While I’m knitting, I have a lot of time to think. Lately, I have been thinking about why we knit. What is it that drives us to yarn?
Knitting and I have had a on-again, off-again relationship throughout my life. It took a little while for us to find our stride, but now that we are happily in a stable relationship I have noticed that I feel way more even. On my last break from knitting, I would pretty regularly create problems in my head that didn’t exist. I was constantly worried someone was mad at me, or that I had forgotten something important. Lately, nothing like that has crossed my mind.
I took a course on animal ethics at university. It was a super interesting course that I thoroughly enjoyed. One of the things we talked about was stress in domestic animals. Most animals are wired to be busy at least part of the time, usually by looking for food. If we prevent them from performing natural behaviours, it stresses them out. Turns out when animals are stressed out, they engage in self-destructive behaviour. Some examples of this are cribbing in horses or flank-sucking in dogs. There’s all sorts of research going into ways to keep animals entertained so they don’t hurt themselves.
So why don’t we ever recognize this in ourselves? It’s the same thing. I was bored, I engaged in self-destructive behaviour. I created situations and fed anxiety until I was a nervous mess. Some people use other ways to self-destruct, like over-eating. Whatever your chosen method of self-harm, keeping your mind and hands busy prevents you from using it. Mine was simply overthinking, and with knitting patterns and techniques to think about I wasn’t allowed the opportunity.
My husband’s Nana religiously buys lotto tickets and never wins. Her attitude about it is great, though. She figures that if buying a $5 lotto ticket lets her dream about what she would do with the money, she has gotten her money’s worth. I always say when we are buying yarn we aren’t just buying spun fibre, we are buying dreams. Imagining what we are going to do with that yarn is sometimes even more fun than actually making things.
So, go forth and knit! Plan those projects, buy that yarn. Think about your brains as children. If we keep the children happy, they don’t get themselves into trouble. Give ’em lots of things to play with, mmkay?