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Pischi
New Pal

USA
4 Posts

Posted - 01/12/2006 :  05:15:52 AM  Show Profile  Visit Pischi's Homepage Send Pischi a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Now in my 40's and peri-menopausal, I was suffering severe mood swings and was often depressed. I rekindled an old friendship with someone who was knitting socks with an online group. She encouraged me. I love the simplicity of taking a ball of yarn and shaping a sock. The knitting takes my mind in the direction that it needs to go. Maybe I'm knitting my feelings into the garment that I'm making. I rarely keep what I knit. I can't explain the phenomena but I am a much happier person.

Patricia
http://pischilein.typepad.com
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kadiddly
Permanent Resident

USA
3076 Posts

Posted - 01/12/2006 :  12:10:54 PM  Show Profile  Visit kadiddly's Homepage  Send kadiddly a Yahoo! Message Send kadiddly a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I would go insane right now if I didn't have my knitting. I'm working on my first opera. Between my lack of experience with this genre of live performance (although everyone says I'm doing a great job), the scope of the show(s) - we're doing all four operas of Wagner's The Ring of the Nibelung cycle and I stage manage the final two operas, and the fact that the producing company isn't nearly as professional as they think they are, my life has been absolutely insane lately. I've been bringing my Jaywalkers to work on during breaks, and it's been my sanity saver. "Knit around, just one more rehearsal left, pattern row, just half of one rehearsal left..."

I hate to say it, but I think I've finally found a genre of performance that I will never work in again, given the choice , but it has done wonders for my knitting!

I don't smoke, I knit. It relieves stress and tension, smells better, I don't have to go outside to do it, and it won't give me cancer.
Backstage Stitches
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highdesertrose
Gabber Extraordinaire

Malta
544 Posts

Posted - 01/15/2006 :  7:49:07 PM  Show Profile Send highdesertrose a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I suffer from anxiety and I find that the gentle rhythm of knitting calms me down when my mind races.

~Rena~
www.music2knit.blogspot.com
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jgtck
New Pal

USA
45 Posts

Posted - 01/15/2006 :  11:02:09 PM  Show Profile Send jgtck a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I am also peri-menopausal (have been for 3 years now). Last June I started to have problems with anxiety. My Dr put me on Lexapro and it was the worst experience of my life. Gained 17 lbs in 3 months and was a walking zombie. I had to take 2 hour naps each day just to function. After convincing the dr to take me off meds, knitting has been a godsend. I can sit down to knit and my mind and heart no longer race. It calms me when I am upset with my teenagers and life in general. The creative process calms my mind.
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Sticks and String
Permanent Resident

USA
1113 Posts

Posted - 01/16/2006 :  1:24:08 PM  Show Profile  Visit Sticks and String's Homepage Send Sticks and String a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I only half-jokingly refer to my knitting as my blood pressure medication. I don't HAVE high blood pressure and I'm convinced I never will because I knit. OK, I'll allow that genetics might play a part but nonetheless...

The library director asked me if she could get rid of her high blood pressure medication by taking up knitting and I told her probably not but wouldn't her doctor think HE was brilliant if her blood pressure dropped because she did take up knitting?

menopausal socks << Vi, you keel me...LMAO!!!

Jo

"If you love not the noise of bells, why then do you pull the ropes?"
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Deborah Harris
New Pal

Australia
3 Posts

Posted - 01/18/2006 :  12:57:41 PM  Show Profile Send Deborah Harris a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I recently joined the forum .I have knitted as pleasure and I guess therapy for years.When I say years I started at about 5 and am now 58 guess that makes it 53 years.That is a little overwhelming!I lead a very busy and extremely stressful life.We own a sheepskin business producing uggboots car seat covers etc and we are always overworked etc.I come home at night and generally get to my knitting about 7.30 after dinner.I must admit that also for the last couple of years my husband and I have gone to work in the one car (due to the fact that I need to be at work much earlier these days )My husband always drives and it is amazing how much knitting I get done in that trip 6 days aweek.One of my reasons for joining the forum was the hope that somebody may be interested in a penpal situation with a well travelled Australian.We have just returned from a 3 week trip to Malaysia.No knitting there .....far too hot and humid...
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suek137
Chatty Knitter

