by JuliAnne Pardon Diesch
Years ago, my budding creative daughter corrected my saying I was trying to fix a situation in my knitting. "Don't you mean that you are trying to fix a STITCH-uation?" Her punny self came up with this, but an internet search showed the term was already in use.
The Stitch-uation for the past few months has often seemed bleak. Even as executive orders are now permitting some businesses to open, it is with caution and parameters that are intended to minimize risks to our communities. We are all going to find a "new normal" that allows us to carry on with business and social connections.
In all of the fluctuating expectations, disheartening news briefings, push-and-pull of trying to maintain schedules with kiddos whose "jobs" became a little less scheduled, I was hanging on by a thread. Or, rather, I was hanging on to threads. Threads of fiber that have been spun or twisted together to make some amazing yarn. [The quote on the mug pictured above is credited to Elizabeth Zimmerman; the yarns are some lovely Malabrigo Dos Tierras I procured at Stitch In Time to knit Joji Locatelli's Odyssey Shawl; I should probably cast that on soon!]
Yes. I have been knitting my way through this. I have been utilizing technology to reinforce connections with fiber friends and we have all been encouraging each other to finish a project, try some new technique, permit yourself to purchase that yarn! I have been doing a mix of stash-diving/stashbusting and finding new-to-me yarns for projects. Some have incorporated both. [Pictured below are three yarns from the recent "Africa" sock yarn club Stitch In Time offered; my friends and I are going to do our own KAL and I will use these for my project.]I haven't been knitting *all* day (despite my daughter's hyperbole). But I have been knitting every day. Even if it has only been ten minutes, two rows, until the next color change, or whatever small goal I set for that moment when I picked up my WIP and knit. I have been focused on the process more than necessarily completing projects (and yet the WIPs have turned into FOs). Nine projects have officially been finished since the middle of March (including one newly cast-on sweater and one long-term sweater WIP)! I have two toys that need the right eyes, but the knitting is done. [Below, see toys, a hat, and the Breathe & Hope Shawl - as well as some of my Stash Enhancement in the background.]
All of this while I feel like my life has redefined the terms "short order cook" and "micromanaging" (even as I tried to have empathy for what my school-aged Vs were tasked to do). Vacations have been postponed, outings were limited, and my time became filled with some other crafting too. But I yearned for my needles, the WIP, the process of knitting. It has been a highlight of my day, and moments when I can connect (yes, even virtually) with my fiber friends has been a more precious lifeline that one inserted in a lace project in which my needle slipped out of the stitches.
There is order, a kind of meditative process, mental challenge, success - all the elusive qualities my life has been missing. There are beginnings as well as the finality of finishing. There are challenges, opportunities to ask for help or provide it to others, and the sense of accomplishment that only comes when one grows in skills and confidence.
We are each moving at a different pace, and we all began at different points. It isn't a race to see who knits most. It is that quest for our personal best that matters more than tallying how long it took to knit that finished object. Enjoy the process, lean into it to sustain even the most challenging of times, and know that you are doing important "work" for your body, mind, and community.