Why I Knit (and Spin)

My first socks

There’s a reason that this blog is called “On Pins and Needles.” Not only does it refer to my anxiety and panic attacks, but the title also refers to the activities that keep me calm: knitting and spinning.

I started knitting because I wanted to learn a new hobby. I loved to read and listen to music and to work all kinds of puzzles (Hello PennyPress!), but I was yearning to do something more creative. And at the time, Stitch n’ Bitch was becoming all the rage. Luckily I met someone who loved to knit and taught me how in the break room at work. I didn’t realize that I would come to love knitting not only because of the beautiful yarns and patterns, but also because it was therapeutic . . . in ways I never imagined.

One of the most vivid memories is when I went to an outdoor concert with Lee and his sister and brother-in-law. I was excited because I had never seen Ween before, but nervous because we were away from home in a venue I had never been before and there were going to be a lot of people there. I brought knitting with me to work on while we waited for the show to start.

The show was packed. At first I was fine and was having a great time, but then I started feeling anxious. I didn’t want to ask Lee to leave the concert because he was having a great time, but at the same time I felt trapped. I felt nauseous and my heart was pounding. I was dizzy and had a hard time catching my breath. I told Lee I was going to stand away from the crowd for a bit to get some air.

I found a place by the entrance gate and sat down. Then I pulled the project from my bag and started to knit. There were some curious onlookers, and even one woman who took my picture, but all I cared about was following the pattern. Knit the knits; purl the purls. The methodical winding of yarn around needles and pulling it through over and over. My restless thoughts started to settle. I was able to breathe. My panic attack had passed.

And later on, I had something to show for it: my first pair of socks.

Kromski Sonata

Kromski Sonata

Knitting isn’t a miraculous cure for my anxiety, but it definitely helps calm my nerves now and then.

Spinning I picked up much later. At first I found it very frustrating, but I was told that there would come a time when I would just GET it. And I did.

So now I can sit at my wheel and just watch the fibers pull from my fingers and twist into yarn. It’s mesmerizing, really. And Lee has gotten into the dyeing process, so it’s fun to see how his colors intertwine.

I am truly grateful that I have been introduced to two activities that not only divert my mind from negative and anxious thoughts, but that also create amazingly beautiful things.