Sunday, March 8, 2009

Mom, Just Knit or Something

What a few weeks it has been. We have had sick kids, and sick grown-ups - and sick patients at work, and sick co-workers, Snow in March in NC (first in 20 years I think) and now it's 81 degrees and we're planning on cooking out.

I played along with a swap on sew Mama Sew and got some very cool fabric. It was such fun to get presents in te mail- and to package up my little gifts to send out to strangers. I found my way off the couch and back into the studio.

While sitting around waiting for test results, and processing some potential bad news, a few quiet thoughts slipped into my consciousness- I started thinking about how valuable busy work of any sort is. I'm not talking about creative work here. I'm talking about the knitting project that is simple and to the point, straight-stockinette-on-circular-needles kind of busy work. Baby hats, simple stuff. Cleaning is like that , too- scrubbing down the appliances, washing the floor. Or ironing and folding your fabric stash. Simple , almost monotonous tasks that allow your mind to process and absorb.
I think we forget about how much good there is in this type of activity. Years ago, my middle son was in a bad accident and while we were waiting to hear back from the police, I was in a terrible state. My youngest son, then 15 or 16- said-" Mom- just knit or something" wise words that I have taken to heart and made into a mantra for stress.
Handwork is a perfect stress buster. It allows you to think about the problems and then to let it be absorbed by the universe- Some people ( never me) use exercise this way. I love work that is simple and productive. Ironing fat quarters, polishing silver- weeding ( altho there's that whole aching back aspect to weeding...) It's almost as if by bringing some order to one aspect of your life you can control all the other stuff- things over which, we all know, you have no control.

It occurs to me that this aspect of my personality was cultivated as a child.
Perhaps the best present I ever got was the McCall's Giant Make It Book-
I learned how to knit from this book- as my mom wouldn't teach me cause she knit 'backwards'. I was 10. I wore this book out! I can vividly remember the hours I spent on the projects in this book. About the same age I became responsible for ironing my Dad's hankies ( see the fat quarter connection? ) Those sweet days of childhood were pretty much trouble free, at least in hind sight- but the tasks learned translated so well into adulthood, it makes you wonder where our kids and grand kids will find comfort in their lives.

On the topic of grand kids... I found a wonderful idea at this site- Artsy Mama- garlands made from whatever- paper, cardboard, or fabric and displayed for all to see. Zoe and Noah- get your markers out! I'm seeing big flowers tacked onto a ribbon, decorated with abandon by all the kids, big and little. Perhaps a note on each of gratitude for the things we can share with each other.

Also wanted to thank the ladies who played along on the Sew Mama sew swap- The fabrics were beautiful, but finding your blogs was priceless.

The new week promises some answers to our worries, days of sunshine and hopefully some healing bodies. But if it brings concern and worry, at least I have my knitting and the weeding!

1 comment:

ann said...

Mary, It is so true about busy work being a tonic. I liken repetitious knitting to worry beads or Rosary counting-praying. If fact, often when I am just knitting, I am processing my prayers at the same time.
I really enjoyed reading your story. I can relate. When I was in re-hab, pretty much immobile because of being in a plastic turtle shell with a leg attachment that kept my right side all straight to the knee, while the rest of that leg was in a plaster cast, I often just lay in bed and knit socks. Very relaxing.
Joy on your journey, ann