Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Comfort Knitting

Memorial Day weekend was a bit of a strain for me. I'm not a social person. My husband is. So when he invites people over (and he's always the one who does the inviting; I avoid social engagements like the plague), I acquiesce, sometimes graciously (mostly not), and find ways to deal with the noise, mess, and uncomfortable sense of obligation for other people's comfort and enjoyment. I am reasonably adept at social interaction (a legacy of my previous career in diplomacy); I'm not going to curl up in a fetal position under the dining table at a dinner party. But for me, and most naturally introverted people, it is work. I need time alone to recover and recharge my batteries, and when I don't get it, I get pretty stressed out.

Friday evening we went to my parents' house to do some chores and make dinner. With my mom's arm broken and my dad unable to get around, they're having a bit of trouble taking care of some basic needs. Saturday was the usual frenzy of kid activities and many small neighbors racing through my house brandishing Nerf guns and shrieking with excitement. Sunday my grown stepson and his girlfriend came over, and more of their friends soon showed up to hang out and watch movies. They were still at it when I went to bed at 1:00 am, and stepson and girlfriend spent the night and stayed through the morning. By the time the guests arrived for our cookout on Monday afternoon, I was pretty much running on empty.

Fortunately, I had some special yarn put away for just this sort of situation.

This is heavy worsted weight, hand-dyed, spun silk. I have about 500 yards of it, scored from Destash a year or so ago. I intended to use it for a shrug, and in fact had one started, but it was a pattern I was winging, and I've since forgotten the lace pattern I made up and even the general concept for the shrug. But I found this pattern on Ravelry, so I ripped what I had and started over.

This is comfort knitting at its finest. The pattern is simple, but not boring. The yarn is delicious--thick and spongy and as smooth as...well...silk. The color is as refreshing as ice water. I snuck away several times to sit by myself and knit a few rows. It definitely took the edge off. I felt a little like a junkie, sneaking off to the powder room for a hit. Monday night, after everyone had left and we had finished shoveling out the house, I surrendered to the sensual pull of the silk and knitted with true abandon.

I'm about halfway through now, and already feeling a little sorry to see this project coming to an end. But summer is coming, and with it, all of the barbeques and picnics and pool parties we always have, so I guess I'm going to be needing some new comfort knitting in short order. Any suggestions?

15 comments:

The A.D.D. Knitter said...

You and my husband are so alike--he needs to disappear during parties just to be able to deal!

How about me new fave pattern--the "Eye of Partridge" shawl?

Senja said...

Oh that is pretty yarn and a fun looking pattern.

Have you made My So called Scarf? Its fun and fast! Definately comfort knitting.

Talea said...

I'm the exact same as you are. I wrote a post about being an introvert and tried to explain to people that I'm not rude, I just really need some time alone to refuel. It TIRES me to be around lots of people.
Which is probably why I love knitting like I do. Nobody talks to the bitch with the needles!

Tammy said...

Oh! I can so feel your pain! Fortunately my husband is in the midst of some construction on the house so we won't be able to host any BBQ's this summer. Sigh.

The shrug will be gorgeous!

stitchywitch said...

You are like me! Others never really understand that need to refuel do they? Your shrug will be really pretty, I adore that yarn color!

TheBlackSheep said...

I'm glad I'm not the only one who finds it a chore to have people over. It's probably a good thing that you do have someone to force you to socialize though. I have no one to do that for/to me and while comfortable, I'm not always sure it's a good thing.

Love that yarn! What a nice colour. Whatever you do next, continue with cool colours. They're the closest thing to comfort in summer!

Lydee said...

I'm with you. I enjoy my quiet places.

sophanne said...

My anxiety level rose as I read your weekend activities. Mostly when you said you wouldn't crawl under the table in a fetal position I wondered "why not? Seems like the thing to do."

I'm at a bit of a knitting "what to do next" moment myself. i struggle between easy comfort knitting and the desire to be challenged. I might try the shrug. I've got some yarn that seems not to be cooperating with anything.

melissaknits said...

I need some comfort myself. There is an airplane in my near future. Very near.

Sharon said...

Knitting a sock seems to settle me down and is just very comforting. I don't feel all that capable of doing anything other than stockinette in the round when I'm stressed, though. So most of my hand knit socks are "plain vanilla".

What a beautiful hank o'yarn that is! Looks as refreshing as a swimming pool on a hot day.

Olga said...

Hmmm, maybe we are knitters because we don't like interacting with humans, you think? I always think I ought to invite so so over or have that couple over but never actually get to the point where I do it. Heck, I don't even talk to my neighbors....

Life's a Stitch said...

There are situations I try to avoid, too. My 18 yr old can't understand why I don't attend the yearly "International Night" at his high school. It's crowded, noisy and chaotic. Something I can do without. I'm generally a social person but that event is over the top. He thrives in those environments. Hope your weekend is going well,
Li

marit said...

You are not alone! Hubby is the social one around here- and I need peace and quiet- from both him and the kids(which is why I am a night owl...)
Beautiful yarn and knitting, as always.

Fibra Artysta said...

Oh my gosh, you and I have a lot in common. Sometimes I'd rather walk through a den of posinous snakes then be social.

Knitting is definetly the ultimate calming activity. I call it the comfort food of the fiber world!

trek said...

I cannot tell you how loudly I hear you on the first paragraph.