The way a knitter does it

Yesterday slipped by me, almost entirely. I had coffee, I worked in the morning, I went to yoga, but with those notable exceptions, I slacked off with remarkable aplomb. (As a matter of fact, the only reason I went to yoga at the end of the day was so that I didn’t have to deal with the total guilt of my slothful afternoon.) I’ve been accused by many people over the years, of not really being very good at relaxing.  When we were first together, Joe used to tell me to relax.  We’d sit down in the evening, and he’d stretch out with a movie or a book and just lie there.  Now, that might sound relaxing, but just the thought of it gave me the screaming heebie-jeebies.  I’d pull out my knitting, or my spinning wheel – and put that together with the movie or the book, and Joe would look at me with my work and say "Baby, why can’t you just relax?" and I’d say I was, and he maintained that I had no idea what relaxing was, and that maybe I just didn’t know how to do it. 

This difference means that while I relaxed yesterday afternoon, I had my wheel, I had my knitting, and during what I think of as an afternoon off, an afternoon of complete sloth, I left a broad swath of fibre in my wake.  

Those beautiful singles from the other day got plied, and I’m thrilled and delighted with how it turned out. The singles matched up almost perfectly.

On the way into and out of the main stretches of colour, there’s a little beautiful mingling, and I’m quite taken with the whole thing. The roving was 60% merino, 20% yak, and 20% silk, and each of those lends a different quality to the skein.   The silk gives it a subtle shine and beautiful drape, the yak contributes a little halo and wonderful softness, and the merino brings its characteristic smooshy bounce.  I believed I was spinning this as a gift, but last night I thought of knitting it lengthwise into a scarf, making the most of those stripes. (I’ve not yet decided to keep it.  I’m toying with giving it away but insisting it be knit into a lengthwise scarf, but I’m wondering if that might not be a tiny bit pushy.)

When that was plied and washed and drying, I did my mandatory daily repeat on the baby blanket (details forthcoming) and then had another mitten spasm. 

I’m still a little obsessed with thinking up ways to knit these, they’re so fast and so fun and…

and now that our snow has finally arrived – I see no reason to really stop.  My mitten basket will be properly full when I’m done.  Warm hands for everyone. (Yes, by the way, there will be a pattern, and soon, and thank you for asking for it.)

I’ve almost finished a sock, and I nailed a few rows on the vest and… I think I’m starting to understand why what I think of as a relaxing afternoon doing nothing might be confusing to some. While it has taken me a long time to puzzle it out,  I think now that for a lot of people "relax" means "do nothing" and for me, it means "do what you like." The end result is that people are forever telling me to relax, and I’m forever saying that I already am, and then they’re forever sighing and shaking their heads a little sadly, because I just "don’t know how to relax" and am clearly destined to a lifetime of relentless, exhausting activity.

I’ve been reflecting a lot on this, and I believe now that this is another knitter/maker thing, that people who are makers  have an active relaxation that doesn’t look relaxing to non-knitters – but I suppose it could really be that I only think I’m relaxed but I’m not, so I’m asking around.  Have you been told that you don’t know how to relax?  Has someone told you that you should relax, when you already are relaxing? Do the non-knitter/makers in your life think that relaxing means doing nothing?  Have you heard – while you were already relaxing, that you should work on learning how to do it better?  Do you think you really don’t know how – or do you think they just don’t recognize it the way you do it, because it has no resonance for them? 

I’ll just relax here while you think about it.  I’m doing another mitten.

451 thoughts on “The way a knitter does it

  1. I have to say that my dear, sweet husband says things like “why don’t you relax and go knit?” as well as ” don’t you need more yarn?”. IT could inspire guilt in a lesser woman but I can take it.
    PS. I can’t wait for the mitten pattern(s). I hope you will include variations.

  2. Exactly! This is what I’ve been telling people for years- relaxing is doing whatever you want. Not the same as doing nothing. Glad you had a relaxing and productive afternoon.

  3. Beautiful yarn! If they were colors I could wear, I would totally be coveting that yarn!
    Fortunately the important people in my life realize that my knitting and stitching are my way of relaxing, so I don’t get any flak for it.

  4. I swear you’ve been eavesdropping in my house. I have three whole days off from both jobs, and the snow’s falling (finally, not too much,but enough), and I have a cup of tea and a book on tape and two knitting projects ( and a comfy chair to sit in while knitting and listening to my book), and I was just asked why can’t I just sit and relax. This from a person who can’t stop playing angry birds.
    Can’t wait for the mitten pattern! Oh ,and happy belated New Year!

  5. My daughter and I have had “days of nothing” since she was very little. This is confusing for some who think we mean days when we do nothing. Actually they are days when we do nothing that we don’t feel moved to do. They could also be called days with no scheduled activity….days of whimsically doing what ever you wish. I think doing whatever you like is the very definition of relaxation.

  6. I have anxiously been waiting for your mitten pattern to come out! They look like a most relaxing knit. 🙂
    And I don’t think I could even feel relaxed if I was just sitting with my hand stuck on “idle.”

