Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Knitting Myself Together

Knitted brain
I learned to knit shortly before I began treatment for my OCD, and I fell in love with the process of creating something with sticks and string. When I knit, I am more likely to stay in the present moment, anchored by the motion of my hands and the texture of the yarn. At first, I had to fight the perfectionist voice telling me I'd never learn, but in fact I did learn, especially since the woman who taught me to knit told me that there are no mistakes, only "design features." She taught me to recognize my knitting "mistakes" and once I could "read" my knitted work, I could figure out how to correct it. I think this is true with many things in life--if I flee from looking at what is going on, how can I change it?

Knitting helps me with my social anxiety. I joined a knitting group, and I find I can participate more easily in conversation while knitting, and we have a common topic to discuss, and knitters tend to be really cool people!

Knitting also gave me something to do when I went through a spike in my hair pulling,. I'd always found running my hands through my hair soothing, and pulling out the gray ones, and when my anxiety accelerated in anticipating seeing my father, I pulled to the point of making a bare spot on the top of my head. Knitting was soothing, and also kept my hands out of my hair.

I don't make anything that has to fit. I don't knit sweaters or complicated lace. I could knit plain garter stitch forever and probably be happy, as long as I have interesting yarn to play with. I knit scarves for ship workers through the Seamen's Church Institute, which is very gratifying, knowing my scarves help keep someone warm.

Any knitters out there?

Related Sites:

If you want to try knitting, a great source of information on knitting is found at the social network for knitters, Ravelry.

Trichotillomania Learning Center for information about hair pulling and skin picking


  1. I'm a knitter, too, although I haven't finished many projects. There's a group of people who knit at work during lunch, and I really need to work up the nerve to join them.

  2. I knit and crochet too. My Ravelry username is yarntwisted if ya wanna add a friend. :)I agree, though...there is something about knitting that is therapeutic.

  3. Whoa, that brain is way too real :) I also find that my social anxiety is easier when I have a project. I have a friend who takes her crochet everywhere, and it always gives her a focus.

  4. I bought a DVD kit thing(!), pretty basic, I got the initial part, latching on or something (I know its not the right term, but it was soooo long ago, or it seems it was!), but the actual knitting I couldnt grasp, it just kept looking messy! I really should give it another go because the bit I did do was quite relaxing :)

  5. I'm glad to see other knit/crochet people here! Blue Morpho--yeah, the brain is kind creepy! Nikki--I'd encourage you to take up knitting again--once I got past the feeling like I had 12 fingers stage, it was great.