I was discussing a typical holiday experience with friends the other day over brunch. Most folks have some fond memories of holidays spent at grandma’s house or Aunt whoever’s house, etc etc. Others always found them to be very stressful or even painful. For those that have lost a close relative or friend, the holidays always seem to remind you of their absence.
I realized that I found holidays to be incredibly stressful, even as a kid. Or perhaps even more as a kid. It was the one time each year that I was expected to perform, in a way, and be the bubbly happy child that my parent’s had made me out to be all year long to their relatives and friends. Now if you know me at all, you know that “bubbly” is probably not the best word to describe me. As I was talking with my friends about how stressful the holidays were, I realized that my love of crafting actually started when I was really young. I remember hiding away in a quiet room away from all the family and sewing clothes for my dolls and my teddy bear. I was no master at hand sewing, in fact, I have no idea where I learned such a thing. Maybe my mom had shown me at some point. She is the only one in the family who knows anything about sewing.
(ok, that isn’t true. My dad can actually use a sewing machine. He has an antique Singer that he uses to sew the velcro back onto horse bandages when they rip off. He once called me down to the basement to help him thread the needle of the sewing machine. When I got downstairs, I plopped down and put the thread into the needle, only to be electrocuted. I yelped and Dad laughed and asked what the problem was. I told him that it had shocked me. He said, “Don’t be ridiculous. Get this thing threaded for me!” So I did it again and got shocked again. Now he was almost falling off his chair laughing, and I realized that he knew all along that I was going to get electrocuted. Then he admitted that the machine had an “issue” and was literally electrified. I guess he thought it would be funny to electrocute his daughter. I might have horrible parents.)
Anyway, the sewing kept me busy and probably kept people away from me, which was a godsend to a dark angry 12 year old. I picked up ceramics at one point as well. Fortunately, this requires lots of attention too, and this also managed to keep people away.
This is all kinda funny as I look back. Clearly my craft now (and for the last 10 or so years) has been knitting…something that I describe to customers all day as a “community” sport…something that you can do while you socialize and something that actually breeds chatter and connections with people. I don’t spend holidays with large groups of family anymore, and I don’t even know if I could handle it now if I could get away from the shop. The funny thing is that with this shop, I don’t have to. I guess knitting is sorta keeping me hidden away from the family drama…
Lots of you are running in now looking for quick holiday gifts that you can knit or crochet but just as many are just looking for stress relief and something new and exciting to put on the needles or hook so that it can help you focus away from the bad parts of the holidays and focus on the good. For some reason, wool in your fingers can be so incredibly soothing. I do seem to start a new project every holiday season, knowing that it will be there through any family obligations or holiday parties. This year I started the most soothing thing that I know – entrelac. Man do I love entrelac! Tiny little sections that you can complete in just a few minutes. What isn’t to love about this? I always feel like I have accomplished something, even if I only get to knit for five minutes on it. Over the weekend we got in Noro Silk Garden! I immediately grabbed up this colorway and cast on for an entrelac wrap. I can’t wait to wear this thing. The colors are spectacular. So are you stress stitching this holiday season? If so, what is your go to project for relief?