Here Knitty-Knitty: Calmed to Distraction

Calmed to DistractionBefore I began knitting, I would just wait in line. I’d sit in the car and stare at the dashboard waiting for the teller to hand back my bank bag. I’d pace and pace and pace in the waiting room, snapping at innocent nurses coming to give me news. I would just sit and watch a movie.

I spent a lot of time frustrated because I was made to wait around and do nothing. Do nothing? I had tons of stuff to do: chores, errands, telephone calls. I didn’t have time to wait around. Didn’t they know I’d never get those moments back?

I tried meditation. I attempted to clear my mind as I waited in my car at the bank. The tellers giggled when the bank drawer roared back out to my window and I made a startled squeak.


I tried carrying a book everywhere. Deep in the midst of the reveal of the murderer, I annoyed the entire line at the post office when the clerk called and I didn’t move.


Finally, realizing that I had another trip to the hospital in my future, I packed a bag full of my latest knitting project before I bundled my partner into the car and headed over. My father’s Christmas sweater accompanied me through the pre-surgery consultation when I sent my one true love into that cold sterile room without me. Stitch after stitch comforted me while I waited for the doctor to give me an update. Row upon row gathered in my lap until her bed was rolled into the room. I sat by her side and knitted patiently each day and was able to maintain a calm attitude throughout, even when the doctor tried my patience.

Epic Win!

I need something to distract me and keep me productive at the same time. I love the way I can create something amazing stitch by stitch. I love having a little project by my side.

Maybe it comes from my early need for my blankie. I called it a “gee-gee.” To my mother’s dismay, I carried my gee-gee everywhere.

Now the sock is my gee-gee. You’ll find me sitting in my car at the bank knitting away on a sock, juggling my double pointed needles and zipping along the rows. Post office lines are harder, but in the winter I can usually slip my little plastic bag filled with yarn and needles into my coat pocket for a quick stitch or two while I’m in line. Friends now understand that movies are measured in knitted inches instead of hours.

You can use any small project for this sort of distraction. People knit hat after hat for the troops. Our local knitting group has been creating fingerless mitts to sell at the Bust of Steamboat. Scarf upon scarf pile up friends and family.

My favorite just happens to be socks. This project uses tiny yarn and tiny needles, meaning it can be stashed anywhere. One lies in the bottom of my large purse/knitting bag. One lives in the glove compartment of my car. Right now, I’m wondering if I left that purple one in the pocket of my winter coat.

Socks go everywhere. I can slip it into the movie theater. I’ve pulled them out during concerts and plays. One accompanied me to the deck at Sweetwater to watch my partner’s ex-wyfe sing outdoors.

Socks never get very big. Even the biggest almost completed sock can still be stuffed into a corner of a bag or slipped into a pocket.

Plus, if the need arises, socks are a great canvas for all sorts of new techniques. You can practice your lacework, throw down with cables, or even start stranding some different colors and take the whole thing up a notch.

Socks are my personal go-to project. If I want to start something new but don’t know what, I’ll wind up a skein of sock yarn and just start stitching. I keep a lovely stash of sock yarn all set for potential projects. (The list grows every day.) At Christmas time, I grab worsted weight yarn and cast on slipper socks for any last minute boyfriends that show up with the nieces.

My socks soothe my soul and clothe my feet. They make great gifts. They start interesting conversations. Socks keep me calm.

I think that’s my partner’s favorite part. Or maybe it’s the handmade goodness snuggling her feet.


Originally published in the Valley Voice, October 2012


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