340 Posts

Posted - 01/19/2006 :  10:38:02 AM  Show Profile Send suek137 a Private Message  Reply with Quote
It's not working anymore. I've found knitting has been the best way to relieve my stress/anxiety. But lately, I'm finding that I am clenching my teeth even when knitting. I love to be knitting, just not getting that calming effect. Maybe due to branching out and trying new techniques...don't really know. I'm thinking I need to just grab some scrap yarn and let the stitches fly. No counting, no thinking, just the knitting motion. Only problem with that is knitting time is so limited already and have so many projects I want to do, that it's difficult to give up the time and then have nothing to show for it. But...if it works, then I would have a calm pysche. Has this happened to anyone else?
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Sticks and String
Permanent Resident

USA
1113 Posts

Posted - 01/19/2006 :  11:03:39 AM  Show Profile  Visit Sticks and String's Homepage Send Sticks and String a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Something similar has been happening to a new knitter I know. She was fine while working on simple patterned items but once she started working on unfamiliar techniques and more challenging patterns she started experiencing the same teeth-clenching and stress you are and it showed in her knitting. Our knitting group suggested that she keep a "mindless" project going (such as an easy/no patterned scarf or washcloth, nothing as big as an afghan) at the same time as a project that takes more focus and that she use the mindless knitting as a "warm-up" to the other. Trying this might ease your stress over "wasting" your valuable knitting time. Our friend has found that warming-up eases her muscles and her mind into the process and after a few rounds or rows she is ready to concentrate without stressing so much on the more complicated piece. The bonus is that there is no waste of time because you are still going to have a beautiful finished project in the end.

I'd also gently suggest you stop defeating yourself by stressing over the number of potential projects you have thought of doing. Believe me, all of us have a list of potential projects and we'd all go nuts if we started stressing about them! One step at a time is a good practice for any task and lends itself to far less stress than worrying about what you want to do next. Remember that each and every stitch you make brings you closer to the finish line and the next project will always be there waiting patiently for you to be ready for it. Try the warming-up technique, slow down and stop fighting yourself. I'm sure you will relax back into the calm you had before.

Jo

"If you love not the noise of bells, why then do you pull the ropes?"
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suek137
Chatty Knitter

340 Posts

Posted - 01/19/2006 :  1:53:12 PM  Show Profile Send suek137 a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Jo - I think you are definitely on to something. I am going to give your suggestions a try. I think a washcloth could be just the thing. But even more importantly, I believe you are right that I am overwhelming myself with all I want to knit. How very perceptive of you!

It means so much to me that you responded and also that your comments were so kind and gentle. Thank you so very much.

Sue
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2trees
Seriously Hooked

749 Posts

Posted - 01/20/2006 :  10:10:26 PM  Show Profile Send 2trees a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I have a mindless project going on now. It's a pink scarf with cables and ribbing. I started it to teach myself cable w/o dpns. I keep working on itwhile I drool over complicated lace patterns. Funny thing is, I never wear pink, and I live in a hot climate!

I agree with a pp about knitting slowing us down from our fast-paced lives. I also like working on a timeless craft that links us to our foreknitters (like that word?).
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mokey
Permanent Resident

15375 Posts

Posted - 01/20/2006 :  10:50:14 PM  Show Profile Send mokey a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by 2trees

I also like working on a timeless craft that links us to our foreknitters (like that word?).


I *love* that word. Even though I was a tomboy growing up I always had some type of needlework tucked away for my quiet time. I knew how to sew and embroider a year or so before I could tie my shoe laces.I always thought it strange that I could feel so comfortable with needles and thread or yarn. Then I learned that my ancestors were professional needleworkers, the Austro Hungarian Court Embroiderers to be exact, and that my mum had a cousin(catch all term for related in some way but no one knows exactly how)who was a specialist in restoring articles embrodered/knitted with human hair.

Due to various wars and government ordered destruction, a lot of the physical evidence of that ancestry is forever gone; yet as long as I can create something, anything with my sticks and strings I feel like I am preserving that heritage even if it is a continent and generations removed.

