I messed up, big time, with my crafterly expectations for my time in Australia. While my goals of moving ahead on two behemoth projects were very well-intentioned, I made the foolish mistake of expecting myself to stay entirely faithful to said behemoths.
Reality check: I am not that kind of creative soul.
You see, crafting fits into my life as an anti-stressor, alongside the things I’m already doing. It sets my teeth on edge to sit and not do something with my hands. You’ll notice it right away if you talk to me–I gesticulate like a drunk schizophrenic. Talking is an aerobic activity for me. And while I view my spirited conversational quirks as endearing and entertaining, I don’t much relish the idea of what I would look like doing the same whilst watching the television. Enter the crafting to fill my hands with something useful and keep the windmilling down to a sane level while doing sedentary activities like media viewing, waiting for water to boil, and teaching. The Star Spangled Diamonds Quilt (SSDQ) manages to fit into this “crafting alongside another activity” domain rather well.
Exception: Riding in the car. In order to have the car during the week, I must drive Michael into work. This is a good twenty minutes of sitting time that requires me not to wave my hands about (driver safety!), hence the need for a calming craft project. I assumed that the SSDQ would work in this scenario; but, alas, the roads here are not terribly smooth, which makes sticking a teeny little applique needle through two threads of fabric ONLY kind of hard to do. I stabbed myself in the fingers, I dropped my needle repeatedly, my work was sloppy and uneven, Michael flinched every time I pulled the needle out of the fabric and maybe just a little too close towards his face…sewing in the car was a no. And the Peacock Stole requires silence and concentration; and, most notably, non-movement of my body while knitting.
“That’s OK,” I thought to myself, “I’ll use the time to really talk with Michael, and really take in my surroundings. I’ll probably grow as a person as a result of this so-called ‘inconvenience.'”
I’m married to MICHAEL. I know, kinda obvious, but all my years of crafting in the car while driving along suitably-smooth American roads had made me forget that MICHAEL likes to drive fast. Not dangerously fast, but fast enough that I feel like I’m on the brink of an anxiety attack because he does. not. brake. when I think he should start braking. It sets me on edge, I scare him with my gasping at our impending, bloody deaths, and no one feels like they’ve grown in any positive manner at the end of the journey. He sees nothing wrong with how he drives, so that’s not going to change simply because my middle name is “Caution.” (Oh, the irony of being the one with the speeding ticket in this particular situation…)
I needed a mindless, non-intricate project. Bad. The internet problem still wouldn’t allow for some yarn browsing, and the one-two punch of international shipping restrictions (i.e. no knitting needles for you if we know you’re trying to ship them) and credit card technical difficulties made the entire venture pointless.
Enter the Best Friend.
Oh, sweet, sweet, best friend of mine, how I love you. If this were a long, long time ago, I would pay people to sing prayers on your behalf when you died. Which is a gruesome thought, since it involves your death, but the sentiment is nice. (I’m a historian, and that’s what people did to show gratitude and respect for a long time, OK?)
Denise watched my online neurotic unraveling, and decided to do something about it before I became certifiably insane. She drove on down to her local textile shop in Washington, USA, talked to some yarnies about my spiral of descent, and walked out with yarnie-approved sock yarn and correctly-sized needles, which she then mailed to me on the other side of the world. The woman is pure gold.
Not gonna lie, I actually cried when I opened that package. Not full-out ugly crying, but some definite “Dude, why’s your nose running?” kind of crying. And then I ripped into that skein of yarn like a reformed vegetarian tears into their first filet mignon.
Oh, sweet, soothing, self-striping stockinette stitch. I can feel my body relaxing whenever I pick these up and start working. Oh, balm to my soul. The thrill of the mindless caressing of yarn that turns into plain vanilla socks. I love it. I love it, I love it, I love it. Deep, from-the-bones, sigh of relief LOVE IT.
Which is more than I can say for my son, who prefers playing Plants Vs. Zombies for his personal relaxation:
|Thirty seconds later he was in a heap on the ground, sobbing because he can’t beat whatever level he’s on at the moment. I do not understand the lure of video games.|
Now I have a mindless project to keep my hands happy as I sit in the car and consciously avoid imagining our fiery demise. It’s also nice to take out upon the deck and put in a few rounds while decompressing after a long day of homeschooling.
So beautiful, so delightful.