Yarn is My Zen
Knitting, Crochet, and How I Relax
When I’m in the yarn-crafting zone, things don’t bother me as much. I still worry over things, but those worries don’t seem so bad when I have a project on my needles or hook.
My paternal grandmother taught me how to knit when I was about eight years old, but I never really did much with it until I was 27 or 28. I had a shift working security at a major U.S. international airport from 1:30 in the afternoon until 10:30 at night, and I was sitting at a stoplight on my way to work one late morning when I saw a craft store on the corner.
I decided that I would make a sweater for my younger sister, Anna, and I chose her two favorite colors, black and red, to make it. Weeks later, I pulled the finished product out of the dryer only to discover holes in the fabric in almost every place where I had woven in the ends of my yarn! Frantically, I called my grandma, and she showed me how to mend it. We even put a little frog patch over one of the worst holes up near the left shoulder. Anna loved it, and I was hooked.
Since then, I have made at least four more sweaters, about five pairs of socks, and a couple of shawls. I’ve got a shawl and two pairs of socks currently on needles, but I haven’t had the patience to work on them because the patterns are so intricate that I can’t just sit and watch TV or talk with friends/family while I knit them. Plus, the yarn is so thin and the needles so small for the socks that I have trouble with my hands cramping. I’ll finish them someday.
I’ve also picked up crochet, which my mom taught me when I was about the same age as I was when Grandma taught me to knit but had trouble understanding the patterns I had. I just could not figure out where the next stitch was supposed to go sometimes. That problem was fixed once I found YouTube crochet tutorials, especially Fiber Spider and Hooked by Robin.
My first major crochet project was a shawl in the “Virus Meets Granny” pattern. It wasn’t nice enough to give away, since I didn’t weave in ends very well (I didn’t yet know how to do it securely with crochet), so I use it to keep me warm while I’m working at my desk at home; the air vent is right next to me on the floor. Since finishing that, I’ve made a very large blanket for my dad’s 60th birthday as well as some other things. I’m currently working on a rug to go in my daughter’s bedroom using leftover partial skeins of yarn from the 10 years of projects I finished before starting the rug. I’m not using all of that yarn—there are some colors of which I have way too much left over—but what will be left is a lot less than what I started with, and I’ll give it to my daughter to play with. Eventually, I might get it back out of her yarn bag and make something small with it too, unless she is old enough to learn to crochet or knit before then.
A friend from my local crafting group showed me how to do Tunisian crochet too, and recommended TL Yarncrafts on YouTube for learning how to do it, and I’ve made a few small things with that. I’m currently working on an entrelac scarf using the Tunisian simple stitch. After I finish the rug, this will be my next project on the “finish asap” list.
I can’t knit or crochet as long or as often as I used to, both due to time constraints and to issues with my hands and arms such as possible carpel tunnel syndrome, but when I do, it helps me think of a time when folks could slow down at the end of the day and make things just for the joy of making them.