it femur or tibia. So I can knit even with a fracture!

The gloves knitted by Susan Crawford
Last week, however, knitting was profoundly BAD for my mental health, to the extent that I felt like using my needles as mini-javelins to skewer the pattern I was working on. Let me explain. Before Christmas I was desperate to find a pattern for a pair of gloves, not wanting to buy some from a shop. After lots of searching I came across a great one at Yarndale - my post about it is here.

I knitted one and a half gloves but then took a breather from the project in order to knit a couple of Christmas gifts. Last week I went back to the second glove, thinking it would take a long evening to finish it. But could I do it? Could I heck. I must have spent about 16 hours knitting then pulling out, knitting then pulling out even more because I was going very wrong somewhere in the lace pattern. For the life of me I couldn't work out what I was doing wrong.

My choice of colour for the gloves
That glove, however, was not going to beat me. My blood pressure probably went sky high, rocketing as I got crosser and crosser with  myself for not being able to knit that ruddy glove. Eventually I pulled the whole thing out, only to start again and still go wrong with the lace pattern.

Finally, a mini-miracle. It clicked in my brain what I was doing wrong, and I remembered that I'd briefly had the same problem when I started knitting the first glove. Twice in the lace row there's an instruction to yarn over then knit through the back loop of the next stitch. I was putting the yarn to the front, but this wasn't creating the extra stitch required. Instead I had to wrap the yarn around the needle. Of course when the pattern stated a yarn over before a normal knit stitch just putting moving the yarn to the front before knitting worked fine.

Last night I finished the gloves. They are very comfy and I'm sure I'll get lots of wear out of them. They'll also serve as reminder to persevere with a pattern, but not to let myself take it too seriously when knitting goes wrong.

My finished glove!


  1. Glad you didn't let them get the better of you. I bet yours look lovely in that shade. And I thought I recognized that handbag - it's mine! Knitting isn't all plain sailing huh?

  2. Gorgeous handbag Theodora. You always look amazing when you model for Susan Crawford!

  3. Beautiful gloves! I knit to improve mental health, I find it really calming. So far I've only knitted squares but you ave inspired me to try something more one day, as at least I know I won't be alone if I get stuck on the pattern, thanks!


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