"An injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." Martin Luther King Jr.
www.femiknits.blog-city.com
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AuntyNin
Seriously Hooked

USA
772 Posts

Posted - 02/03/2006 :  07:39:29 AM  Show Profile  Visit AuntyNin's Homepage Send AuntyNin a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I had the great good fortune to be brought up in a needleworking tradition. My mom was an amazing knitter, one grandmother knit, crocheted and tatted, the other gran embroidered beautifully, and all my aunts did needlework of one sort or another. It was a great way to learn. Only recently, I discovered that my great-great-great grandmother was a weaver, and still gave weaving as her occupation in the census returns when she was 87 years old.

Knitting is definitely a stress-reducer for me. Like so many others of you, I have a job that provides generous doses of stress and insanity, but just knowing that the needles and yarn are available makes a huge difference. I once told a thoroughly obnoxious colleague that the only reason he was still alive was that I wouldn't be allowed to have knitting needles in prison. He thought I was joking. I wasn't.

Like several others, I keep a variety of projects on needles at any one time, some mindless, some complex. That way there's a project appropriate to my mood or tiredness level no matter what's happening.

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jamesedwinsneed
Chatty Knitter

USA
191 Posts

Posted - 02/14/2006 :  11:58:10 AM  Show Profile Send jamesedwinsneed a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Hi,
I don't know what I would have done without my knitting. Our youngest son was diagnosed with a serious and rare blood disorder several years ago. Before I learned to knit, I would just take a crossword puzzle in my bag when we had to sit at the hospital through all the tests and biopsies. I was so worried that I couldn't concentrate to read, and a lot of time I couldn't even think to do the puzzles. There isn't anything more 'stale' than hospital waiting room literature! I would sit at the children's cancer clinic with my knitting when we waited for his appts. It was hard to see the other worried parents in the room and know what they were going through. There were times when I would catch a glimpse of a parent just staring at my hands working the needles. Maybe some of the calm I was able to find through knitting was sort of soothing to some of them. My son even learned to knit during that rough time (he was 8). He is doing fine and still knitting (13 now)occasionally.
Gayle
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FibersFan
Warming Up

USA
53 Posts

Posted - 02/15/2006 :  9:10:12 PM  Show Profile Send FibersFan a Private Message  Reply with Quote
"Working with yarn provides stress relief," says Herbert Benson, MD, a professor at Harvard Medical School and author of The Relaxation Response. "Like meditation or prayer, knitting allows for the passive release of stray thoughts." But while studies have found that meditation can sometimes induce stress and depression, knitting doesn't have that effect. In fact, it tops many doctors' calming-activity lists. "The rhythmic and repetitive quality of the stitching, along with the needles clicking resembles a calming mantra," Dr. Benson explains. "The mind can wander while still focusing on one task."

I learned to knit when I was 10 and did it on and off over the years. Mostly 'off' because it wasn't 'cool'. Then, in 2001 I lost a job in June for the first time in my life and was still not working 9/11/01. I picked up knitting again during this anxious time and have found it to be life and sanity saving. I even quit smoking after 30 years and going on 4 years now of being a non-smoker and obsessed knitter.
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tmpalmer@gmail.com
New Pal

8 Posts

Posted - 02/15/2006 :  10:50:25 PM  Show Profile Send tmpalmer@gmail.com a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:

I even quit smoking after 30 years and going on 4 years now of being a non-smoker and obsessed knitter.



You have given me hope. One of the reasons I picked up knitting, and kept at it, was to help me quit smoking. So far, I've cut my smoking in half, and am starting to find myself annoyed when I do smoke because "I could be knitting instead". As I work towards quitting, I will remember that someone else managed to do it, therefore so can I.

Oh, and the other reason I started knitting? If I have a project in my hands, I'm less likely to want to wrap my hands around someone's throat and strangle them when they annoy me. [meow]
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Mermaid Knits
Permanent Resident

USA
1129 Posts

Posted - 02/16/2006 :  12:53:35 AM  Show Profile  Visit Mermaid Knits's Homepage Send Mermaid Knits a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Thge quote from Herbert Benson rings so true for me. (in FiberFan's post). It allows for the passive release of stray thoughts. In a way, just like the yarn forming itself gradually and methodically into a coherent fabric, my random thoughts are slowly stitched together and unified and become a logical, completed plan or idea or feeling or resolution. For me walking or hiking gives the same opportunity for thought stimulation and organization. I do a lot of walking each day, and try to knit each and every day.

