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Spring in the Suburbs

Spring in the Suburbs - Hot Pink Geraniums

I have no new knitting to show; we've been planting, painting, and cleaning. It must be a spring thing. It's also heralded by the annual arrival of ants in my kitchen. I know that if it rains a lot (steadily) and the next day is sunny and warm, a colony will have formed somewhere and they'll begin invading. Oddly, it's also about the same time I start to think about baking cookies. I believe I'll wait until I get rid of the ants* to get out the brown sugar.

I've swatched several things this past week and so far, nothing is as promising as I thought it would be. I decided this was a sign to step away from the knitting (that is, knitting-as-blog-fodder) for a brief pause, so I've been listening to the Yarn Harlot's audiobook version of Stephanie Pearl-McPhee Casts off: The Yarn Harlot's Guide to the Land of Knitting. I highly recommend it. It's entertaining without being too cutesy or cheesy. (And, yes, I know I'm one book behind and she has a new one out now . . . at this pace, I'll probably get to that one next year).

And smack dab in the middle of this blog entry, I want to share Laurie's blog entry today. One thing jumped out at me:

I'd wasted all that energy on one thing that was past and something new that hadn't even happened yet.

I've been there -- I've wasted energy and THOUGHTS on things that were completely unfruitful. And I've wasted precious brainpower having imaginary conversations with people I was angry with at the time. I'm now 100% sure that the other person involved didn't give a second thought to maintaining that same conversation in his or her head. Obsessive thoughts like that are very close to the classic definition of insanity -- doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.

I wanted to bring this to my blog because it relates to why I began knitting. About four years ago, I was getting and staying so angry about perceived slights and injustices that totally didn't concern me; often I was angry or incredulous about something that was happening to a friend or family member. One night I left the house in a huff over something I had been reading online and I ended up falling in the garage and requiring a trip to the ER for stitches and a tetanus shot. Less than a month later, a friend of mine mentioned trying knitting and I was tired enough of myself that I decided it was time for a new hobby. Knitting helped me gain some emotional equilibrium and has kept me out of the ER (I learned that I am really accident-prone when I'm angry). And this is why I still knit. These days, if I feel that I'm starting to be competitive (with anybody other than myself) over knitting or anything knitting-related, I step back -- and maybe away -- for a while. Ironically, if I don't step away on my own, then some external force will exert itself -- computer problems much?

If you're stewing, perhaps step away and ask yourself why your expectations are so high or . . . radical thought . . . maybe you should dig even deeper -- why are you a knitter? For me, it's a meaningful and productive way to engage my hands and my mind so that I remain emotionally balanced and stay out of trouble. The huge bonus has been my gaining some great lifelong friendships in the process.

* Products to help eliminate the ants

Terro Liquid Ant Bait - I found it at Lowe's last year. Note: The MaxForce products are more widely available but they did not work for me.


Great post Janet. :)

A lovely, moving post. The reminder about competitiveness -- never mind the obsessive replaying of prior conversations -- is a timely one for me. Thank you. And the geraniums are a mighty cheery sight!

That was a great read. I think that it is not so much the knitting that gives us purpose, more having a "hobby" or a strong interest in something. So many people I know complain of being bored or having nothing to do, or are miserable but can't put their finger on why. I wish I could teach them to knit!

I have been able to grow out of the conversations some, the ones in my head. What I find odd now, are that when I catch myself doing it they are the same conversations from when i did it obsessively. Time to let go and move on much? While I don't know that I replaced those conversations with anything specific, it's nice to have several creative outlets.

Thanks for sharing the "why" with us! Very insightful, that. For me, knitting is calming - I tend to have "monkey mind" and knitting helps me focus that.

Excellent entry...much food for thought. Thank you for sharing.

We've been having spring like whether for a while now and I love it... thankfully don't have any ant problems. I hope they don't become too big an issue for you!
Thanks for sharing why you knit. It is a very calming pass time and I agree, less chance of hurting yourself if you're just sitting in one spot ;-)

I really need to do some spring cleaning over her myself!! ;op

I have that YH book, but yet to read it myself! It has too many words in it! Haha! I am thinking the e-book may do me better.
However, her new book I zipped thru and that is b/c those are short and sweet chapters!

I luv your posts Janet! I became a knitter to fight off the stress, loneliness, and gain some more patience!! (in a nutshell)
It has definitely helped in all of those areas and I am so grateful for it!!

I talk to and argue with myself all the time over slights and small-minded people. Really, most of the time, it's me winning the battle or thinking of that perfect comeback that eluded me earlier.

And I get the "rain ants" too. When I see the ants under the kitchen table after a rain, I think of that song from the Eurhythmics, "Here Comes the Rain Again," only "Here comes the ants again..."

Knitting breaks must be in the air. I am in a knitting funk myself, but it was my own fault. No one to argue with but me.

I like this post, Janet. I'll have to dig deep about what got me started in knitting. 'Til then, soak in the sunshine!

I love your honesty and compelling thoughts. x

I forgot to mention that I've been swatching madly too, yet nothing seems to appeal... I think I'm becoming somewhat 'fussy' in my old age! ;)

I loved this post, Janet. Thank you for sharing it & for saying it. It speaks volumes of truth.

So very well said and it keeps the stitches on your knitting needles and not on your body. Love your blog, thanks for sharing.