Saturday, August 27, 2005

Knitting as Therapy

Get a group of knitters together, in real- or cyberspace, and someone will mention that knitting is therapeutic. I've said it myself. My standard line is that knitting is cheaper than therapy. Except, given the amount of yarn I buy, I could be PLENTY screwed up; I could be getting a lot of therapy for this money.

I'm wondering if it really is therapeutic, though. Last night was my weekly knitting group. Great women. Great talk. Great knitting projects -and I almost finished TWO projects, which is something like a personal record. But it occurred to me in the middle of the event that, whatever your personal issues, they're right there waiting for you in your knitting.

I tend to be a strange combination of intense and driven on the one hand, and scattered and over-committed on the other. (Yeah, it's confusing to me, too.) Sure enough, I knit a little tightly. I have too many started projects for my own emotional equanimity. In my personal and professional lives, I'm good at the beginnings of things. In my knitting, there's a critical point in a project (right around the second sleeve) when the siren song of a new project starts to get really loud. I'm a big picture girl, rather than a detail person. And in knitting, I'll leave a little mistake rather than rip. If it's a sock and the mistake is going to be in my shoe, who cares? If it's a sweater and the mistake is under my arm? Well, if someone sees that, they're too close and need to back away.

Another woman in the group has been making piles of yarn for a fair isle sweater for weeks and weeks. There IS a perfect color combination out there, apparently, and she is such a perfectionist that she can't start the project until it's discovered. Another woman is vey nervous about starting new projects. (I should have this problem.) Sure enough, she casts on too tight. Nothing else is too tight. Just the cast on. Another woman is an editor. Not surprisingly, she'll spend a huge amount of time at the beginning of a project, researching the exactly right cast on, the perfect yarn, the exact measurements.

None of this is pathology. Actually, it's delightful. People in all their magnificent variety. But the possibility remains that knitting is just revealing my issues rather than fixing them.

Now, if I just had money left for therapy. Alas....


Michael said...

I'm guessing two days without posting means you're packing or already on the way to head down toward New Orleans to help with the survivors? If so, be safe and good luck. We'll keep your seat by the fire until you get back.

Andrea Rusin said...

I'm still here. Actually I was playing all day yesterday and didn't have time to blog. But tonight I'm heading out. First to Memphis and then into the fray.

Michael said...

Can't blame you for playing yesterday. It was a lovely day. Be safe, and give a shout when you're back.