I am happiest when the rhythm of my knitting matches my heart rate. Like listening to Pachobel's Canon in G (I think it is), the link to the heartbeat can't be denied and centres you like nothing else.

Many of us have so many people to care for and other potential stresses in our lives - thank goodness that knitting provides a real sanctuary for the soul. We take care of ourselves by knitting.

Arctic-mermaid

Arctic-mermaid
http://www.flickr.com/photos/MermaidKnits/
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kim from sweden
New Pal

2 Posts

Posted - 02/16/2006 :  02:43:46 AM  Show Profile Send kim from sweden a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Knitting is a fantastic way of releasing tension. Ive knitted for 45 years, in periods. I have knitted my fears, sadness, loneliness but also my hopes, prayers and joys in life.
One thing I often think about is that when you make a mistake in your knitting you can go back to that point, undo it, and then continue. What if life could be like that?
My knitting also gives a result, something I can see. Warming gifts for family & friends, a little extra for myself sometimes...
And it does keep you from going insane when your world shatters!

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eclair
Chatty Knitter

New Zealand
320 Posts

Posted - 02/16/2006 :  03:38:59 AM  Show Profile  Visit eclair's Homepage Send eclair a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I've been knitting for nearly 30 years. More at some times than others but I recognize the busy knitting periods as being those when I was under greatest stress - they were often when I had the least free time for knitting too! I knit through my O and A levels and then again when my first husband was on active service. I knitted my way through 3 bouts of post-natal depression, a divorce and two university degrees.

I gave everything I made away- I think it was because it was the act of knitting that was what I craved. I love to make things but the end product was not the prize. It was the rocking motions that soothe as my hands and arms move, the feel of the soft yarn and stroking the work in progress.

Now I knit because I can't think and knit at the same time- so I don't have to obsess about work. We have our own company and we are very busy but I have to grab my knitting at least twice a day and rattle off a few rows just for a break. When I used to smoke I could leave the room and stand outside and have a cigarette (9 years now and still craving!)- now I sit elsewhere and have a knit! It is also nice to work on something I can actually SEE. I spend hours each day typing settings, commands and code into a machine- that work disappears into the electronic beyond and althought the end product is there (a working system) I have nothing physical that I can point at and say 'I did that'. With my knitting I do- I made that, I spun that, I felted that and I'm wearing this.

It does give me something to do with my hands when I'm having a Red Mist moment! Though giving me pointy sticks sometimes seems a little foolhardy when what I want to do is bash everyone on the head with a shovel and bury them under the patio. I can't blame the menopause yet- guess I'm just naturally foul tempered!

I love to give people things because it feels like I'm looking after them. When I'm knitting, it feels like I'm looking after me.

Eclair
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mmum@acncanada.net


Canada
Posts

Posted - 02/16/2006 :  05:12:15 AM  Show Profile Send mmum@acncanada.net a Private Message  Reply with Quote
No stress when waiting for your doctor appointment or scheduled meetings! Great occupation when waiting for the 'lift'. Wish we were allowed to occupy our hands while flying for long journeys![meow]
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jamesedwinsneed
Chatty Knitter

USA
191 Posts

Posted - 02/16/2006 :  05:59:27 AM  Show Profile Send jamesedwinsneed a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I live in a household full of males (two sons and a hubby). I grew up with only brothers. the only daughters I have are the cat girls and the poodle. I tell my library patrons (my work) that I don't read romances at all, in fact gruesome mysteries are usually my choice. They help me fullfill something I can't/wouldn't (well, maybe not on most days) carry out. When I found knitting, I discovered a less violent relaxation technique. My guys have learned to leave me alone when they know I've had a bad day and my needles get going. I guess sharp pointy objects in the hands of a pms-ey mama are scary.
But seriously, I can almost feel my blood pressure lower when I pick up some beautiful feeling yarn and start seeing the stitches grow on my needles.
Gayle
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