The emotional component of knitting
There is no denying that when you knit, it is always sweater weather. We unpack our seasonal hand-knit sweaters and line them up, one by one, each one waiting its turn to be worn. I always wear each sweater with pride but there is an emotional component to the wearing process as well. When I see my hand-knit garments, I remember life happening as I made each stitch. For example, when I made Outlines by Suvi Simola: the day I picked out my colors, I went to see Aziz Ansari and Amy Schumer do stand up that evening. I also remember countless mornings that I skipped my daily workout to do the short row shaping to create the body of the sweater. Just. One. More. Row.
The Tilly Cardigan by Pamela Wynne reminds of my cross country journey to India. The body of the cardigan was knit while on the plane ride there and the sleeves were started during morning tea time where we drank chai with lemongrass and I observed the daily starts of a million Bombayites.
Knitting not only is an activity that keeps your hands busy and your mind focused, but there is an emotional link that connects us with our work. Each hand knitted piece is a journey that lends a hand to our creations. I have met men and women alike who share their story of how they learned to knit. Learning how to manipulate the needles to create a stitch has also created memories ingrained in the fabric of their lives (all the puns are intended here...but the truth remains in that phrase).
As new research finds that knitting helps us slow down in a world of instant gratification, knitting also teaches us mindfulness. It reduces our blood pressure and keeps one focused on the fluidity that is knitting, which some say is a meditative. In a world where a buzz or beep tells us when to wake up and a ping tells us when our next meeting is, knitting can be done in total silence and forces you to relax. Knitting can be a solo activity or a group activity but the organic activity requires only two components...your hands and your yarn. It takes you back to basics...no technology is needed!
The completion of a project creates an excitement for me. When I wear my project, I am proud of my accomplishment. And nothing beats receiving a compliment on your hand-knitted piece...it takes you to cloud nine. The proud "Oh thank you! I made it myself" reply never gets old. And with all my hand knitted sweaters that I have, I am always surprised by the compliment. I was at Anthropologie a few years back and had worn Sous Sous (by Norah Gaughn) in the mid winter months of Atlanta. I had two random customers stop me to give me compliments and ask where I had bought my sweater. Of course my initial reply was Thank You!!! But when I told them I made it, they too were inspired to pick some needles! And that's the beauty of the art....knitting breeds inspiration.
Whether it is learning to knit, picking out a project, or even picking out color combinations for a project, the creativity and inspiration are abundant. The emotional component of it all goes hand in hand because how you feel also influences the colorways you choose...and the completed project plays into your mood. Feeling gray? Pop on the most colorful cheerful sweater or scarf to add some bounce in your step! Feeling cool and calm, throw on a neutral knit and add a fun necklace! Channel your inner Eileen Fisher!
Making or wearing (or even tearing out a project), knitting comes from the heart. And it soothes the soul.