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Why I knit
Before the coronavirus pandemic hit, Andrew and I would hop in the car on weekends and run errands, head to the gym, shop for grocery, visit family, etc. Without fail, on each of these short outings, I would take along my current knitting project. Sometimes while I am standing in line, I will pull out my project and begin to knit. Others look at their cellphone, I knit.
I find it incredibly soothing and therapeutic. It allows my mind to focus on a single activity and block everything else out. My breathing is relaxed and I achieve a meditative state. Climbing brings the same relaxed state as well.
While knitting is making a comeback, many celebrities are getting into it, and the benefits are tangible (to reduce stress and pain), it takes a certain level of patience to slog through the repetition of movements and a certain level of tenacity to complete a project over weeks and sometimes over months.
It’s not a quick hit
I am reminded of the students in my mom’s crochet class. Earlier this year, she volunteered to teach crochet to seniors for 10 weeks, and I enjoyed hearing her plans for the class, the projects and of course how her students fared. Even with crochet, arguably the simpler and more forgiving skill to learn, one or two students would continue with the project outside of class time (i.e., homework). The others would work on their projects only during class and had very little to show for at the end of each session.
It isn’t for everyone
While it used to be an activity borne out of necessity, the industrial revolution has rendered it obsolete, except for as a hobby. For me it is one that is incredibly rewarding because it provides opportunities for creativity, feeling productive and at the same time therapeutic. Turns out it also helps cognitive function, thus staving off senility.
During these first few months of retirement, I am spending more time knitting. The projects I had queued many moons ago are now being tackled. I have boxes of yarn stashed, neatly organized by project, just waiting for me to tackle and it brings me so much joy to be able to finish each project and to be able to share them with others.
At the same time, I have so many knitted and crocheted finished objects.
40+ Hats & Toques
30+ Scarves & Cowls
10+ Sweaters & Tops
50+ Mittens, socks, etc.
Bear in mind that this is also one of the areas targeted for downsizing since they all cannot come aboard our sailboat with us. We have a plan for this, which we will reveal in the upcoming weeks.
The beauty of living in the present moment is gaining awareness, both internal and external. We described some of this in our previous post Past, Present and Future. As you tune into your external senses, you begin to appreciate the subtleties picked up by your senses.
I am reminded of scenes from Amelie who exemplifies these small moments in her every day life. This is depicted in the trailer for the film (see above).
Lavender and Sage
I happened to tune into the scents of lavender and sage, which is the username by which I go by on Ravelry, a community site for fiber arts, including knitting, crocheting, weaving, spinning and dying yarns. Most of my projects can be found on this site, which has tracked my activity since May, 2012.
In addition to being a great resource, it is an area to organize projects, stash, needles, and patterns.
Is it for you?
I come from a family of knitters. Both my mom and my grandmother knit. While I have been knitting on and off since the age of 11 years old, most of my recent skills have been self-taught watching youtube channels, trying out new stitches and techniques. and reading knitting blogs. It turns out you don’t need to come from a family of knitters in order to start knitting.
Just as it is with sailing. No one in Andrew’s family or my family sail. Yet here we are reading, self-teaching, and one day learning from Bill how to sail a schooner.
If you would like to get started in fiber arts, please click on the links below. I hope you find these useful.
Decide whether to keep the following section here or in Boat Head post.
Project Slocum update
as of May 14, 2020
This post was originally written April 15. Since then, we’ve had more progress and conversations about moving, downsizing and buying a boat. Here is an update on where we stand on our boat purchase.
As we are packing up our belongings and making decisions about what to bring aboard, we asked Bill for some guidance on bedding and linens. In the process of providing feedback, he mentioned that there is another person interested in buying Rachel J. Slocum.
The other buyer wanted to move quickly, asking Bill to meet her in Florida during the middle of the coronavirus pandemic. Cruisers the world over are in lockdown. So it seems, there’s little point in rushing to get on the water. But the new buyer was selling her house and ready to go.
We had always taken a cautious approach, valuing health and safety over a transaction. So we replied to Bill that we wanted to move forward with our deal. If it provided peace of mind to him, we can wire the security deposit rather than have him worry needlessly about being pressured to make a sale, even at the cost of his own health.
Upon reading our response about our decision and timing, Bill wrote:
I agree that that there’s little point in moving quickly at this point in time. I’ve been in communication with my friends overseas and most everywhere is locked down tight. Many cruisers aren’t even allowed ashore. The Caribbean is locked down. Massachusetts still hasn’t re-opened, and if you did anchor off a beach here, there’d be nothing open other than supermarkets and drug stores. So we’ll just have to wait and see how things progress. But congratulations! At least you’re making the first move toward cruising. You can be absolutely sure I’ll do everything I can to make that dream come true for you.
How did we feel about this next step?
When he received the reply from Bill yesterday evening, Andrew smiled, pretty excited about taking this next step. In the wee hours of the morning, I woke up and read the email Andrew had forwarded from Bill, and I started to research what information we would need to complete the transaction.
The next morning, when Andrew woke up, I told him I read the email. He asked me, “How did you feel?”
I paused, answering, “Pretty good.”
“Aren’t you excited?”
“Sure, I’m excited,” I replied flatly.
Andrew raised an eyebrow.
Why the difference in reaction?
I speculate that my unchanged mood largely stems from the fact that I had mentally accepted that this was our boat. Wiring the money, finalizing the purchase agreement, and any other steps were just that: mechnical steps in a process and nothing more. In my mind, she is already ours. The steps were a mere formality.
Andrew’s happiness over this next step, seems to stem from believing subconsciously that there continued to be a series of go/no-go decisions. In his mind, anything could prevent his dream from becoming a reality. So rather than get his hopes up, he is more cautious. Every step becomes a celebration… or a potential devastation.
Glass half full or half empty
We mentioned this before when we first decided to sail around the world. On our whiteboard, we sketched out a plan. Over the course of a year, that whiteboard was a disappointing reminder to Andrew about the lack of progress we made. It wasn’t to me. I looked at the whiteboard with optimism about what steps needed to be taken for us to transform our lives.
The past day is a reminder of how Andrew and I differ in our approach to the same goal. He will celebrate each positive step. I will take each step in stride as a natural course of things.
I like the fact that we are getting better at observing ourselves and our interaction. This wards any potential for disagreement or tension.
Now, on to the next steps… to work on purchase agreement
Thanks for reading!
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