why do I knit?

My husband really can't understand why I love to knit. When we are having a serious discussion, he gets irritated if I knit. He doesn't believe me that knitting helps me think.

But it does.

Somehow the repetitive movements of my hands puts me into a zone that's hard to get to otherwise. In this zone, I can think clearly, without undue emotion, about any topic that interests me. I've written short stories, articles and poems in my head while knitting in complete quiet and peace.I've thought through knotty problems, generating and testing solutions. I've reasoned out events and behavior that otherwise baffled me.

My nature is so easily excitable and over-sensitive to external stimulation that living with people is a real challenge. I react to every passing sound, smell, sight, touch and taste. You could say I have ADD.

Over the years I've learned how to shut all that out and focus on what I am doing, but I pay a price when I do this. As a teacher, I had to be in that straight-jacket of focus all day long, so that I was not constantly distracted by my students, the temperature of the room, stray sounds, hunger, need to go to the bathroom, etc. I switched into focus-at-any-cost mode so that I could teach my lessons.

The price was a general numbing-down of my personality. It was too great a price, in retrospect.

Knitting is a much gentler, sweeter way to focus my overactive mind. When I knit, I feel soothed and peaceful. My environment doesn't overwhelm me, so I can listen and think with ease.

By the way, washing dishes by hand, sweeping the floor, and cutting hair also put me in this zone. Drawing puts me in a deeper version of the zone, wherein I almost stop thinking, stop absorbing the sensory input around me, and simply exist, like a tree or a flower.

So, yes, I knit to make items that are beautiful and useful. But even if I never completed an item, I would still knit. It keeps me sane.


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