Everyone needs a hobby. Hobbies allow us to relax, create and focus our thoughts completely on something separate from mundane trials and troubles. It’s my belief that hobbies keep us sane.Several years ago I attended one of The Yarn Harlot‘s speaking engagements, where she discussed knitting Zen (I’m probably going to mess this up) and how the repetative actions in knitting released endorphins in the brain similar to those found in the brains of Buddhist Monks when they meditate. This makes sense in my world. At work I keep a plain sock or hat knitting project in my bag to pull out during lunch breaks on particularly stressful days. A variety of WIPs are stashed strategically around my house and in my car too. That way my hands can stay busy even when my brain is otherwise engaged. My theory is that I’ve got ADHD and this activity soothes and focuses my brain while providing a socially acceptable form of stimming. A theory enforced by the agitation and anxiety arising from long car trips or office waits when I haven’t got my knitting. If I ever were to “snap” it would be the result of having nothing to do. The disclosure of my gross exposure to knitting coupled with the fact that I started knitting at the age of ten means that I should be a yarn expert by now. Truth is, I’m fair at the craft, but by no means a knitting master. I believe this to be a much by choice as ability.
A prime case in point being my New Year’s Eve project (technically, it’s still Christmas 2011 knitting, but I’m just a tad behind). This year each of my girls was allowed to choose the hat they wanted me to knit for them. A2 wanted the Jayne hat, A3 still hasn’t decided (although she keeps tossing around ideas for a hat with cat ears) and A1 wanted a large, floppy, light-weight beret. A1 browsed Ravelry patterns and skimmed old magazines with me, but she didn’t see anything she liked. Eventually I showed her a lace doily pattern that she liked the look of and we designed one of our own. She chose a lovely silk, baby alpaca blend yarn from my stash.
So far all is going well with this hat, however I currently have 800 stitches on size 0 needles and this hat has crossed the line from “relaxing hobby” to “drudgery” as I continue the endless stocking net stitch with yarn so fine that I can’t even zone out for fear of dropping a stitch. I actually took a break from it this morning to do laundry! I like being a knitting hobbiest and not a serious knitter. It’s times like this that I’m glad to have a fall-back hobby. Over the years I’ve developed the ability to weave sarcasm and snark into a fine tapestry of words. In this area I do profess the rank of Master. This blog merely represents sanitized, abridged samples of my writing. Fear of unemployment, charges of libel, divorce and general shunning prevent public posting of most of my ponderings. But I find that organizing, recording, and often immediatly deleting, thoughts about daily encounters is cathartic. No great novel or revolutionary ideas dwell in my brain, but channeling sarcasm keeps me sane. If I ever stop writing and venting snark privately then I might actually start speaking these thoughts while in public, especially if I don’t have any knitting nearby as a distraction. It could get ugly.
Speaking of ugly and crafting… it is possible to take hobbies too far. Images of plastic flowers glued to picture frames and beer can, crocheted hats seem downright classy in comparison to these, http://www.favecrafts.com/Christmas-Crafts/Unique-Tampon-Angel/ct/1. I shouldn’t judge though because making these might have saved someone’s sanity. Thank heavens we didn’t receive one as a Christmas gift. Sarcasm filters and manners would have failed big time.