Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Soft & simple

The yarn - 100 percent acrylic mohair type, Jiffy maybe? I lost the label a very long time ago.
US 10 needles.
Seed stitch.

I began this simple scarf last fall at a monthly meeting for my writers group. I'm not good at sitting still, and I never have been. So I have various no-brainer projects in progress for those times when my brain is engaged but my hands need something to do. Otherwise, my fingers will fidget, tap, twiddle, and otherwise annoy the more controlled and self-contained persons seated near me.

This weekend, my writers group had its annual retreat. That's four workshops, hours of open critiquing, and even more hours of unstructured time during which we mostly talk about writing. That's a lot of idle time for my fingers. So I knitted - lots.

I also had the opportunity to test a theory about how my brain operates. I've suspected for a long time that knitting makes me more thoughtful and controlled. When my hands are busy and a portion of my mind is monitoring the stitches and the pattern, the rest of my brain slows down just enough to be carefully considerate instead of impulsive. I don't pop off at the mouth with the first thought that enters my mind. Instead, I allow myself a deep breath, an instant to switch gears and focus fully on what I'm about to say. Trust me when I say this is a very good thing. The first thought that comes to my mind is often not the best one -- in fact, it sometimes makes no sense at all. (This would be why I'm a writer and not in radio!)

I've always known knitting calmed me. Now I know that knitting helps me focus. I haven't figured out why, but for now it's enough to know that it just does.

Any thoughts?


Blogger Lori's Light Extemporanea said...

It's a psychological fact that your brain processes what it sees and hears at much higher speeds than it is delivered. In other words, while you are seeing and hearing everything going on, your brain is processing it and thinking up things for you to say and do.

So, when you are knitting (or quilting), part of your brain is dealing with that and that gives the rest of your brain the ability to focus on what's going on without rushing to what it's going to say or do.

That's my theory, anyway!

10:53 PM  
Blogger Kenyetta said...

I agree with you. Some days I just have to knit, it makes me feel so much better. It also depresses me a little when I can't (or don't feel like) knit.

8:00 AM  
Blogger LauraP said...

lori - I like your theory. Just remembered the bonus, too. All that knitting staved off the intense aching I usually have in my hands when I vary from my usual activities. Essentially, if I'm awake, my fingers are moving - hand-milking, gardening, lots of keyboard time. Knitting all weekend must have been sufficient imitation.

8:38 AM  
Blogger kshotz said...

It's completely true! Keeping your hands busy helps your mind process things going on around you. I've known people who knit during church (I served as a Lutheran pastor for 13 years) and they always had the best thoughts, questions or reflections on the sermon, etc. It's like they were hearing with a completely different set of ears than anyone else! Over the years I noticed too in watching people care for sick or dying loved-ones that the people who were most calming, serene and helpful to the person were the gals with something in their hands (knitting, crochet, cross-stitch, etc.) I always found that fascinating!


9:56 AM  

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