Tag Archives: pandemic

Knit 1, purl 2, knit 6, breathe

dishrags for mom

Before COVID-19 was worldwide news and long before it forced us indoors to isolate, I resolved to knit more.

Actually, it was a New Year’s Resolution. Sort of. My notes say, “knitting? 6 projects?”

Real definitive, there. But yet, I have followed through.

I’ve been knitting and purling since junior high school when I taught myself to knit so I could make a bikini (yup, true story, didn’t ever actually wear the see-through bikini though). Knitting is either a granny’s activity or a cool thing Cameron Diaz and Charlize Theron do between takes, depending on who’s touting it. I’m probably more like a granny than a Hollywood celebrity with a big Instagram following, but I’m in charge here, so we’re going with the theory knitting is hip.

It’s also great meditation.

Zen and the Art of KnittingIn Zen and the Art of Knitting: Exploring the Links Between Knitting, Spirituality, and Creativity, author (and knitter) Bernadette Murphy writes:

Best of all, knitting is slow. So slow that we see the beauty inherent in every tiny act that makes up a sweater. So slow that we know the project’s not going to get finished today⁠—it may not get finished for many months or longer⁠—and thus, we make our peace with the unresolved nature of life. We slow down as we knit. Our breathing and heart rate drop and knitters who’ve been at it a while experience a trancelike state that provides the same benefits as other forms of meditation.

Sounds like the perfect anecdote for a pandemic, right? “Unresolved nature of life”? It’s the theme of things in a pandemic. My timing couldn’t be better.

I started by finishing a couple of dishcloths I began at least five years ago.

dish clothes

When I posted these stellar creations to Facebook (because I like to stick to noncontroversial posts so I don’t tick off my liberal, conservative, religious, atheistic, immunocompromised, unemployed, vegan and paleo friends, and knitting is a safe subject, if a little dull), my mother remarked she could use some new dishcloths.

Hey, her birthday was coming up. Great idea! I’ll knit some more dishcloths for her. Knitting a gift is quite lovely for both the knitter and the recipient because the knitter gets plenty of time to think about the person who will one day use the item. Murphy put it this way:

“In sweaters I make for others, I gently pass on my positive desires for their lives; these garments give warmth while embracing the wearer in a hundred-thousand little prayers.”

sun flowers

Sunshine against a backdrop of clouds.

I chose to knit dishcloths for mom in the Sun pattern from Leisure Arts’ Trendy Knit Dishcloths because Mom doesn’t get enough sunshine in the Minnesota winters and could use something bright. I made one in yellow, one in melon and one in bright orange.

doilies

Mom loved them, but she didn’t put them to use in the kitchen sink. She used them as doilies. Now I think I need to make a couple of doilies for my nightstands.

But first, I finished a project for myself.

In Zen and the Art of Knitting, Murphy suggested a Sleeveless Rolled Neck Pullover as a basic get-going pattern. I selected a nice veriegated yarn in blue, green and gray, and created this:

sweater

It’s not the disgrace the bikini was years ago, but I’m not going to model it for you. It turned out the way I imagined it.

If you’re counting, I’m up to four projects this year plus two halves, so I need to do at least one more in order to accomplish my goal. The real accomplishment is not projects, but peace and creativity.

What’s keep you creatively fueled right now?

Truth is stranger than fiction

Strange times, indeed.

As the COVID-19 pandemic overtakes America and the world, I’m sure I’m not the only one feeling like I’m walking through scenes in a catastrophe movie.

titanic couple

In the 1997 movie “Titanic,” Isidor and Ida Straus were depicted holding one another in bed as the ship sank. Fortunately, I’m sheltering in place with my Beloved, and between us, we’re not socially distancing.

I’ve been vacillating between feeling like the Titanic couple awaiting doom together in bed and feeling giddy that I have almost nothing on my to-do list.

I don’t know if I should be savoring every breath or if I should be behaving as if everything is going to be OK. This week, I required a blood test for a doctor’s appointment scheduled for May. The doctor already emailed to say he would be conducting telephone appointments for the foreseeable future. So I scheduled an appointment for a blood draw yesterday. Everything will be OK, right? The appointment will occur as scheduled, I assume. Proceed as planned.

The roads to my appointment were strangely empty (I’m living in a shelter-in-place county). Besides the phlebotomists, I was the only one in the office. The technician was all business until the end of my visit. I told her I was praying for people like her, and she said, “It’ll get worse before it gets better.” Then she described in vivid detail how all the stores near her home are boarded up and she heard we should all stock up two months worth of food.

I drove straight to the supermarket and bought $300 worth of food.

Buying groceries was surreal, too. The toilet paper aisle was empty, of course, but so were the aisles of canned vegetables, canned fruit and dairy. Unless I was interested in cake or ice cream, the frozen food department was wiped out, too.

It’s been months since I felt like blogging. After having blogged nearly every day for nearly seven years, the well was dry last June, and I just quit writing. It felt pointless. But then the world is turned upside down, and my mind churns blog topics up from the depths as I watch the news, as I make dinner, as I fall asleep and as I lay awake. Life has urgency again, and writing feels what a writer should do.

Another reason for this creativity spurt is time. I have time on my hands. I’m not working. I’m not renovating or decorating. I’m not driving all over creation. There are pauses, and I have blanks, finally, my mind is inspired to fill.

I’m not actually waiting for the boat to sink, but I am savoring time. Time to think. Time to Facetime with my parents in rural Minnesota (which I did for the first time today–why did it take so long?). Time with my Beloved.

Here’s hoping you can find the upside to these strange times. What are you savoring?