Short Stories - non fiction

Knitting Away Stress


A few years ago I decided to pull out an old knitting project that I had tucked away and never completed. It was a dark blue sweater. I am not what you would call a “talented” knitter, but I can keep the tension even, and I am pretty fast.

I was pretty surprised when I dug out the partially knit sweater because it was actually almost complete. All I had to do was finish an arm and sew it all together. So I did that.

The funny thing was, it was a “puffy” sweater. I had not used the correct wool for the project, so it turned out about twice as big as it should have been. The sweater looked great off, but when someone tried it on, the arms were super wide, and rather long, and the body of the sweater was probably size 4XL. Two people could easily wear this thing. We had a lot of laughs at the expense of the puffy sweater, however eventually I decided that I would put it out of its misery and rip it out. I decided to repurpose the wool.

After the sweater project was complete, I felt so free. It was like that sweater was holding me back. Once it was out of the way, I was able to knit again. I decided to take on smaller projects so that I would not get stuck with something too complicated again.

So I started knitting scarves. They were easy, quick, and they gave me a feeling of accomplishment. An unexpected bonus from knitting was that I found that it took my mind off of my woes. So if I happened to have a stressful day, I would either listen to music and knit, or binge watch something on Netflix and knit. Knitting became a secret formula to reducing stress. It inadvertently gave me the ability to be “mindful” and kind of zen-like.

I found that I enjoyed knitting so much that I made a lot of scarves. Friends and family can attest to this. The scarves became excellent Christmas gifts, birthday gifts, hostess gifts, and “just because” gifts. I had so many scarves that I had knit up that I had to squirrel them away to avoid the inevitable cheeky remarks by my husband “this is getting out of hand, how many scarves are you going to knit?” (I have toned down the comment and removed the swearing.)

The other thing that I enjoy knitting is afghans. These take a lot more time and effort, but they are quite lovely, and also make nice gifts.

Over the years I have donated scarves to be used as fund raisers for charities. This serves as a double feel good because while knitting I enjoy the process and I relax, but then it also feels good to do something for a good cause.

If you’ve tried mindfulness or meditation and you have not succeeded, try taking up something like knitting. You may be surprised at how “at one with the universe” you become!

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