knitnana: Handmade Comforts

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Sunday, February 27, 2011

Handmade Comforts

As many of you know, this is a crummy bug going around. On Friday night, I mentioned on Facebook that I had a sinus infection and antibiotics and was going off to knit. I received a number of replies that included most frequently, "Just finished my 10 days today (yesterday) or even (will finish tomorrow)." It gave me pause. It's so easy to narrow your focus to the point of saying, "me-me-me-me-me is sick, hurting, tired" and forget that everyone else is out there, too, with their own version of the same refrain.

I used to get these bugs frequently but in the past couple of years, partly I know due to quitting smoking 7 years ago (this month!), dropping 50 pounds (almost 1 year ago, now) and increasing my activity (yoga, tho' lately, I can't seem to either feel well enough or have the energy/time/funds available to get to class!), anyway, the point is all these things have conspired together in a happy way to help me avoid this crud...

But not this week. And over this weekend, the possibility of having the energy, or even the desire to do much more than toss a load of clothes in the wash/dryer and run quickly to the grocery for needed supplies (tea, tissues, honey, oranges, chicken for making soup) was totally non-existent. I did not sew. I did not work on anyone's books, not even my own taxes!

I spent a bit of time online, tho' I felt lousy enough that I didn't feel I could make decent small talk on FB, or even add positive thoughts to the Chronic Stitchers group on Ravelry, where I do try hard to participate. Folks with chronic illness have a very hard row to hoe in this world...

No, my world narrowed considerably - there's something going on in Libya, but unlike when Egypt went thru their peaceable revolution, I have not gotten myself glued to the news reports, so other than a brief headline, I know nothing - narrowed to a single focus...tea, crackers, chicken soup, lemon and honey, vaporizer, hot packs, and

handmade comforts. In that photo above, is a comfort shawl from handdyed yarn that I am knitting as a surprise for a friend, a handthrown mug made by a yoga classmate that spoke to me from the swirling lavender/gray with almost a shimmer of gold thru it, bamboo needles (ok, probably not handmade since they're Addis, but they feel natural and handcrafted), a stitch marker from Chronic Stitchers friend, Kim who also made the Treasure Tin the markers are kept in, a fake-leopard throw I made from a couple of remnants of fleece, and a space heater, as warmth is required right now.

It's comforting to know that even feeling this low, I can create something for someone else who is hurting, out of materials that are handcrafted Misty Mountain Blue Ridge Yarn, that the things I prize most of all are those that either have been crafted with me in mind, or by the hands of friends.

These days, filled with hurry, with angry, stressed voices, with hate-filled rhetoric, with crazy actions that shake us to the core, with just not enough time, these days we have to take patches of solace where we can find them, and we have to work to bring kindness and caring back into the world. I think knitters know this better than most. And while planning a big charity event, or sending off a check to support what you believe in, or even, heaven help me, changing your profile photo on FB for the latest craze ("just for one weekend, change your profile to show your support!") are not to be chastised, I think doing something personal with one someone or a few in mind, making it with your own hands, means so much more. It allows you to slow down, make a stitch, think of why you're doing this, breathe, rest, recover, heal...make another stitch...

I think our world needs a ton of healing right now. One of us can't do it alone, but many of us doing one thing, can...

What will you do?


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've been in a similar place of tunnel vision between illness and H&O.

Mostly, I try to bring healing to the world by being a kind voice, a hand extended, a small light in the darkness, when I see the need. Like, I just keep my eyes open for those opportunities. And I try to be brave enough to face the possibility of rejection, and stick my hand out.

That's all. But, it's really been amazing so far.

2:16 PM  
Blogger Plain Jane said...

It's painful to read or listen to the news lately. So much anger/fear out there. I'm finally climbing out of almost two weeks of hacking & coughing. As for comfort & healing, I'm knitting yet another lap robe for the Veterans' Hospital in Ann Arbor. Our K4 group has sent over 150 since we started this project a year ago.

2:45 PM  
Blogger 17th stitch said...

I just try to be nice to people, and donate to the local food bank.

Wanted to specifically congratulate you on 7 years smoke-free... that's awesome and I know from personal experience how hard it is!

4:54 PM  
Anonymous twinsetellen said...

One little thing at a time. I'm not sure there are many other ways to get happily through this life.

5:09 PM  
Anonymous AlisonH said...

Knitting to bring warmth and love into the world comforts the knitter as well; thank you for doing that.

9:41 PM  
Blogger Bonnie said...

I hope you feel better very soon. It's sweet of you to be knitting a comfort shawl for someone else when you are feeling lousy!

9:54 AM  
Blogger Knitting Linguist said...

Yes, yes, yes! I love the way you surrounded yourself with the tangible signs of connection and love - I recognize that, and I think it is truly one of the most healing things you can do. I'm with you on the slow, hand-made things making such a difference in the world. I just finished a sweater for my mom's birthday, and I feel so good about sending that off to her - much better than I'd ever feel about buying something, even though many times that's the thing I do. Take care of yourself, and I hope all the nurturing you're both giving and receiving speeds the healing!

1:21 PM  
Blogger cauchy09 said...

gosh, i hope you feel better soon.

i tend to scour the newspapers/sites for new info. it is intriguing to see such dramatic change generated by The People of a country.

7:59 PM  
Blogger Brenda said...

Excellent strategy!

It's really not that hard to be polite and friendly, in fact, it is actually easier than being angry and offended all the time. Unfortunately, I don't think many people have figured that out.

I used to make a lot of beaded jewelry, but I mostly wear jewelry that was given to me by family and friends. I like the personal connection.

8:21 PM  

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