I am now eight weeks post surgery and I find myself being a little more active each day. I’m spending less time just sitting and feeling unwell which is a good indicator that I am improving. When I normally have down-time, I am quite productive. It has been a different situation lately and it’s felt like a physical slog to need so much rest with no inclination or desire to do anything, let alone think.
I’m happy that my oomph seems to be returning slowly, and with my additional energy this week I have been on a huge stash dive and made a concentrated effort on my knitting commitments as well as knitting for pleasure.
Knitting for oneself, or working on a project without a “purpose” or idea of an intended recipient is often referred to as selfish knitting, and I hate that term.
I think it is really important to have a hobby or interest that gives you time for yourself, even if you are not actually alone in doing or attending whatever your chosen interest is. It might be that the pastime is watching your local football team play every Saturday, or singing in a rock choir, or climbing mountains.
Does anyone consider that to be selfish – that you go and spend time for yourself, singing with a group of like-minded people or that you take yourself off for some bracing mountain air?
My time spent knitting for pleasure helps my brain tune down a gear. If I am working on something rhythmic with a simple repeating pattern I find it a great exercise in mindfulness and self-care.
I start to process the thoughts of the day into some kind of system, weeding out the things I really don’t need to waste my energy on, and I prioritise everything else. I envision how plans might turn out and add things to my mental to-do list.
It’s a time when I let my tendency to over think and catastrophise subside, and I tell myself to stop and focus on each individual stitch as it passes through my fingers.
If I’m completely honest, a lot of the time the mindfulness goes out of the window and I just sit and day-dream that I’m sat on a beach somewhere warm!
None of the above is selfish. You should never feel guilty, or be made to feel guilty by someone else about spending time on yourself, creating some space to breathe and to take stock of your day.
You weren’t given the opportunity and ability to develop this amazing skill and craft to just do it for other people or to not allow yourself to gain pleasure from your work. There is no knitting rule book with a commandment “thou shalt be selfless with thy knitting”.
This also goes for what I call “commitment knitting”. These are the projects and time you have promised to other people, either professionally if you take commissions, or just because your friend loves hand knitted socks and you said you’d make them a pair.
If I’m working on a complex lace shawl, OK, perhaps I don’t day-dream of the beach or think about the shopping list. But I do get drawn into the work and the pattern, and it is still something which I find peaceful. So yes, I have committed that time to someone else, but the benefit to me is more than just the gift of giving, or financial reward.
Is there a moral to my ramblings this afternoon? Well, yes, if you like to look for the meaning, there is.
Grab your WIP, even if it is for someone else, and unravel your mind.