There’s a huge difference between projects I do for the joy and challenge of learning, and stuff I do to when I just need to keep my hands busy. But I tend to learn important lessons from busy-work projects, too. So as long as my hands are busy, I don’t feel like Henry David Thoreau was talking about me: “As if you could kill time without injuring eternity.”
When my brain is full of worries or when I’m not feeling well, mindless knitting is the perfect companion to binge watching cable shows on DVDs from the library. So I end up with things like a wide piece of knit fabric, and the fun challenge of finding a way to make it into something.
This hat started as a panel knit mostly in stockinette stitch in hit-and-miss colors from whatever yarn was within reach. If you look closely, you’ll see the rows don’t go around my head but up-and-down. I threw in some purl rows to give it some texture and vertical lines. If I’d really been planning to make a hat, I would have included a purl row to make a neat turn when I folded it. But I wasn’t and I didn’t. Instead, I went ahead and folded it so I have a double layer around my ears. Then I used cross-knit looping on the edge to give it a tidy finish. There are two other bands of cross-knit looping higher up, and cross-knit looping covers the seam where I sewed the panel into a hat. And the crown, which you can’t see in the selfie (my arms are not long enough), is Broden stitch nalbinding, worked after I seamed the panel together. I wanted to see how it would work to combine techniques. It worked, but the pick-up looked messy. You’ll have to take my word for it, because I covered up the messy bit with one of those bands of cross-knit looping. When I’m stitching for comfort, I don’t stop to take pictures.
Last weekend I took some time to plan looping projects I want to work on over the next year. Or, to be more accurate, I made a list of things I want to make, prioritized by what I can learn from each project, pulled out a bin of yarns, sorted yarn into bags, matched project ideas to bags, crossed unmatched items off the list — and then started a small project that wasn’t even on the list.
I wanted to practice a two-color variation on cross-knit looping, and my sorting had turned up two small balls of yarn that looked perfect for the challenge. My sorting also turned up the lucet I bought last June and forgot about. So I decided to make a bag that would hold the lucet and a little yarn to keep ready for traveling.
I’ve spent too much time delayed in airports with my head full of aging parent worries to not have calming handwork already packed. And I suspect it’s more wounding to eternity to play solitaire on my phone than to make shoelaces or friendship bracelets to give away.