  7. We all have different ideas of what is relaxing. Me, I like a good book or some knitting. My husband, he likes to play computer games. It’s all in how you look at it. I’m glad you were able to relax your way!

  8. I think it depends what you mean by “nothing.” I definitely relax by knitting, but I also can pass a lot of time lying around with a book, and I don’t consider that I’m doing “nothing” then either–I’m reading a book!
    The mittens continue glorious, especially the ones in cupcake colors.
    The autumn yarn is amazing. Better knit it up yourself and keep the scarf–it’s exactly your color scheme.

  9. Here’s what the dictionary says for “relax”:
    to become less tense, rigid, or firm.
    to become less strict or severe; grow milder.
    to reduce or stop work, effort, application, etc., especially for the sake of rest or recreation.
    to release oneself from inhibition, worry, tension, etc.
    I think knitting does all these for me. Yes, I am relaxing!

  10. I’m often told that I don’t know how to relax, watch tv or a movie, socialize or enjoy sports properly all because I do so while knitting. I disagree, I’m just a better multi-tasker, maybe even a mandatory one. If you want my full attention you better let me knit.

  11. No one has ever accused me of not knowing how to relax. Knitting or not. I am very good at being still.

  12. My job is very demanding and I get very little time off to “relax”. I find doing “nothing” makes me very anxious, while knitting relaxes me. My husband finds watching sporting events relaxing, while I just find it boring…but to each his/her own. My perfect day is to wake up early (before everyone else), make some coffee and sit in front of the fire and knit…very relaxing.

  13. It’s very possible that those people who do *nothing* to relax are only doing so because there is no activity they enjoy. (I can both fill my time with knitting/spinning/reading/whatever, or stare off into space and daydream, with equal facility, so I believe I have that whole “relaxation” thing covered.)

  14. Maybe if you tried to be slack-jawed and drool a little while you did it, the non-maker/knitters would see that you really are relaxed? (and you could always respond: “I’m so relaxed I’m drooling!” which would be pretty entertaining…)
    But in all seriousness, I think knitting is relaxing. It obviously recharges your batteries and makes you happy, so therefore I would term it “relaxing”. (of course, I omit things like over-due Christmas knitting from the relaxing list. Sort of like watching horror movies is not relaxing.)

  15. I am constantly told that I don’t know how to relax. I agree with you–I am most relaxed when I am doing what I enjoy. I am also told that I don’t know how to “rest”–I don’t really enjoy resting–it isn’t relaxing to me to lie/sit there thinking of all the things I could be doing with that “free” time! Love the mittens.

  16. knitting/crocheting is relaxing. 4 years ago i broke my right arm and couldn’t do either and went semi-crazy. seriously everyone was happy when i could use my hand again.

  17. I think that I am easily bored, and if I sat with nothing to do with my mind, let alone my hands, I would be restless and unpleasant and get into some kind of trouble! So relaxing, for me, is like you say–doing what I want to do, instead of what I need to do. I love to knit with friends, or knit with a book (only simple knitting) or knit with a movie. But I have found that I can’t just watch a movie. My hands need to go. I can just read, however. Reading is special. And I can knit complex things–colorwork or major cables–without anything else, although something to listen helps me concentrate. I keep having people tell me I work too hard. I just tell them that I am keeping myself out of mischief!

  18. Yes! Finally I understand why we’re relaxing/doing what we want and others are perplexed at our productive down time. Heck, I once spend an afternoon off warping a loom.. colourful sailor language included. don’t get me wrong, i love to read… but i love to read and knit much more. 😉

  19. This could have been written by me. I relax by knitting, reading, playing backgammon… Drives my people crazy sometimes, I hardly never do nothing. Not sure how its done 🙂
    Keep knitting

  20. I agree – relaxing is simply taking time for yourself and doing whatever makes you happy!

  21. I went on vacation with a boyfriend and his family and they were seconds away from pulling my knitting out of my hands because I wouldn’t “relax”…Luckily, I don’t have to speak to those people anymore.
    I have also been told that I’m antisocial! I’ll have you know, that I hate this band, the drinks are over priced and the only thing keeping me here is my knitting! So you drink your booze, and since I was knitting lace (therefore sober), I will be ready to drive you home!

  22. Holy cow, once again you have tapped into my psyche. In fact, I took up knitting partly because I was always fidgety as a child, so clearly this was my calling.

  23. So agree with you about relaxing! You and Joe sound just like me and my husband. Watching a movie with him, he falls asleep on the couch and I stay awake and enjoy the movie because I’m knitting. Without the knitting, I wouldn’t find the movie experience pleasurable (nor would I stay awake)!

  24. We’re building a fleece room in in the basement. This means the years of accumulated stuff previously stored there has to be dealt with. I’m sorting and shredding boxes and boxes of papers. It is NOT relaxing today but it will be most excellent in a few weeks 🙂
    …and I agree, doing nothing makes me twitchy.

