Unexpected meditation


For Christmas, I’m knitting simple scarves and hats for each of my nephews. I’m using a bulky yarn on large needles so they are knitting up quickly.

I originally started these on US 11. With the yarn I chose, everything was coming out stiff and dense. Not what you want for a scarf that’s supposed to be squishy. With no size 12 on hand, I pulled out the first scarf and cast on again on US 13. The resulting scarf was super warm, thick and perfectly squishy. Plus, they knit up very fast.

When I first began knitting, I was all about the wooden needle. They are pretty. They are grabby. As I was learning to knit, the yarn stayed put until I moved it. This was helpful as I learned how to hold the needles, how to yarn over, increase, decrease and knit in the round.

Soon, however, I was ready to knit faster and I moved to metal needles. They are faster and pointier. The yarn slips easily along the needles. Sometimes too fast, but now that I have more experience I feel more confident fixing mistakes on the fly with the pointier tips. Eventually I planted my flag with Knit Picks, purchasing the full set of Options Interchangeable (plus more tips and lots of cable lengths). I love them.

Last winter I received Christmas money to use towards knitting needs. Along with several sock-size needles, I purchased US 13 and 15 interchangeable tips. But I was enticed by the beautiful wooden Caspian tips and thought I’d give them a try. Since most of 2015 has been knitting socks and lace on smaller needles, this project has been my first opportunity to use them.

They are lovely to use and they’re not as grabby as the wooden or bamboo needles I’ve used in the past. But something unexpected happened while I was knitting one day last week. It was the morning. My husband was driving, the radio was on NPR quietly babbling away and there was a lull in our conversation. I was knitting one of the simple scarves. I realized the acrylic/wool yarn was making this wonderful “whoosh” sound as the yarn slid along the wooden needles.

So I slowed down my knitting.

I looked at the stitches as I knit them.

Watched them form and “whoosh” across the gap.

I did it over and over. I felt my shoulders relax. I was feeling lighter.

I knew knitting helped when I was anxious or need distraction. Really, I know it helps me but so often I’m speeding through my knitting, focusing on what I need to do next in the pattern and racing towards the end. This has been different. The pattern is simple. While I still have to race through (four scarves, four hats, Christmas creeping close), I have still found moments to slow down when life has decided to stress me out and listen to the gentle “whoosh” of the yarn sliding along the needle.

What kind of needles to you love to knit with?

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