Hi, craftsters, I don't want to get a reputation as the Thursday mushball poster (kinder, gentler resolutions, anyone?), but yesterday I stumbled across a really lovely op-ed piece from the New York Times I wanted to share with you. Trust me, have a hanky handy. What struck me most was when the author talked about how knitting lifted the weight of the sadness she carried around. It did the same for every person in the room at her local knitting shop's knitting circle:
All of us, I knew, felt calmer and lighter. Whatever weighed on us — our personal sorrows, our financial woes, our uncertain futures — had temporarily vanished as we knitted.I certainly haven't lost a five-year-old daughter like the author has, but I have found immense comfort in crafting. 2010 was not a kind year for me or our extended family, but I found many tribulations easier to bear with yarn in my hands. Whether I was distracting myself with a hands-on project, dreaming of new patterns or just sorting through my stash, I felt liberated from the burdens I carried around. When I crafted and focused on the task at hand, I experienced what psychology experts call "flow." Here's what Wikipedia has to say on the topic:
– Ann Hood, "Crafting as Recovery"
I remember reading about this theory almost a decade ago when we ran a story on engagement. The fellow who proposed the theory wrote a whole book about it:
At the time, I was unfocused and at loose ends, and the concept of being totally engaged in anything was a little foreign. I wasn't exactly known for my attention span. But, in the last couple of years, crafting has opened up a whole new world of concentration for me. I find such joy in making and creating that hours fly by unnoticed. I have even worked through a Saturday, not realizing I'd missed lunch (I never miss lunch) until my growling stomach told me it was time to stop for dinner. This blissful concentration helped me survive the darker days of 2010. Every stolen hour was a piece of my day that contained more hope than sadness, more satisfaction than disappointment. So tonight, as I head home on a dark bus along a dark stretch of highway, I'll work. Not on any overflow from my desk, but on the soft purple cabled sweater in my bag. I'll knit and the darkness will disappear. I'll dream of warmer, brighter days ahead.