  25. I relax with knitting and TV. Since I’m in front of the TV I don’t think anyone would say I’m not relaxing. I’ve always been a shamless TV watcher but now that I knit and spin I feel like its OK because I’m being productive at the same time!

  26. YES! To me, “relax” is do what I like! Finally, a concise definition! “Relax” is not “lay on the couch in a half-asleep stupor all afternoon,” like it seems to be for the rest of my family! Thank you, Stephanie!

  27. I have friends who have told me to put the knitting down, until they realize I’m much calmer and pleasant to be around if I get to play with yarn. Viva la relax revolution!

  28. Yes. This. Exactly. I have the same conversation with my husband ALL the time, and it drives me nuts. Yes, thanks, I’m relaxing and enjoying myself. No, I can’t just sit and watch TV. We relax in different ways — he still doesn’t get it, after 17 years.

  29. DH knows me well: when I’m stressed, he does his best to clear my schedule so I can have quiet time to spin or knit. His is the only opinion that matters, in my book. He has expressed envy that I can listen to TV and craft at the same time, since he has a harder time dividing his attention.
    If I’m sitting with my hands idle, I’m either exhausted or sick, and either way, I should go to bed. 🙂
    One of my resolutions is to make Saturdays for spinning (DH works that day), and he’s rearranged our gym schedule so Saturday is my one rest day; I only go out if I want/need to.
    Happy New Year!

  30. It does puzzle my fiancé sometimes that relaxing, for me, involves a pile of yarn or a stack of pattern books and and intense expression, but I think he’s starting to get it… some of the time.
    I look forward to the mitten pattern becoming available!

  31. I knit and read to relax. Quite a few years ago when teaching a knitting class I talked about how relaxing knitting is for me and hopefully would be for them. One of my students came back the next week and said she was so relaxed she went to sleep when she sat down to knit and didn’t get any knitting done.

  32. My question is this: why do some people think that doing nothing is relaxing? My best times are doing something creative while listening to an audio book. Alone.

  33. “do you think they just don’t recognize it the way you do it, because it has no resonance for them?” Yes, I do.

  34. My relaxing evenings that don’t involve knitting usually consist of putting on some music, or an old episode of Quantum Leap or something, setting the kitchen straight, and then cooking or baking something. Sometimes I try making something new, sometimes something old and trusted. After it’s all done, I tidy up. I don’t know why. The rest of my house can be in disarray but having a nice kitchen and tasty things just makes me incredibly happy and relaxed. *shrugs*

  35. I think that the hank you spun up should be a gift & I’m (ahem) willing to be your giftee. I also think that the dictionary definition of “relax” should be amended to include your definition. I relax by knitting & can’t figure out why others don’t get it, either.

  36. Sounds like my house too. I spent last weekend “relaxing” by organizing my craft area in the basement. I was serenely sorting yarn from fabric, organizing needles and notions, filing patterns. Durwood accused me of not knowing how to rest. What could be more restful than a tidy craft room? I think you’re onto something with your non-maker/maker distinction. I think I’ll go knit and listen to music, maybe that’ll look relaxing to he who is chopping veggies for our supper stew.

  37. For me, ralaxing involves “puttering”, which is doing whatever I feel like doing without an agenda or any requirement to accomplish something. So, overdue Christmas knitting doesn’t really fit into this category, but swatching, organizing the stash, thumbing through patterns and books, and just daydreaming about what do do with a particular yarn is really relaxing!

  38. I have the opposite problem. My husband seems to think that if I knit (most of the day) that I’ve accomplished nothing. I’ve recently crossed him off my knitting list. I can’t watch TV without knitting, and also can’t read without knitting (unless I’m in bed, lying down trying to go to sleep). I’d say you had a great day and accomplished a lot. Looking forward to the mitten pattern.

  39. I have had people tell me multiple times that I made them nervous while I was crafting and they were doing nothing. There was also one memorable occasion where I told a friend I was going to have a do-nothing afternoon, and he looked at me askance and said “But you don’t know HOW.” Oh, how we laughed.

  40. I’ve thought about this a lot since I relax with knitting in front of the TV. My mother OTOH relaxes by puttering around the kitchen, asking me where to put stuff, or reading the paper in front of the TV and then asking people to explain what’s going on on the TV. This makes it difficult for ME to relax, but it’s not a problem for her (bless her heart). She gets irritated when we tell her to relax, but the honest fact is we really want to say “let us relax”. I’m still working on that.

  41. I always need to be doing something with my hands, I take my knitting with me everywhere. That is how I relax.
    By the way – that yarn you spun is gorgeous!

  42. I can not WAIT for that mitten pattern! Might you be willing to reveal at least gauge and yarn requirements before its release? Just in case some of us want to be prepared to cast on right away?? 🙂

  43. Keep it. It’s the only way to combat startitis.
    On the relaxing side, I understand that making things is feeding the soul. But there’s a borderline, where making goes from relaxing and nurturing to driven, and then it no longer feeds your soul. That’s why I encourage you to keep the yarn, because part of relaxing is also doing something for yourself.

