Knitting and doomscrolling are incompatible

I’ve talked on this blog before about mental health and knitting (for example here, here, here, here, and here). This week has acquainted me with yet another reason why knitting is good for me: knitting and doomscrolling are incompatible. Physically, you cannot engage your hands in creative pursuit while at the same time using them to endlessly scroll through frightening news. And mentally, you cannot engage in creative pursuit without allowing the mind a bit of respite.

This week, I am more thankful than I usually am (which is a lot), in the gift that knitting brings me. Have I stopped doomscrolling? I wish I could say yes. But I have moderated it, and that is good. To all of you who instead of endlessly refreshing the news and thinking negative thoughts, have instead landed on this page for a respite – for some fun, chatty words about knitting – I am happy to accommodate you. Let’s have a short chat about knitting and put everything else aside for a bit. Then we can face life with more fortitude and think about how we can impact and engage for good.

I have been super focused on my new project, which still remains a bit of a mystery: I will reveal all when it’s done. I gave a teasing photo of it in my last post, repeated here:

Every time I pick this project up, it makes me smile. I started it on the 12th of February and am whizzing through. I am knitting it with Ulysse, the sportweight yarn from Gilliat, which I think is likely to become my go-to sportweight wool. I love it, the colours are rich, it feels good on the hand, and it is comparatively inexpensive.

I have also done a bit of work on my Gresham Wrap since the last time I posted a photo. Here it is today:

This is going to be a very generously sized wrap which means I still have a lot of the cream middle section to knit. Unfortunately, this section is not as much fun as the coloured sections on the ends. But it is good TV knitting and moves along fast.

Emma has been stuck at home with Covid (boo hoo), and in between bouts of feeling really crappy, she has also been knitting. She sent me a photo of her project, which I will share with you below. Seeing my kids enjoying knitting and other creative pursuits makes me happy, too. (And look at how fantastically even her stitches are!)

I have also been engaged in planning new projects. Just yesterday, I discovered this yarn which I had purchased last year and forgotten about:

Now that I’ve found it again, the wildly beautiful blue is really speaking to me. It feels peaceful and calming, while at the same time it sparks. I am planning to knit Flores, a design by eri shimuzu:

© eri shimizu

To change the topic from knitting to books and illustration, the incomparable Shirley Hughes died this week. Given that she died at the age of 94, this is not a sad story (I promised you a respite from sad news), but instead had many of us remembering her work with incredible fondness. I think that her classic book Dogger is most often cited, but for me, I love the Alfie books and most especially, Alfie Gets in First. I read this so many times to the kids when they were little, and we spent many happy hours just looking at the lovely, detailed illustrations, so very full of life:

The toddler runs ahead of his mum in the first book in the Alfie series, Alfie Gets in First (1981)
Photograph: © Shirley Hughes/Penguin Books; from The Guardian March 3rd, 2022

You can see here a selection of photos from her books and life, published this week in the Guardian. These make me happy, too.

Take care, my friends, and be good to yourselves.

6 thoughts on “Knitting and doomscrolling are incompatible

  1. Thank you for reminding us all to use our hands for crafting, not doomscrolling! I’m currently attending a Knitting Convention and am so happy to fill my brain with images of creative people and beautiful handknits and yarns instead of horrifying images of war for a few hours. We all need to remember what we can and can’t do and focus our minds accordingly!

  2. Oh, sad about Shirley Hughes…but as you say, a good innings. She illustrated lots of the Noel Streatfield books, too. Notably the two Bell Family books. One of the last of the old-school children’s book illustrators, possibly – her ink drawings were superb.

  3. I love Shirley Hughes books. She just got childhood right. Alfie was definitely a favourite in our house many years ago.

  4. I was going through my stash and wondered if the Ukrainian refugees could use some yarn and needles to give them some calm.

  5. Your project is looking wonderful so far, as is Emma’s! So glad knitting is giving you some much-needed peace. So much scary going on – it’s good to have some respite from it.

  6. That picture from Alfie brought back so many memories! We read them endlessly too – perfectly captured the realities of family and childhood without sentimentality – they were pitch perfect. Remember Alfie getting cross on Christmas Day and Grandad taking him out for a walk – tears to the eyes just thinking about it!

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