17 January 2011

The power of handmade

This last week has been a stressful one for me.  I'm waiting (remarkably patiently, which will surprise those of you who know me well) for the results of a biopsy that was taken in a sort of hurried fashion on Wednesday.  The physical recovery is not a big deal, managed entirely by Tylenol. I got to take my miniature bandaid off today, and only a tiny yellowing bruise and healed nick mark the spot.  Mentally and emotionally, though, the waiting is taking a huge toll on me - I can't concentrate on much, whether it's a conversation, a tv show, or a novel, and you can just forget about my accomplishing any serious work for school! Instead, I've spent the weekend throwing myself into small tasks that are easily and quickly accomplished, and the power of handmade things has been surprisingly sustaining.

homemade bread

On Saturday, I made a loaf of bread, and I've been eating it slowly: buttered toast, cheese on toast, mini pizzas.  I really enjoyed my Saturday afternoon of knitting with my Monday night knitting ladies.  We took over the back table at a yarn shop, ate chocolate cupcakes with minty pink frosting, and laughed a lot.  Being in a room full of creativity and enthusiasm for yarn and projects was energizing.

earrings by Jewls (Etsy) and cowl by dear friend Jessica

On Sunday I got dressed with the conscious intention of wearing handmade bits and bobs.  Walking through the snow to Mass, catching glimpses of my pretty pink and purple cowl in my peripheral vision, knowing that I was wearing cute earrings someone fashioned by hand, and enjoying the squishy warmth of my good luck red lace socks, I actually felt surrounded by the care that went into the making of my clothing.  By the way, the sermon was phenomenal and something I really needed to hear right now in the midst of my struggle with flagging hope and a crisis of trust.  One line from Isaiah mentioned that we are "made glorious" in the sight of the Lord, and I thought, "God does crafts, too." (I'll admit that's a bit of an atypical interpretation, but it's what I heard.)

my "good luck" socks, handknit in Nancy Bush's Child's Shell Sock pattern

All you crafters know that handmade isn't just about appreciating the careful and love-imbued work of others; it's all about creating.  The decision to channel my nervous energy and all my apprehension into a new design that's been clanging around in my head for a while was one of the best choices I've ever made.

The two-row stripes and the solid brown paired with a color-changing Noro provide just enough of a distraction from obsessively reading everything the internet has to say about biopsies and their potential results.  I'm normally all about the process of knitting, and the feel of the yarn and the fun of seeing a pattern emerge is more important to me than having a finished object to wear.  However, this project is driven by the perfect blend of "I want to knit that" and "I want to wear that".  My Ravelry project page labels this sweater as "Obsession," but it needs a better name, something to reflect its healing and comforting power, the hope it represents that by the time I have my results I'll have a finished sweater to wear in celebration of good news.  And I can't tell you how grateful I am that trying to think of a name for a sweater seems like a more pressing problem right now than worrying about when my phone will ring.

I love the power of handmade.

[ETA: I had just posted this, when I went over to Cosy's blog and followed her link to this beautifully written piece, which expresses succinctly and truthfully just what I am trying to talk about above. Please go read.]


faeriecollege said...

That sweater does indeed look like a good use of nervous energy. Best of luck to you!

Siga said...

Wishing you all the best! And omg those stripes! Love love love it!

Kathy said...

Praying for you! GOd does Crafts....I LOVE IT! Love your interpretation.

Your stripey knit up sweater is gorgeous!

Keep talking to us about your situation. It is sometimes good just to write it out!

Oh and that bread I have to have.....

Molly said...

Yes, I totally second all the things you said about the power of handmade. Thanks for expressing it so well! Here's a verse that makes my crafty heart smile.
"Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love." Ephesians 4:16 It's a little wordy, but I like it anyway! : )

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