  44. Steph-
    I know exactly what you mean. My husband feels neglected an ignored if I do anything other that what he is doing. Watch TV? Ok, but no knitting. Him watch TV while I read a book or thumb through a magazine? Again h is totally neglected even though my foot is on his. Arrgh! Thanks for understanding.

  45. I have been told that when I spin, I spin too fast, too hard, too much, and spinning should be relaxing…but good grief, I’d fall out of my chair if I relax any more! And, hello, I knit while I’m laying down in bed. I know that I cannot knit in my sleep, so how much more can I relax?
    I think that people that tell me to relax need to take up knitting as a hobby, and then, they would relax and stop telling me to do so.

  46. Maybe it’s the “devil’s hands” info I was fed as a child? I ALWAYS have to have a little something going too.

  47. Relaxation is such a personal thing, isn’t it? For my husband, relaxation means playing golf or hockey (kill me now). For me, it means reading/watching my favourite shows/movies/cooking and/or knitting – or some combination of the above. Or sometimes it just means thinking about doing one or all of the above – exploring cookbooks/knitting books – those make for some pretty happy/relaxing hours for me, even if I have NOTHING to show for it.

  48. Relaxation is subjective. For example, at the beach my mother and my daughter both relax by laying still, frying in the sun. I would feel suffocated so I enjoy walking around looking for sea glass and pretty rocks. When it comes to relaxing, I think the end result is more important than the process anyway.

  49. Yup. While I can have completely non-active relaxation, most of the them that is accompanied by being sick or super dead tired (of the woke up at 2 a.m. and haven’t managed to get back to sleep variety). During most evenings, I watch television or join my husband in his videogames with my knitting, or a magazine in hand.

  50. sometimes knitting is relaxing. sometimes it is not.
    i am able to do absolutely nothing.
    i don’t think that knitting is doing nothing.
    my husband used to think that when i was knitting i was doing nothing.
    he no longer thinks that.

  51. My husband comments that I always pull out my knitting if I am going to be sitting anywhere for anything more than a couple of minutes. For some reason, he finds this especially interesting in the car. But he doesn’t seem to think it’s that I’m not relaxing. I think as long as I don’t expect him to do anything, he’s fine with whatever.

  52. Thanks to Violet at 3:00 PM for the definitions of ‘relax’. It helps to confirm that the feeling that knitting gives me is relaxation.
    Knitting helps clear the mind-chatter, and it alleviates any guilt I might have had about sitting and listening to music or an audiobook, or watching TV, because, hey, I produced something. I am finding the same beneficial effect from my rigid heddle loom, too.

  53. I grew up on a very small farm (in the family since 1790+) in central New Jersey with a number of younger siblings, a stay at home mother (who did many crafts, gardened, kept the books for dad’s business, etc) and a father with his own contracting/carpenter business and who also ran the farm. Relaxation/vacations were when the family worked together doing the gardening, the home repairs, etc.
    We watched TV, read a lot, and someone was usually making something – no one thinks that we weren’t relaxing.
    I am lucky that my husband (who grew up differently) doesn’t see my knitting as non-relaxing. The only time I am actually “doing nothing” is when I am very sick and yet I feel relaxed most of the time.
    Enjoy your “quiet” time and don’t let the rest of the world get to you. Don’t they know by now that without knitting you could be a tad difficult to deal with?

  54. Relaxing for me, like you, is knitting, weaving, spinning, doing what I like versus what I have to do.
    My husband is a professional illustrator and draws for other people 5-6 days a week for sometimes 12-15 hour long days. What does he do to relax? He sketches, he paints pictures, he gets to create art for the love of creating art and not something someone else is paying him to do.
    We all just relax in different ways.

  55. I’m going with “I think they just don’t recognize it the way you do it, because it has no resonance for them.” For example, I have been singing in church choirs for many years. Some time ago, an acquaintance commented that she didn’t see how I could do all the work to prepare for the service she had just attended. I replied that if it felt like work, I wouldn’t be doing it. Thinking about it later, I realized that I really need to sing; the physical and aesthetic experience is revitalizing and calming and fulfilling all at the same time.
    Just like knitting, eh?

  56. Sounds like a wonderful day! My darling husband can’t quite grasp that cooking is relaxing for me. He sees the chopping, the browning, the simmering and the cleanup, and not the smiling faces and warm, full tummies. To each his own!

  57. Oh my goodness, the yarn is gorgeous! If I were you, I could never part with it. Doing what I like sounds like a very relaxing thing to me. For the life of me, I don’t understand how people can just sit around and do nothing. That would drive me bonkers…

  58. me again. Reading some of the comments above about husbands and relaxation, etc. reminds me that while my husband doesn’t really question my preferred methods of relaxation, he does comment when I spend my personal money on things like cookbooks or more yarn, since he thinks I already have lots of them. I simply point out that I don’t comment on the way he spends his personal money – on playing golf or going to hockey games, etc. That’s why it’s personal money.

