Do you ever go through a period where you just don’t fancy picking up your favourite pastime, hobby or craft, even though it is usually one of the things that gives you the most joy, or is one of the most fulfilling ways to spend your spare time?
I know that I have been through this a number of times, most notably when I suffered some difficulties in my past that found me very depressed and homeless, which took me a long while to get over. In fact, I don’t know if I would have knit again if it weren’t for the love and kindness of people who encouraged me, sent me needles and yarn when I lost all of my possessions and reminded me that I was still important.
But I still I find that setbacks can make me shy away from creating. I have often pondered on why, and though I have long suspected that it is partly because I have some inner fear that if I knit, paint or otherwise indulge in my favourite things when I am depressed that those same hobbies in better times will carry some of the memory of those feelings over with them, I am increasingly of the thought that a lot of the things I most enjoy are quite meditative – they leave me alone with my faults whilst my hands are put to use, especially when considered with the rhythmic movements of the knitting needles. If I am bothered by something or upset in this meditative time I find that I am likely to sit and cogitate the thing that is upsetting me, and this relaxing time instead becomes a period of me worrying about a problem, with each turn in my head seeking out more and more detail until I can think of nothing else.
Recently I have had a relatively minor upset, but it was knitting related, and therefore seemed to somehow affect me differently. After the pattern attribution error I felt my work was completely unvalued. Not because of the error itself – as bad as it was there is a difference between human error, even through negligence to check important details, and a purposeful disregard of people and how you treat them. It was the reaction afterwards when I tried to contact the magazine to sort it out as soon as possible that caused so much hurt. I know that the world of publishing is busy and frenetic, but more than a whole week later I am still awaiting any kind of answer as to whether my knitted samples are going to be safely returned to me.
Anyway, because it was related to the value of my work, the feeling of my knitting being pointless and without value crept over into my personal knitting, and as I sat down with part of a jumper sleeve I couldn’t enjoy the progress of my knitting.
For several nights I sat without a project in my lap, which I would usually enjoy working on in the evenings as I relaxed. I think this is partly because I feel so comfortable with knitting – I don’t have to concentrate on it very much so it does not take my head and fill it with the task at hand – there is too much room left for TV, talking, or, in bad times, ruminating on negative feelings.
So, with the hours of the weekend to fill I devised a way to get back on track and create again. Because I do not sew very often I would have to pay far more attention to and invest far more concentration to a sewing project, which is how I came to sit down with my sewing machine, lengths of fabric and zippers to make project bags.
And it really has helped. The sewing acted a bit like pressing ‘reset’ on a backlog of creativity, and yesterday I picked up my needles and finished off that first sleeve.
And it may not seem like a massive step forward, but I enjoyed knitting that sleeve and feeling the worth of it adding towards the sweater that I have in progress.
And so it happens, just after I had resolved to give up on hoping for any resolution to the problem brought about by the magazine, the post on the website that I had been told a week ago would be posted has been published on the magazine’s blog, and you can read it in full here. It’s not really an apology, or even a correction as there is no mention made that it was mis-attributed to begin with, but rather a plain statement of ‘this is this’. I’m not going to dwell on whether this is the right way or wrong way, it’s the way it is, and so we go on. I am happy with my knitting. I am happy with my sock design. I am happy with the stripes of two ends of a Zauberball and cosy yarn, and I shall consider this over and to forget about, even though I still await some reply about the sample knits. I shall not think of it when I pick my needles up for the second sleeve tonight, and I shall try to let only positive thoughts dance through my head as my needles dance around each other leaving a path of yarn behind them, creating something of value, if only to me.