This pandemic is hurting people all over the world right now. When it comes to weathering this storm, Alexa and I are among the most privileged, and we know that many people are suffering more severe hardships and losses. It was this knowledge that inspired us to donate some of our sales to local charities last month, and we are grateful for the ability to help where we can.
While I work to remain aware of my privilege, I must admit to feeling waves of stress and anxiety wash over me these past months. Life’s uncertainties have come into sharp focus, and the sense of control I had has completely evaporated. My family’s usual routine has been upended altogether, and we’re all a bit off balance.
With my routine turned on its head, the constants I previously assumed are no longer reliable. The future has lost its trustworthiness. I know that trustworthiness was an illusion, but frankly, it was a comfortable one. It allowed me to feel comfortable taking risks, making plans, and working creatively.
Beyond that, I miss some simple things that brought me joy before. I miss seeing my friends in the flesh. I miss dreaming up new designs in the myriad of excellent coffee shops within 10 minutes of my apartment. I miss feeling the hum and excitement of Edinburgh.
With many aspects of my life uncertain, I am yearning for some stability. These are not easy times to be sure, but knitting is easy, right? I know how to do that – and that’s a little something I can control.
Finding Comfort in Simplicity
Usually I’m more of a designer than a knitter. It’s the challenging side of the craft – the stitch-by-stitch hunt for new ideas, motifs, and methods – that excites me. But now that I’m ankle-deep in a rising tide of uncertainty, I feel like I’ve become a knitter once again. With my mind, body, and emotions processing so many changes, I’ve been reaching for knits that are simple. For me, it’s comforting to work on a project that I can see the end of –something I know will come out beautifully.
With that in mind, a Beloved bonnet for a new baby in the family was a perfect starting point.
This project reminds me of a cherished children’s book you are happy to read over and over again. You begin with an i-cord, increase following an easy-to-memorize pattern, reach the turning point before you know it, and then decrease back to end with the other i-cord. The second half of the knit seems to accelerate as the rows become ever shorter, culminating in a sweet conclusion with only two little ends to weave in. You can find all the techniques for this bonnet in our in-depth Beloved tutorial.
Once I finished the first bonnet, I couldn’t bring myself to stop. I used leftover sock-weight yarns, held doubled to get gauge. Beloved is designed in DK weight yarn, but if you work in worsted, aran weight (or holding sock-weight doubled as I have), it comes out just a little bit bigger.
After I had my fill of bonnets, I knit a couple pairs of The World’s Simplest Mittens. With Scotland’s on-again/off-again spring weather, my kids often wear their mittens well into May, and I was happy to have more on hand.
With these mittens done, I pulled out some beautiful handspun yarn and got started on a simple, striped Flax sweater for Neve.
While everything seems more out-of-control and out-of-the-ordinary than I am used to – and while I’m on the phone with loved ones half a world away – these kinds of simple, trusted projects bring me comfort and help me bear my fears a bit more bravely.
Are You Reaching for Your Needles?
Are you finding comfort in needles and yarn these days?
What projects are you most drawn to for stress relief in a sea of uncertainty?