  59. Relaxing equals doing what I like with no pressure to finish or the need to dash out the door to something. Knitting is relaxing. Doing nothing can be relaxing, but it is not as satisfying.

  60. Let me put it this way…last evening was a relaxing evening for me: I put together a ladder bookshelf by myself (the instructions insisted that two people were necessary to do so – YOU’RE NOT THE BOSS OF ME!), cleaned house, cleaned out a small closet and organized the contents, gave the Tank a bath, reorganized my knitting project bags, then sat down and knit on a scarf while watching a documentary about women in Paris after WWI but before the Depression hit. I think you’re doing fine. (You’d see that you’d fit right in here with us in I-O-W-A, if your book tour ever brought you here. Just sayin’…)

  61. I’m the opposite. If I’m sitting & knitting, that’s seen as goofing off or being ‘too’ relaxed. “Isn’t there something useful you could do?” I’m glad you enjoy your ‘resting’ times.

  62. I am with you on the ‘knitter-maker’ thing. I can only relax when I am knitting, right brain left brain thing, I believe. What I know for sure is that if I am sitting I am knitting, and when I am knitting I am in a good mood. Now I need to learn to not feel guilty if I am knitting in the middle of the day, for fear that I should be doing something ‘more important’….

  63. My husband and have had the same conversation many times. He can just sit and stare into space quietly (this usually leads to a nap) while I covet the time I get to do the things I want to do. Funny, isn’t it?

  64. I quite agree that knitting is incredibly relaxing. It’s a kind of meditation with the rhythmic movement of hands, needles and yarn.
    I simply don’t understand why my husband finds it weird that I want to (and can) read my Kindle and knit at the same time!

  65. yes to all questions. I get told ALL THE TIME to relax, because no one in the family understands that, when I’m surrounded by wool and needles and patterns, or fabric and thread and patterns, I am relaxed. My husband gets it, my son does, but no one else in the family does. If I have to sit without knitting, that’s when I get tense.
    And for complete downtime without knitting? That’s called sleeping…

  66. I have to agree with you, relaxing is doing something that you enjoy doing. I am relaxing when I am knitting, sewing or reading. So much of my time is spent doing for everyone else and being their chauffeur, that if I get to just stay home and do what ever I want – that is relaxing.

  67. Relax to me means the same thing as to you — do what you would like to do without pressure. If that means that I want to relax by pulling out all my pattern books and dreaming up new things, or knitting, or playing WoW, or switching between all of the above, then that is what I want to do. Luckily, my family understands that – and I understand that not all of them need to have the same compulsion. If relaxing means falling asleep on the couch, go for it.

  68. The yarn you spun is gorgeous! I would have a hard time gifting that as well.
    I think relaxing is doing anything you feel like doing at the time(even if it is nothing) that doesn’t cause you to curse angrily and anything that procrastinates the said things that do cause you to curse angrily.
    Personally, I like knitting as a way to relax. Whether I’m at home or out with friends. I say keep doing what you’re doing because it works for you.

  69. Doing nothing == ill.
    You’re a long time dead. I can’t help feeling that a lot of people are wasting huge swathes of their lives doing nothing. How is that relaxing?? It drives me insane.

  70. I had a friend — a rather wound-up, excitable, easily-upset friend — who was actually told by her therapist that she should KNIT MORE, because (and the therapist figured this out from descriptions of how her cats would give up and go meow at her husband when she was knitting) knitting served as meditation for her. It certainly serves that purpose in my life too.

  71. That yarn is absolutely gorgeous! How can you even think of giving it away?
    I’m someone who is usually busy, even if it’s just knitting or reading or blogging. I can’t just sit and watch TV unless I have some knitting to do. Still watching for that mitten pattern, now the weather in the UK has at last turned colder….

  72. Yep, I’m with you Steph. I like TV and movies well enough, but I can’t just sit there and gape. I like to be doing things, and my idea of relaxing is, precisely, doing what I want, not doing “nothing”. Maybe it’s a Mum-to-three-kids thing?

  73. Yarn is incredible – I vote for keeping it and knitting the scarf. On relaxing – my husband and I are exactly like you and Joe. I think that’s one of the reasons I picked up knitting – couldn’t sit still and “waste” time on a movie – if my hands are moving then I can actually relax and enjoy the sitting still time.

  74. Knitting equals relaxing to me! I simply cannot sit still without a pair of socks on the needles. It’s taken my family a while but I think they’ve finally figured out that the best way to calm me down is to hand me my needles!

  75. I personally don’t find making to be relaxing – sometimes it’s creative and sometimes it’s just doing what’s necessary to get the thing I want. But I don’t see any reason why it can’t be relaxing for someone else.
    Many years ago my boyfriend (now husband) and I took a trip to Yellowstone with his parents. We left late in the afternoon and drove from SLC to Jackson. The next morning we drove through the Park to Cody, Wyoming. The next morning we went (very briefly) to the museum in Cody, then drove all the way back to SLC. His mother said, ‘Oh, that was such a relaxing trip!” I felt like I needed to go lie down with a cool cloth on my forehead.
    Whatever floats your boat. (Just let me float mine the way I like.)

