The benefits of complicated

birkin - emma - varnam

Has there ever been a time that you have been more grateful for your crafting habits? I think I would have gone bonkers without the calming rhythm of knitting or crochet. You might have seen a series of quite amusing memes on social media basically pointing out that for craft fans…nothing much has changed…being forced to be indoors is just another opportunity to dedicate time to your yarn stash.

Well that is true. I have probably 3 projects on the go a the moment. My Vintage Virus V stitch blanket (see previous post). I am finishing some new designs for publication. I’m quite excited about them, but it is a slow burn project. My third project has been returning to the Birkin Sweater which I started in the Autumn of 2019.

birkin - emma - varnam

I’ll make a confession. My first run up at this project ended with an epic fail – I was overly optimist about the size… I didn’t do a tension swatch (Bad Emma, Badly Done!) and the yoke turned out tini – tini – tini – tiny….. There was no saving that disaster.

The pattern is made in pure wool and so frogging was not on the cards. The benefit of fairisle knitting in pure wool is that it is sticky – so the pattern doesn’t unravel. The downside of fairisle knitting in pure wool is that is is sticky so the pattern doesn’t unravel….you get my gist. So I started again.

All well and good in the first few weeks of lockdown. My serious day job has required the necessity of working long hours, full of concentration and dedication. The evenings have been shorter and more full of household chores. Everyday, everybody sort of stuff. There has been more time for a bit of baking and our waistlines have suffered the result. But this kind of activity has its joyful distractions.

birkin - emma - varnam

However in the run up to Easter we discovered that we were rather in COVID category and so self-isolation began. I have never been more grateful for fairisle. Complicated stitches, the need to focus, the need to count to flick the yarn rhythmically in a woven pattern is just what the doctor ordered. Craft as a distraction. The sitting, the waiting, the wondering, all eased a little bit by the needle and the hook.

When people wonder if craft will ever die out, I don’t even think twice about it. Of course not. There is always the product of our labours – yes we could buy a jumper, a bag, socks, scarves, a hat. Sometime we do. But often the final product is a happy bi-product. It is the time, the stitching, the thinking, the working out of the problem, the working out of emotion that is far more significant. It’s the difficult musical scale, the kneading of the bread, the fiendish jigsaw…

If in doubt, find something complicated to make and let your thoughts take a break.

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