I Love Yarn Day 2015

Today is the 5th year celebrating I Love Yarn for everyone who knits, crochet, spin, weave etc.

I learnt both to knit and crochet as a little girl. Knitting never really “clicked” for me the way crocheting did. One of my first projects was a terribly misshapen horse, but later on, with experience, I crocheted several baby cardigans and other smaller projects.

Hidden storage pouf / floor cushion (stuffed with spare blankets and towels)

Hidden storage pouf / floor cushion (stuffed with spare blankets and towels)

Since getting ill I’ve picked up crafting again, on more than an occasional basis. I find that on days when I struggle with terrible brain fog and can’t think straight, I can still work on more basic projects. Other days, while I might be in a lot of physical pain, tackling more challenging projects can help distract me from the pain.

Freya gets a bit cold after her hair cuts, so I've been making her coats to wear outside

Freya gets a bit cold after her hair cuts, so I’ve been making her coats to wear outside

Depending on which medications I’m on, and how well they’re working, I have days when I can work for hours. Unfortunately I also have many days when the arthritis in my wrists and hands limit me to 5-10 minutes at a time, no more than half an hour a day.

Freya gets a bit cold after her hair cuts, so I've been making her coats to wear outside

Freya gets a bit cold after her hair cuts, so I’ve been making her coats to wear outside

My mum recommended I take up knitting again. It uses the joints in a different way to crocheting, so switching between the two gives me more hours of enjoyable yarn time. I taught myself to knit again – continental style – and even decided to purl using the “Norwegian” or “Scandinavian” method – supposed to be more difficult to learn, but faster in the long run. Plus it’s what I was taught as a kid.

My first attempt at knitting in 15 years

My first attempt at knitting in 15 years

As mentioned the other day, I frequently listen to podcasts and audiobooks while working – for me it’s the perfect way to learn and create simultaneously.

One of my favourite things about my recent yarn obsession is the ability to create things. I love learning the details of these crafts (and I must admit, I am also considering learning to spin) and watching the end results take shape before my eyes. It has been a real confidence booster for me.

The beginning of a lace shawl

The beginning of a lace shawl

I know, we are human beings, not human doings.
But it’s still damn difficult to go from being someone who was a bit of an overachiever, to leading a  life where trying to look after my health and get better has become my full time job. So much of my identity has always been in learning and sharing my knowledge (and I still want to do both), but currently any extended screen time leads to severe headaches and migraines. I’m working on finding ways around that – for example, this post was first drafted by hand, but it’s still a severe limitation.
Knitting and crocheting, however, this, this I can still do. And I can turn yarn into real, tangible objects – even objects with purpose and use.

Crafting has also become a way for me to connect with people – even when I can’t physically be with them. One of my sisters and I are doing a crochet-along together. Working with similar colours we are crocheting squares for an afghan. We work on the same squares at the same time, which enables us to help and assist each other if we run into any problems.

The first afghan square (still needs to be blocked and ends weaved in)

The first afghan square (still needs to be blocked and ends weaved in)

For me, working with my hands has also been a way to relearn skills, get back to my roots and foster a real sense of independence, self reliance, pride and appreciation of the things we put into our words. It is truly knowing and appreciating the difference between the pair of the softest cashmere socks that fit you perfectly, and the pack of 5 you bought for a couple of bucks.
It is something that addresses our fast fashion culture of buy and throw away after only a few wears. It is about truly understanding the effort that goes into creating these products, if we want to truly honour and support both our environment and our fellow human beings.

Do you get crafty with yarn? When and how did you learn, and what is your favourite thing about it? If not, do you want to learn?

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