Saturday, August 16, 2008

Craft Lust

I knit. I crochet. I am on the verge of teaching myself to spin. I want to dye. And now, thanks to this, I want to weave, too. And start yarn from scratch with my own fleece, thanks to this. And this makes me miss quilting. Argh!!! Who has time to work when there are all these crafts to sample and master?!?

I do knit at work, during our weekly status meetings. My co-workers show a mild interest in whatever project I tote into the conference room, but last week I wore the Embossed Leaves socks and showed them off. My colleagues were properly impressed, although I think still puzzled over why anyone would knit socks.

And deep down, so am I. Why are we so obsessed with sticks and string? Perhaps knitting (and other crafts) satisfy that need to create that is so lacking in our jobs. I find that in some situations (like status meetings), knitting acts like Ritalin, allowing me to concentrate more freely because the non-listening part of my brain is engaged and happy. And when I am feeling stressed, knitting provides a mental/emotional "cone of silence" into which I can withdraw while I recharge my batteries.

As puzzled as non-knitters are about why we knit, many of them are still happy to be on the receiving end of hand knit items. There is something symbolic about gifting handmade things, as the time and effort put into creating the gift represents love and esteem. And it doesn't even have to be love between the knitter and the knittee. A woman I work with, upon seeing me knit, has said, "I wish someone would knit me a scarf," which I initially heard as "I wish you would knit me a scarf" but later decided maybe she meant "I have two ungrateful teenage daughters and my husband takes me for granted and my job is really stressful. I need to feel loved and appreciated and a handmade scarf just might do the trick."

Not to get too metaphysical about this, but our hands imbue the objects we create with energy. Hopefully, it is positive energy. Maybe that is why projects that just aren't working or that we don't like working on bury themselves in the bottom of the UFO basket. They are just not meant to be. Thankfully, yarn is forgiving, so we can rescue the materials and transform them into something joyful.

That said, it's time to turn my attention to non-knitting Saturday chores. Have a great weekend!


flurrious said...

There is something about knitting that's really soothing. A few years ago during a really stressful period of my life, I took up knitting after not having done it since childhood. I'm not very good at it, so I mostly made a bunch of scarves and one unfinished afghan. I don't knit anymore because it's really hard on my wrists, but I still get the urge to handmake something once in a while. Maybe I'll take up sewing, although I don't expect to be good at that either. Badly sewn items are much less forgiving than badly knitted items, so if I ever do take it up, I'll probably end up being the person in the misshapen, ill-fitting shirt.

Shea said...

You should definitely do the fleece study. I'm absolutely loving it. It's so much fun playing with all the different kinds of sheep fur. :P

Let me know if you would like to get in contact with the evil lady that put me up to it.