My husband and I were talking the other day about why hobbies where you make something are so satisfying. It seems to me like knitting and other crafts such as beading or jewelry making, scrapbooking, etc. are really on the rise right now. Or at least, those sections in my local craft store are growing larger and larger!
Why is this? What is driving us to take up these hobbies in droves?
As a knitter, I know my hobby isn’t cheap. I could buy a pack of socks for a lot less money (let alone the time it takes to knit a pair!) than I’d spend on a single skein of hand-dyed sock yarn. I could buy a sweater off the rack and wear it today, instead of buying yarn that I’ll have to knit (and let’s be realistic; knit, rip out, and re-knit significant portions of it) and that won’t be ready to wear until the middle of summer, when it’s 90° in the shade. And we won’t discuss knitting needles (cough, like my Signature Needle Arts habit, cough) or my never-ending quest for the ideal knitting bag…
I talked about why I choose the projects that I do. But if I all want is a somewhat mathematical challenge, why not just stick to Sudoko?
Well, for one thing… knitting is good stress relief. It’s hard to get upset about being stuck on hold or in a waiting room if you have something to keep you occupied, and knitting is ideal for that. But then again, so are paperback books!
I have this theory that, as employment in our society has become more service-based rather than manufacturing-based, we’re getting less of the “I made that” satisfaction out of our jobs. Spending the day on the phone or entering data in the computer doesn’t have quite the sense of accomplishment as, say, being a furniture-maker who can point to a beautiful dining room table at the end of the day as evidence of his hard work. And in these less-than-ideal economic times, layoffs are forcing many of us to work longer hours and do the work of more people for less pay, with the threat of unemployment hanging over our heads at all times. Not exactly a recipe for job satisfaction!
Even if your career is secure, satisfaction may still elude you. As a computer geek by trade, I could spend an entire day searching for a bug in a program. Even if I solved it, there was always another one waiting to be tracked down. If you’re a mom who stays home all day, you cook and clean and take care of children… and at bedtime, the kids have pulled out all the toys again, presented you with more dirty laundry, and told you that there were hungry (after they refused to eat the dinner you worked so hard to prepare).
The satisfaction I get from knitting is hard to put into words. I only know that gives me a sense of accomplishment and fulfillment, as well as enjoyment for the time I spend with my needles and yarn.
What do you think? Am I over-thinking this? Is knitting just plain fun? (Mind you, I can’t argue that point at all!)
Why do you knit?