8. Knitting for Mental Health

The first month of the year is complete! I don’t know about you, but to me, January has felt like it lasted a century! My day job has been crazily busy and I’m honestly worn out. It has really made me think about how much my crafts, knitting in particular, make me feel.

I knit every day. Sometimes there isn’t much time, but I still manage a few rows of something. I like my day to start with a bit of knitting before work and I know for certain that this starts my day in a calm way.

On Wednesdays, I start work earlier and don’t usually have the time for knitting and I can always feel a marked difference in the way I feel. I’m quite an anxious person; a worrier. Sometimes, I have to remind myself to breathe. Sitting down with some knitting is a focused activity that can’t be rushed and this means I relax.

If I’m knitting something simple, I find my mind wandering but usually this means I am able to think things through and find solutions to things that are nagging at me. If I’m knitting something more complicated, I have to fully focus on it and this takes all other niggling thoughts from my mind.

I find this absolutely fascinating! What do you think? Do you find craft work helps create a sense of calmness and relaxation?

In Finished Project news, I have my January socks! If you remember, my goal is to knit myself 12 pairs of socks this year. I absolutely love this first pair. I’m using the Basic Socks pattern by Winwick Mum (adapted for my feet) and the yarn is Truly Hooked Sparkle Sock in the colourway ‘Show Yourself’.

I made Faye some mitts using the Homebody Mitts pattern from Curious Handmade’s Knitvent 2019 and knit with Stylecraft Special DK in Gold. This was a really quick project and they are so squishy. Faye has to leave the house really early in the morning to catch the bus for school. It’s still dark and she gets really cold but wanted to keep the mitts I made her in December for best. She always wears her Hufflepuff scarf to school, so these match really well and she can still get her bus pass ready without taking the mitts off.

I have almost managed to knit myself a pair of mittens. These were completely unplanned. I was just scrolling Instagram one lunch time and happened up a free pattern by Tin Can Knits: ‘The World’s Simplest Mittens’ and I had a beautiful skein of Aran yarn from Amy at Stranded Dyeworks in my stash, in the colourway ‘Cornerstone’. It was a match made in heaven and I cast on that evening!

I was hoping to have cast these off before the end of January but it hasn’t happened.

Knitting all these mittens and socks lately has opened my eyes to how comfortable I have become with using double-pointed needles.

I also have another new work in progress to chat about. The urge to cast on has been strong! I have had to restrain myself a bit. This project has been waiting for a while and my lovely mum bought me the yarn for Christmas. I have cast on the Elton cardigan by Joji Locatelli and I’m knitting it in Drops Alpaca (colour 0501) and Drops Kid-silk (colour 10).

I have also managed a bit of sewing and cross stitch but I’ll discuss that more next time as I don’t want to show you tiny bits of progress (or it will get boring very quickly!)

In baking news, I have been focusing my efforts on bread making. I would love to be able to make all our bread but being a novice, I’m very far away from this scenario. It’s very much about being organised (my word for the year!) and sadly, I’m not there yet. I’m trying to be kind to myself about that and remember it’s a process. I’m always telling my daughter not to be hard on herself and that she shouldn’t expect perfection when she starts something new. Skills take time to build and perseverance is key! And even though I know all this, I still find it hard not to be cross with myself when things go wrong or I don’t manage to fit something in that I had planned. I’m working on it though.

My lovely girl drew me a picture of Dory from ‘Finding Nemo’ to put up in my office at work. She said whenever I get stressed, just to look at it and tell myself ‘Just keep swimming.’

Perhaps, it should also be ‘Just keep knitting’ for good mental health.


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