  76. I hear this constantly, right down to the head shaking. They don’t get that “doing nothing” is completely stressful. Relaxing is doing something calming and productive. For me, that is knitting or running.

  77. I was always told by my now X-husband to relax. If I relax I sleep. I have to keep busy. I read a lot but really love the audio books so that I can knit and “read” at the same time. I knit while I watch TV. I relax while I stir up something in the kitchen….Gosh! You are right!!! Relaxing is doing what you want to do whether it is active or inactive. Yeup, we all have our own definitions of what relax means.
    Love the yarn you spun! Another relaxing thing for me to learn to do!!! 😉

  78. Initially, that spin turned out awesomely well – woot!
    In terms of relaxing or not … I think a lot of it is about choice and agency. You may find it slothful to knit away an afternoon; I know many others (mostly non-knitters) who would agree with you. But it also energizes you, because you’re doing exactly what you want. Not on anyone else’s timetable or whims or likes or dislikes … just your own. That is indeed luxury.

  79. I totally understand! Now if I could just figure out how to play video games with our neighbor kids and knit at the same time, life would be perfect. It’s all those buttons you have to push…

  80. I live in a house full of gamers (myself included) so none of us *ever* sit and do nothing. For all of us, relaxing is just as you say- doing whatever we like. I suppose for some people, “whatever they like” is doing nothing, but I can’t imagine it! I’m always gaming or knitting when I’m relaxing!

  81. I’m with you 100% People are always telling me that they are exhausted when they hear what I did ‘today’, on any given day. Most of what I do is knitting, spinning, playing with fiber, working in the garden, walking. I find these activities MUCH more relaxing than sitting and doing nothing. I stress when I’m doing nothing…. It’s a zen thing I think.

  82. My mom has always been a needleworker. I remember her doing needlepoint (a lot) and crochet (a little) and then discovering quilting (her true love), so from the time I was little just sitting and doing NOTHING would make me antsy. I’d read during commercials, and then when I showed an interest, I started doing my own crafty type stuff. I did cross stitch, and made those braided bracelets in high school. I’ve tried needlepoint and quilting, before FINALLY discovering knitting about 8 years ago. Now I’m NEVER without AT LEAST one project with me at all times. And JUST sitting in front of the TV NEVER happens.
    Relaxing to me is doing nothing critical. I can knit or read or be TOTALLY sloth-like and nap, but I’m usually doing SOMETHING, it just has to be something I love like knitting and not something I have to do like homework.

  83. My perfect idea of relaxing is doing what I want – and if that means knitting then so be it! If it also means sitting in a porch chair and just listening to the birds, then that’s cool too. Either way, people should just back off. After all, different strokes and all that lol.

  84. Yes! I get told “to just relax” when I am knitting, and I always respond that I don’t find it relaxing if I don’t have something for my hands to be doing.
    Which is not to say that knitting is always relaxing (because it certainly is NOT), but there’s little better for calming the nerves than curling up on the couch with a project that’s going well, a good book and a cup of tea.

  85. Knitting is relaxing. It lowers your blood pressure and it is very meditative. There is nothing like watching a movie on tv and knitting at the same time. I roll hanks into balls with my swift and ball winder and set everything up on the coffee table and feel very relaxed after an evening of watching something on tv while working on my “projects” and spending time with my DLH. I don’t think he minds that I’m not just sitting and doing nothing, because he’s happy that I’m doing something I love to do! What a guy!

  86. Sitting there doing nothing and at best passively allowing the fruits of someone else’s creativity entertain you (ie, just sitting there watching TV or the like) leaves me unrelaxed and stressed. It’s the act of creating and the happy anticipation of what I’m going to do with it and for whom that makes everything feel better. Knitting IS the relaxing.

  87. Looks like you know how to relax to me! I can’t think of a more relaxing way to spend the afternoon.
    And yes, I have been told that I need to learn to relax. Silly people clearly can’t see that I already am…

  88. You sound like me. Relaxing is doing what I want which in most cases is going from knitting a complicated lace pattern then mittens or a scarf (something mindless) then spinning and then beading. At the end of the day I am happily tired and feel great at all I accomplished. Wish everyday could be like this but I have to work so if I get one of these days a month I know I am very lucky.
    Anxious to read your new book – it is ordered and waiting for it’s delivery.
    May you have many more relaxing days.

  89. I’d add to “doing what I choose”, “without a deadline on it”. Times you have to go back to duties (fix dinner, go to bed, go to work) don’t count as deadlines, they’re just annoyances.

  90. To be honest relax to me is both (or either) doing nothing or doing knitting, spinning, waving, quilting, dressmaking, soft furnishing, rag rugging, cooking or whatever. It depends on the sort of stress, the amount of time I have, what has created the stress in the first instance and many other factors. BUT at the end of the day, even if I sit there doing NOTHING there is an inner eye looking out for something to make, even if I don’t always pick it up. Relaxing always means having access to making even if making doesn’t occur.

