Knitting A Christmas Stocking: A Test of Patience

   By Denise Nelson

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I am not sure the people around me see me as a patient person. Just ten minutes ago I was yelling at my computer in frustration. An inanimate object was subjected to the harshest criticism I could muster at the top of my lungs. I didn’t say it made sense, I just said it happened. In this world of instant news, real time sharing social networking, instant potatoes (not that I would eat them), cake mixes, and smart phones how do we teach patience to the next generation or just learn it ourselves?

Everyday we are all subjected to situations that test the limits of our patience. Market checkers that decide you probably wanted tomato sauce not fresh whole tomatoes, so helped out by putting the tomatoes in the bottom of the bag. Drivers on the road that shouldn’t be thus making the horn my favorite accessory in a car. So many things are beyond our control in life that are helping us all fine tune our patience every day. And crafting is one of them.

As a knitter for example, patience is just part of any project, large or small. Where would the creativity and fun derive from if it wasn’t a process to make eachknit1 project? It wouldn’t be knitting, it would be shopping (not that I don’t participate in that sport). Popping into the local merchant and buying a new holiday stocking isn’t nearly as fun nor relaxing for me as making a new stocking.

Today I tested that supposed skill, patience, during an afternoon project. I have never knit from a chart before. How hard can it be? One box per one stitch. Each box with a different symbol indicating the stitch to use and/or color. After a stressful week I figured this was just what I needed to regroup. I thought.

I also have very little experience with socks, so followed each word of the pattern directions as if they were commandments from the gods themselves for twenty rows or so. That’s when I noticed that the writing on the stocking was backwards. Unless I hang it in front of a mirror backwards, I had to tear out and start over, again. Patience. Hard to believe that this is what I do to calm down, but it is. I was feeling a bit too smug having sorted out some challenges in my life. I never realized that my knitting, and all my crafting, was so effective at grounding me back to reality.

Knitters, and I suspect all crafters, have a different kind of patience than regular folk. If given a situation that involves a waiting period, we look at it as a break to work on our project. I’ve whipped out my stitching quicker than the PA system at the airport could announce my flight delay. Most of us knitters and stitchers enjoy these little breaks knit2rather than become annoyed at the wait. It is a skill built into the craft. I realized too, that I am a patient person given this is what I do for fun. I truly enjoy not only the fruits of my labors, but all the steps to complete each project. I am a crafter.

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