We can talk, we can all write, and if the blocks are removed, we can all draw and paint and make things … Doing and making are acts of hope, and as that hope grows, we stop feeling overwhelmed by the troubles of the world. —Los Angeles Times
These last eight months of 2020 have definitely been a bit overwhelming for me, and at times I’ve struggled. Struggled to write, struggled to find balance, struggled to just do what is required of me in a day.
This semester a lot of the research I’ve been working on has dealt with Covid-19 and the protests around social justice reform, so I often feel like I don’t ever get to step away from everything that is happening in the world. Couple that with teaching in a pandemic—which means helping students navigate this uncharted circumstance—and I am definitely left feeling overwhelmed by the troubles of the world.
So, this fall, I decided that I had to find time every day to pick up my knitting needles, for my own sanity. Once I pick up my needles, I always feel the anxiety and stress I’m carrying slowly dissipate as I focus on the yarn in my hands.
Hope for the future, knit for distraction
In October I knit a stack of knits for my cousin, her husband, and their six-month-old son. I had not seen my cousin since January, anticipating always going over to snuggle her newborn whenever I wanted.
Instead, seven months into the pandemic, I sat socially distanced on a porch looking at her adorable baby from afar and leaving her with a box of knits I made just for them. I knit matching father and son hats and matching mother and son Southwood sweaters. As I knit them, I was filled with hope for her son’s future and a time when I could snuggle him without fear of an invisible virus.
During the week of the election, I knew my husband would be anxiously glued to the TV, so I decided that I would need a special project to distract me. I decided to use yarn I had been coveting, Cosmic Tie Dye by the Wandering Flock Yarn, to make Alicia Plummer’s Garnered Cardi. A dropped shoulder cardigan with just enough lace to keep myself engaged and a wardrobe piece I wanted while sheltering in place at home.
As I knit, I focused on how the pastel-yet-neon rainbow of the yarn blossomed and how the pattern and the yarn were meant to be together. I knit that sweater in 11 days. I had other projects on my needles and sometimes other things to do, but I kept getting drawn into that project. As it grew, so did my optimism.
I know that, traditionally, November and Thanksgiving is a time for gratitude, but for me this year is about hope and optimism. There is a lot that I’m hoping will change in the future, but in the meantime, I will keep writing, I will keep knitting, I will keep creating; and I will hold on to hope that the troubles of the world will be resolved.