  91. Nope. Though, it has been suggested I should take some time to sew or knit. Apparently, the importance of my crafting time to my mental state is very apparent.

  92. Ok, this is the most absolutely perfect post!!!!!! I am being told all the time that I don’t know how to relax, mostly because I relax like you do….with things I love to do. I can’t wait to pass this along to all my relatives that don’t get it. Thanks so much!!

  93. Relaxing=knitting to a knitter!!
    I can’t imagine that doing absolutely nothing as I sit would relax me!
    Your handspun yarn is just gorgeous!I think you should keep it so that you can knit it into the scarf you think it should be!

  94. I have absolutely been accused of not knowing how to relax – because of exactly what you described. My man can lay down with a movie and be happy. I must be watching movie, knitting and writing down a new pattern to be happy. It’s totally a creative person thing 🙂

  95. we have the opposite issue in our house. If I’m sitting on the couch with a project in hand and the television on, My husband sees it as a waste of time, I could be doing something more productive (ie. cleaning and being very tidy, fixing something, basically anything that doesn’t involve sitting). I’m the one always telling him to relax, sit down for 10 min, read a book. “too much to do” is the response I get as he scurrys about.It’s to the point where I feel guilty if I work on any projects before 9pm, my designated “down time”.

  96. I agree with many of the other commenters – relaxing is different for everyone. Just sitting and watching TV makes me crazy/bored. Sitting with my knitting while watching TV makes me happy and relaxed. I think of vacations in the same way – some people are happy to sit on a beach. To me, vacation is doing something different than the normal routine, but just sitting would be boring.
    Love the mittens!

  97. No doubt you’ve been told a million times at this point, but I relax exactly as you do–with something I like to do, usually knitting. Some people are content to sit still. I am absolutely not. Relaxing, in my mind, is an emotional state of mind as opposed to a physical state of being.

  98. I don’t know if my family thinks I can’t relax because they (thankfully) keep this opinion to themselves, but I think relaxing means doing whatever you like. Reading a book is not doing “nothing”, but it is considered “relaxing”. Knitting is, too, even if it also happens to be your job. I say relax however you like!

  99. When I was a little girl, when we would watch cartoons, or a movie, I would always pull out something to do. Friendship bracelets, beaded saftey pins, fashion plates. There had to be something to occupy my hands, or I felt restless.
    As an adult that has translated into knitting. I feel relaxed when sitting with a project in my hands, soothed by the possibilities ahead of me, and calmed in knowing I will have something tangible for the time spent relaxing. I have been told forever that relaxing doesn’t “count” if you’re doing something, but I disagree completely. It’s all in how you choose to center yourself, and what centers you.

  100. I had a roommate in college who used to tell me to relax because I was knitting while watching television instead of just sitting. I was relaxed and thought nothing of it. Now I feel guilty when I just sit and knit because I’m relaxing. Maybe I should tell people it really is work so that I don’t feel guilty for my brand of relaxing. 🙂

  101. It used to be that my DH didn’t see knitting/needlework as relaxing. He would ask me why I ‘can’t just relax and watch TV’. Him with the remote in his hand changing the channel every three minutes. ACK! That makes me tense.
    He has learned that knitting/needlework is my relaxation and without it I am not a happy camper. That it’s not about the end product for me, but about the act of knitting, the feel of fiber through my fingers, the repetitive motion of my hands, looking at the fabric and admiring it coming off the needles. After 30 years, I think he’s figured it out.

  102. I always have knitting when I watch a movie or tv. I agree with you that relaxing is doing what you want instead of what needs to get done. If I’m making a big pot of soup and some bread because I’m in the mood to do that then it is relaxing. If my husband and son are searching the fridge saying “what’s for dinner” and I need to stop and feed them then that cooking is not relaxing. I think we each have our own way. Glad you got a few days of relaxation in and hope you have some more coming your way soon! I’m also looking forward to your mitten pattern. The look like so much fun!

  103. Ah, so good to know that that others relax in the same way that I do! Yea for relaxing that involves creating!

  104. I say hurray! to the people who say that relaxing means ‘do what I want” instead of ‘do nothing.’ I’m one of them,too.

  105. I often fall asleep when I’m knitting. How much more relaxed can I be? There are days when I’m frustrated with my project but knitting is my way of relaxing, nothing else soothes me as well!

  106. For years, although I knew I enjoyed knitting, I scarcely did it, because I associated it with having time to relax – and that time never seemed to be available. Finally (and reading one of your books had a lot to do with it)I figured out that I could knit in order to relax. That basic discovery has been life-changing and does a lot to keep me healthier than I might otherwise be. Thank you!

  107. I’m with Violet @ 3:00. I totally view knit time as relaxing time. I’ve been on a Harlot inspired sock marathon so your mitten pattern would be timely and a nice change.

