The media lately has glommed on to the concept that crafts in general and knitting in particular are good for people. Yeah, that crafting stimulates the brain intellectually and provides beneficial psychotropic effects is no big surprise to those of us who've been crafting since pudgy little fingers allowed and Moms encouraged. Cause, ya know, that's why we do it.
Just like pretty much all knitters and spinners I know, I didn't need neuroscience to tell me I could achieve "flow... a state in which people are so involved in an activity that nothing else seems to matter.” I've been there. And return there often. Sometimes it's knitting, sometimes spinning, sometimes it's something as simple as foofing dyed angora.
Foofing dyed angora? Yeah, I know: what the heck.... Angora fiber is highly water resistant. Plunk it in water and you can wait until the cows come home and the inner fibers will still be dry. It needs a gentle soap plus fingerly encouragement (stick your fingers in there and separate the fibers) to get it wet, and dyeing it requires getting it wet. Once that's done, the fiber can dry looking all clumpy and sad and ruined. Foofing is the term I use for the process of pulling the sad looking fibers apart and fluffing them back up again. It is a very repetitive task but oh how my fingers love it. Angora is a lusciously soft and sensuous fiber, and begs to be not touched but caressed. Foofing freshly dyed pounds of angora while birds and bugs sing their songs, or maybe while watching a movie, that lovely state of flow gently takes over the worries.
Right now, my fiberly needs demand a mashed potato and meatloaf kind of knitting. Simple 2x2 rib
hats in cushy worsted or bulky weight yarn fills that nicely. Kind of a mindless knit though enough texture to be visually pleasing, and the stretchy nature of rib knits makes sort of a one size fits many kind of hat. I knit just such a hat for my younger son last week, using Plymouth Encore Tweed. I started out following a pattern only to realize that pattern called for flat knitting, which means two needles and a seam. Bleck. Magic Loop is my kinda knitting. Switching needles is easy. But the required cast on just was not going to match my yarn gauge. And about 7 1/2 inches into the knit, when the pattern says it's long enough, is definitely not long enough to suit me. Nor my son's head. So basically, that pattern became more of a loose guide. I'm sure there are many patterns like this available both for free and for pay, but for anyone who is curious, here is what I did to knit my Ribsy hat.
Using worsted weight yarn, a size 8 circular needle and Magic Loop, cast on 88 stitches. K2P2 for 10 inches or desired length. Next round K2tog P2tog to end of round. 44 stitches. K1P1 around for about one inch. Next round K2tog around. 11 stitches. Knit one round. Next round K2tog around. Final round K2tog, K1, K2tog to end of round. 6 stitches. Break off yarn. Kitchener remaining stitches, or run tail of yarn through each remaining stitch. Weave in ends.
As soon as I finished, my fingers yearned for another. I dove into the limited stash I had with me in Maine, pulled out a handspun skein, and cast on. I spun the skein last winter. It is a blend of wool and mohair, Friendz Blendz roving I bought from Friends' Folly Farm the last time I attended New Hampshire Sheep and Wool. This yarn did not match gauge for Ribsy so I recalculated the math, and 72 stitches works. I finished this hat last night and dubbed it Ramona. Mum first introduced me to FFF. She also used to raise sheep and angora goats and produce some nice wool mohair yarns herself. This hat is for Mum.
I have enough of this yarn left, I think I may see if I can get a simple 2x2 rib headband out of it. And then pull out another skein of handspun for another hat.
Yep, no addiction here.