Tuesday, 24 January 2017

Making work for idle hands - my renewed love of knitting

During 2016, I accidentally took up a time consuming and ultimately self destructive hobby: Anxiously Scrolling Through Social Media, Waiting For The Next Disaster. It’s the opposite of my ideal hobby, involving passive consumption rather than active participation, and it will never lead to a tangible result or goal. And yet at times it became almost a compulsion, so I turned to knitting. With my hands full of yarn and needles, trying to decipher the unique language of knitting patterns, I wouldn’t be able to sneak a peek at any of my mobile devices.

As well as enjoying knitting as a cosy, solitary activity; holed up in my flat binge-watching box sets on Netflix, I’ve also become a social knitter- in a pub, cafe, someone’s house or any welcoming indoor public space. I’ve found social knitting has cemented and deepened some of my friendships; the lure of doing something creative as well as having a drink and a chat has encouraged me to make more plans with friends after work, even on cold dark evenings when the sofa beckons after a long day.

Both my grandmothers were avid knitters, and I’d inherited a lot of knitting needles and the remnants of their yarn collections - I recognised some of the colours from cardigans they had knitted for me when I was a child! Trying to figure out what to do with these odds and ends (not enough to make something substantial out of, but I just couldn’t bring myself to throw them out), I discovered Knit for Peace, and knitted up a baby jumper just before Christmas. The pattern turned out to be the perfect size to use up my pink and purple yarn.

As well as trying to turn my leftover yarn stash into presents for other people, my family and friends have given me some fantastic knitting themed gifts recently, and I spent a really relaxing Christmas knitting this super cosy scarf/shrug hybrid.

After receiving some lovely natural yarn from the Yorkshire Wildlife Trust shop as a gift, I’ve also started thinking about how I’ll source my yarns for upcoming projects once I’ve depleted my current yarn stash a bit; if I’m going to spend weeks or months making a garment I can afford to take my time to look into some eco-friendly, sustainable options.

The hours it takes me to complete a simple project means it’s a hobby I won’t be able to monetise, but that’s one of the things that makes it so relaxing to me. I enjoy watching a garment come to life in slow motion; the action of creating, of focusing on making something beautiful, is its own reward.

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