Monday 24 August 2015

Knitting as a lifeline

Most days this is what knit time looks like. The kids making a cubby house and I'm keeping and eye on them.

This month I've found it hard to stay on top of the blog a little bit and it has not really been caused by any extra things such as illness which really makes my absence from the blog no excuse. 

What have we been doing? We have been more active with hospitality and making more effort to catch up with people we want to build friendships with, I have been keeping things going at home as the Hubs has been holding down the fort at church while his boss - the Vicar - was on long service leave and I started trying to host a midweek crafting time for some mummy friends who find it hard to have some 'me' time when surrounded by the kids all day*. Then there is the usual comings and goings of kinder drop off and pick ups, mainly music leading, playgroup attending and keeping the house stocked with food. 

Yes, our days have been pretty full but I have been trying to look at it as being 'productive' rather than being busy. I try not to complain about being busy because I know that everything we do is for a purpose and we have chosen to take these things on rather than being forced to do things. In my heart I know that all our efforts are done through God's strength and I hope that we bring glory to His kingdom when we do it. I know that my rest will come at the end.

Amidst all this productivity what little time I get to sit down I have been picking up the needles and working through a few exciting projects. I did my first test knit for my friend Jenny who self publishes her patterns under the name JCL - created cuddles. I loved her pattern and can't wait to see it released and I can talk about the project in full when that happens. I've also been knitting a couple of items which I intend to donate to the silent auction for a church fundraising dinner in September. Then I also knit a thank you cowl for the friend who kindly put us up in Bendigo when we went to the Sheep and Wool show last month. I have many things that I could be writing finished object files for but just couldn't find the motivation and mind space to blog.

Then last week I read Felicia Semple's post on her 'The Craft Sessions' blog titled "Craft in the Middle of Motherhood". The post just made complete sense to me and it reflected a lot of the thoughts I have had about why I knit and how it has helped me stay positive through parenting and life trials. Felicia talks about "Knitting as a way to find a little headspace. Knitting as a way to find a little calm. Knitting as a way to be a better parent." When I read that it was like a thought that was plucked out of my own brain. 

I had recently discussed with my husband about how knitting has helped me be much more positive and I have coped better with the challenges of life because I knit. I mused at how having a project to work on has been my respite after a long day with the kids and it is something I look forward to picking up when I've finished putting them to bed. I also don't get so affected and wound up with the little frustrating moments and can approach those moments with a more relaxed manner because I think, "Once I've dealt with this I can get back to my knitting."

Don't get me wrong, I am not an absent parent because I'd rather be knitting than dealing with discipline issues. I am not shirking on my parenting but instead I am not letting those challenges get to me personally and getting upset the way I used to when my kids are behaving inappropriately. Instead of going into fight mode with my kids I can approach situations calmly and parent more objectively. Ultimately, I am probably more present because quite honestly, if I wasn't thinking about knitting I would probably be distracted by facebook instead. Pulling out my knitting while my kids play together at the playground or during my son's swimming lesson is a lot more productive than staring at my smart phone for the duration of those activities. I take it as a chance to slow down and just enjoy the activity and the process.**

Over the past 12 months I have seen articles about how crafting can help people relieve stress and can also benefit the brain by encouraging memory exercise and problem solving challenges. There has been much written about how crafting promotes mindfulness because the repetitive actions are very meditative and soothing. One article in The Herald Sun even referred to young women who craft as embracing the "inner nana". I am totally fine with being called a "nana" or granny because I also love how crafting is helping me connect with a lifestyle that is not so common in this consumer, "buy everything" culture. I love making things for my kids to wear rather than heading to the shops every season and buying clothes that don't often last as long.

Another reason I am a knitting mumma is because I want to model this behaviour and attitude to my kids. I want them to see that there is another option to buying and this is my chance to expose them to the maker culture.

So, where am I headed with these thoughts today? To be honest, I'm not completely sure. I just felt like my brain wanted to get these thoughts out there. 

To my friends who read this blog and often think that they want to take up a craft but feel like it's an enormous challenge that they can't attempt, well you have to start somewhere and it doesn't take much to end up with an item that you have made with love, that will be received with love.

So, let's get crafting my friends.

If you're interested in reading more about the benefits of crafting then you might start with these articles.
Link to the Herald Sun article here: "Young women embrace inner nana..."
An interesting piece on the benefits of crafting: "Why Crafting is Great for your Brain..."
The Craft Yarn Council's article about how good knitting is for your health: "The Truth about Knitting and Crochet..."

*More about that initiative another day

**This is a personal thought and not a judgement on other people's habits.

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