Posts Tagged ‘mental’

February Blah

February has given me the attention span of a gnat. Even though this kind of weather is prime knitting season, I can’t seem to concentrate or maintain interest in any one project for any length of time. I did cast on a new sweater with the green 220.

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But writing the pattern was just taking more effort than I currently have the brain power for, so there’re a whopping three rounds on the needle. I also spent the last two (snowy) days working on the doom blanket, but in spite of being several hundred rows longer it looks pretty much the same. So I put that aside and finally started sewing in the zipper on another sweater.

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I’ve been putting it off since December, and it’s really hard not to just put it away again at the moment. I really, really hate sewing in zippers. Why did I ever let it be February with nothing mindless and squishy on the needles?

In Which I Am Weak

I am still plugging away at the sweater – I finished the hem lace and the knitting part of the sleeve lace. But there’s just so. much. left.

progress

To make matters worse, my yarn support was delayed, so I don’t even have the very legitimate excuse of a deadline looming to give me a break from this sweater. I tried working on my purse socks a little extra. A Friday night trip into D.C. even gave me enough time to finish one of the socks.

green sock

But it just wasn’t enough to make me feel excited about the sweater again. And I am weak. So even knowing that (hopefully) by the end of this week I will have to put it down and work on the new design, I cast this on last night:

mitten wip

Think I can finish it by the weekend?

One of Those Weeks

I have a new design I was hoping to finish knitting this week, but we’re giving the state reading test next week and I’ve been pretty darn zapped all week. Literally all I’ve been able to manage knitting is a few desperate rounds of the “comfort knitting” self-stripers.

sock

And I do mean a few desperate rounds. Yes, that is not even an insole. And yes, that is still the first sock.

On the other hand, it is also Teacher Appreciation Week, and my students are adorable. My house is full of flowers.

flowers

Survival

Survival is definitely the theme of this week. I did manage to survive to Winter Break (obviously), although the virus I always seem to get on breaks from school showed up right on time. Unfortunately my schedule does not slow down for a couple days yet. The Winter Break Plague doesn’t seem to know about that particular part of my calendar!

tree skirt

“Christmas Tree Skirt No. 1971” by Carole

However, in addition to surviving 39 hyperactive ten year-olds the week before vacation and (for many of them) Christmas, I have also now survived the darkest days of the season. The solstice was yesterday, and each day from now on will be just a bit brighter than the one before it, literally.

apples

“Striped Apple” by Ala Ela

We’re also having a fantastically unseasonable warm spell, just days after our last dusting of snow. It’s supposed to be back to unseasonably cold by tomorrow evening, but for now I’m enjoying it. I’m clinging to little things like the warm and the returning sun to help me get through these next few days of being incredibly social while I’d rather be curled up in bed.

sharktopus

No pattern. Just Sharktopus.

Most of my knitting right now is samples and swatches that I can’t share with you, so instead I’m sharing a few of my favorite little holiday projects I’ve done over the years. Happy crafting is another great way to survive the “endless” bits!

Mini Startitis

Apparently mental exhaustion is a pretty good cure for startitis. I gave myself permission to cast on whatever struck my fancy over the weekend, since I’d finished all my active WIPs except the sample for an upcoming design. So what did I cast on?

smitten glitten progress

A very sensible pair of Smitten Glittens to replace my ones that are finally wearing out, and

crochet snowflakes

Pattern is Snowflake #13 by Angela Grabowski

a couple of these super-fast little snowflakes to hand out to coworkers along with some cookies on Friday. That’s it. Two little bitty projects. I am so darn tired and ready for Winter Break I have absolutely no desire to start anything else either. I think I’m doing it wrong.

Messy Little Frustrations

The Black Hole is still chugging along largely unchanged, and I’ve reached a point where I’m growing suspicious I will run out of yarn for my Hatteras Hat. I’ve stopped knitting on it in the hopes my yarn will magically breed while it’s resting. Or something.

hatteras hat

 

Additionally, I have a coworker I work closely with who is expecting a baby in February. I’d been starting to suss out what her nursery is like and get a feel for what baby knits she might want, thinking I should get on that soon. Well, turns out the school is going to have a baby shower for her in mid-December. As in like, 2 weeks from now. I have absolutely no pattern picked or yarn bought, let alone project started. Crap.

This is a week where knitting does not feel good. Time to do something else, I think.

P.S. Christine Guest is giving away a copy of my pattern Lovely. Hop on over to her blog if you want to enter to win!

The -Itises

Finish-itis is well and thoroughly over (and I got sadly little finished) and has been totally overtaken by start-itis. I knew I shouldn’t have gone on Pinterest. Say something to make me go work on a WIP!

