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Reflective Moments: Searching for lost stitches not a stress reliever

Needles and yarn not a sure route to serenity.
Reflective Moments by Joyce Walter

As human beings tend to do in gatherings of two or three friends or strangers, we talk about the weather and how quickly the days pass as one ages.

A friend just the other night commented: “How can it be July when last week it was January?” The others in the conversation nodded in agreement and thus the conversation began and included topics pertaining to slow garden growth, hail damage to crops, temperatures expected on days when special events are planned and the price of groceries and gasoline.

One wise participant suggested we should just take it day by day, accept the weather that changes with the hour and relax and work at staying healthy instead of fretting over things we cannot influence.

Her logical contribution to the conversation made sense and was prophetic when just days before I had come across two stories to assist “mature men and women” in ways to improve their health.

One article was headlined, “knitting, crocheting can improve your health.”

 “Hmmmm,” I thought, remembering my own history with knitting. As I recall, my health wasn’t in question but certainly my mother’s blood pressure and, finally, her pride in my talents would have been sorely challenged.

The parent was a talented knitter and seamstress, making something out of nothing, creating items of durability and beauty, some of which I still have in my possession. Those talents were not passed on to this child. I could cast on stitches with ease but by the second or third row, the wool had tightened so much I could not push the needle through to create more stitches. The problem was in how tightly I held the wool and needles. I became adept at losing stitches and watched in awe as my instructor discovered the lost and returned it to the row that started with 24 stitches and still should have 24 stitches.

I proudly worked on a scarf to give as a gift, but instead of a scarf with interesting holes here and there I believe she turned it into a dish cloth or maybe a duster. I went outside to ride my bike, leaving her blood pressure to return to safe levels for her improved health.

The previously mentioned story had this to say about knitting and crocheting: “The repetitive motions and focus required in these activities can have a calming effect on the mind and body, like meditation. This makes them a great way to combat anxiety and depression.”

The source of these beliefs was not listed so I have no way of judging the competence of the person making this statement. In my case, knitting only added to my youthful depression in the knowledge that I would never successfully create a scarf without unexplained holes and friends would never exclaim in delight when presented with a piece of my knitting. Most likely they would be puzzled as they tried to figure out if it were a tea cosy or a repository for pot scrubbers.

Retailers who sell knitting supplies should not expect a rush of business from this household. I will buy any knitted items I require for personal use or for gifts from the many talented vendors who showcase their wares at trade shows and Christmas sales.

That’s my way of using knitting to improve my health. It might not help my pocket book, but I won’t need a prescription for blood pressure medication. Nor will I need a stranger’s help in finding those lost stitches.

Joyce Walter can be reached at

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