Why knitting could be the secret ingredient to a better life

I really liked Christina Baker Kline’s piece in the New York Times about why she didn’t use to knit, or garden, or do anything that would keep her from her focus of writing and being a writer. There’s a touching paragraph about her beloved mother, who “moved from one passion to the next like a tornado moving across a flat landscape, sweeping up everything in its path and flinging it aside — astrology, feminist activism, organic gardening.”

“Knitting was no different. For a few years, skeins of yarn piled up in baskets around the house. There weren’t enough humans in my mother’s orbit to wear all the scarves and sweaters and hats she knitted. And then, as suddenly as she started, she lost interest, leaving needles still entwined in half-finished fragments.” writes Christina Baker Kline.

She then goes on to explain the strategy she created for herself to keep her focused on her work: basically writing everyday and not getting involved in activities that would create additional distractions and potentially keep her from her writing.

“When I start a new novel and find myself diverted by domestic activities, many of which I genuinely enjoy, I panic that I will never write another word. So, consciously and unconsciously, I have laid down certain rules for myself. I will not serve lunch to anyone in the middle of a workday. I rarely rearrange my furniture or cabinets; once I find a drawer for something, it stays there. I don’t garden. And I don’t knit.”

Christina then goes on and tells the story of how she did choose to pick up those needles and knit something new, but I can’t help but wonder: am I also procrastinating and not working on my true goals when I sew, knit, crochet or make?

A little. But that’s also a pleasant way to relax and unwind. There’s nothing more relaxing and more peaceful than counting stitches in your head or imagining the construction of a new pattern. It’s not quite meditating, but it’s the closest I got.

What about you? Is your making (be it sewing, knitting, crochet etc.) calming you down or giving you more energy? And why do you make?

  • Really interesting piece- thanks for linking! I’ve often feared that my infatuation with sewing and knitting has destroyed my urge to write. But really, for me, writing is bound up with some weird and unhealthy emotions, and I feel really bad about myself when I’m doing it. It’s almost like it has to come from a place of dissatisfaction or something! So it’s hardly a bad thing if sewing and knitting let me be productive without feeling bad about myself, and let’s be honest- if I really wanted to write, I would make time for it. I make time for sewing and knitting because they bring me joy, and I guess that’s a good thing.

    • I think I know what you mean. And I also think it’s good to do things that make you grow and feel good at the same time. For example I just got a new set ot watercolors, I’m not very good at it, but I really enjoy painting with them 🙂

      I sometimes think that sewing and knitting and making is something we’re already quite good at, or at least satisfied with the level of “good at”, while writing is a deep and infinite subject, much more difficult to conquer or even realise if you’re even close enough to conquer anything.