Balance

After last week’s chaos, I think I have recovered a bit of balance. It’s showing up in the fact that I’m sleeping better and don’t have so many inexplicable aches and pains, but it’s also showing up in my crafting. I’m in a mood to finishing things (so much better than start-itis, by the way) so I’m slowly plugging away at the last bits of the silk-merino I was spindle-spinning before I got my wheel.

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I’ve also put in enough work on the Black Hole Cardigan to get to the underarm on the second front. At this rate it may be done by spring. 😉 Several hours at the mechanic over the weekend also means I got a fair bit of the Hatteras Hat done.

hatteras hat

I love the way the lighthouse cables are knitting up, and am intrigued by the beginnings of the waves cables too. It’s a nice little bit of summer back as I work on it, and a nice bit of the waterfront back now that I’m living here in the hills. Not that Cape Hatteras was ever home, but it certainly is familiar territory, and similar enough to other places I’ve lived to make me nostalgic. By the way, this hat is part of the Gift-A-Long, which is still going strong. There are still tons of prizes left to be given away, and with all the participating patterns (including 20 of mine) there’s a good chance you’ve got one in progress already anyway! You should definitely join us!

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Alas, even the lure of the rare and beloved finish-itis is not all-powerful. This week I had a sudden craving for a sweater that only exists in my brain, and I wanted it so bad I could not wait for a publisher to pick it up. So I also ordered yarn and swatched for a new design this week. I’d pretend I’m embarrassed but I’m way too busy being excited.

 

 

Messy Black Holes

I went away over the weekend, and didn’t really expect to get a whole lot done. After all, we had lots of fun stuff planned for the weekend, both historical:

colonial

 

and decidedly seasonal:

howl o scream

 

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None of the things we had planned were really knitting friendly, so I didn’t pack too much. However. Awesome Husband offered to drive both there and back, which means I got about 6 solid hours of knitting time in. I was a little extra nervous about running out of knitting now, but it turns out I needn’t have worried. Apparently I have stumbled across a knitting black hole. You know those projects where you knit for hours and hours and hours and never seen any appreciable change?

black hole project

 

Yup. Where the heck do all those stitches go? It sure doesn’t seem to be into the WIP. I’m pretty sure the only reasonable explanation is that I’ve created a black hole. Clearly all the stitches I make are getting sucked into it, which is why I never see them again.

Maybe I should cast on for a new sweater. You know, just to teach this one a lesson.

Why Does Knitting Make You Feel Good?

I mean, clearly it does. Otherwise why would we keep doing it? Have you ever wondered if the effects are “all in your head”? The answer is yes, mostly, but that doesn’t make them any less real. The positive effects of knitting can be divided into two main categories: those related to all hobbies, and those related specifically to knitting.

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All Hobbies

1. For those who suddenly have little to do with their time (say, the temporarily bedridden or the newly retired), hobbies provide just enough eustress to keep the mind sharp and feeling fulfilled. Learning something new (such as a new hobby) provides a similar effect.

2. Many hobbies also lend themselves to being conducted or discussed with groups, and it is well documented that social support and interaction is a great way to reduce stress.

3. Hobbies can play an active role in preventing job-related burnout, and people who actively engage in hobbies often feel less exhausted at the end of the day, in spite of having intense, high-stress jobs.

capra

Knitting

1. Rhythmic motions, such as those performed while knitting, have been shown to improve the mental function and well being of people suffering from dementia, strokes, and other brain disorders/damage. There is also evidence knitting can actually reduce the risk of some of these disorders occurring in the first place.

2. Repetition, such as in the motions of knitting, allows the mind to focus elsewhere, improving creativity and productivity, as well as producing a mental state of well-being sometimes referred to as the “relaxation response“.

3. The rhythmic, repetitive motion of knitting and other needlework actually changes your brain chemistry, causing it to produce more of the “feel good” hormones serotonin and dopamine.

4. Hobbies that produce a tangible result (again, knitting) also produce emotional gratification, important for your mental well-being. Hobbies which take a while to produce a finished project can teach delayed gratification and patience, which are important not only for the sake of maturity, because it enables us to hold out for the better options we might not otherwise get.

5. Knitting provides a physical and mental distraction from numerous bad habits and neuroses, ranging from overeating to smoking to anxiety disorders and eating disorders.

6. Regardless of actual physical benefits, knitters overwhelmingly feel calmer, happier, and smarter when they’ve been knitting frequently, and that can count for a lot.

Learn anything new? Just evidence of what you’ve suspected for years? By all means, please share!

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