  108. How is it possible to sit and watch tv without doing anything else? (Disclaimer: I have Attention Deficit Disorder) I find it impossible to truly enjoy anything – tv, movies, lectures, audiobooks – unless my hands are somehow occupied. It’s why I take so many notes (or do so much story writing) in class. In order to relax, I have to have both hands and brain occupied. The only exception is reading. I can just read. I can’t just watch or listen.

  109. Ben Franklin said that “leisure is the time for doing something useful”. This obviously validates the practice of knitting to fill leisure and queue times (waiting for the doctor, dentist, kids, sitting on a plane, etc.).
    Sure beats solitaire on the cell phone (although that does seem to work well when waiting at the grocery store!)

  110. They just don’t know that our minds are in a trance when we knit. Even if we are carefully following a pattern, it is completely selfish me-time in our heads, doing what we love. Do they like it better when we close our eyes and knit in our near sleep? Does that make them feel we are more relaxed?

  111. I feel this describes my definition of relaxing exactly! I need the knitting to relax, that I have time to knit means I don’t have anything else that I really have to do.
    PS: Love the mittens and the handspun! Knit a lengthwise scarf and keep it for yourself 🙂

  112. My husband plays video games to relax, I knit, weave, or sew…. if you have to be doing nothing to relax, I think we both fail miserably! 😉
    Also I guess hiking, walking, riding and other fun things don’t count either…. silliness 🙂

  113. Knitting while watching TV…yes, I like TV and I’m still semi-literate…is relaxing for me. Sitting doing nothing is not. My mother’s variant of telling me to relax is, “I don’t know how you have the patience for that!” to which I reply I have no patience, which is WHY I knit/spin/crochet.
    Of course, she’s the one who, over Christmas, told me that the Ice Queen I was knitting (in a lovely aqua with matching crystal bicones) looked like a lampshade, but added kindly that it was pretty, nonetheless. *sigh*

  114. I actually have been reading the past couple days about the scientific reasons that knitting makes you a more relaxed person. Something about the repetitive motion, hand eye coordination, and the chemicals released by the colors and textures of yarn make you more relaxed, both while you are knitting and in general if it is a persistent habit (I have no idea if it’s possible for it to be otherwise). So really, you could say that you are relaxing more effectively as you are encouraging your body to make the adjustments required for true, long lasting relaxation and release of tension 🙂

  115. LOVE the mitten using (what appears to be) a chocolate background w/ pink and cream accents. Gorgeous. Makes me think of a cupcake for some reason. Cupcake Mittens – hooray!

  116. Another perspective on this is that some people really need to have their hands busy to keep their brains engaged. A few years ago I took a course “Teaching and Learning” related to my job and one of the most interesting think I learned is that I must be a “kinesthetic learner”. I am most focused when my hands are doing something. (I guess this explains why I knit that Aran sweater in my morning college Sociology class probably much to the disgust of the prof) Hence, if I am at a lecture, I need to write (or knit) to stay focused.
    I also grew up in a family that had no patience for “doing nothing”. After supper my Dad (who had worked all day at a physically demanding job) retired to his basement shop to tinker and make or fix things. My Mum sewed and of course the kids did homework. Reading, however, was a valued pastime, though I did learn to knit and read at the same time.

  117. Hooray, mittens! I have yarn all picked out and ready for your pattern release!
    I am a spinner, too! Do you have any tips for how you split that roving into nearly equal pieces? When I split roving, no matter how careful I am, I always get a few thicker strips or thinner strips…always! How did you make it work?

  118. I was a figgity kid, always needed something to keep my attention and keep me out of trouble. As an adult Knitting has become my zen. I sit, I knit, and I go off to that place, that blissful place where all the cares of the day just fall away from me. I find knitting extremely meditative. If I’m watching a movie or talking with friends or listening to music, I am enjoying myself and channeling that joy into my stitches so it’s like the knitting is being created out of my experience at that moment. Like the stories of the gods breathing out the universe only on a MUCH smaller scale. I’m not just knitting, I’m manifesting. 🙂

  119. Yep, the makers relax when they’re making things. I’m lucky in that my husband 100% understands that sitting and watching tv, or just doing nothing drives me INSANE. Want to make me freak out? Insist that I sit someplace very quietly doing absolutely nothing. In short order, I’m chewing the furniture into new shapes just to keep sane. Some people apparently don’t have this ‘problem’ and are perfectly content in a life of 70% sloth with no sense of accomplishment. I’m not one of them either.

  120. One semester in college, in my pre-knitting days, I left the private institution I’d been attending, moved into my parents’ garage, and took full course load at the community college down the street. I also picked up a full time job at a record store. My mother, expressing concern over the breakneck pace I’d been keeping for these few months, told me she’d really like to see me do something for myself. I was baffled. I was taking classes I enjoyed, singing in two choirs, working at a job I loved, and studying nightly in a local coffee shop with live music. I was living the best life a 19-year-old with my interests could live, and of course I was doing it all for me! She has always said that I was the kind of kid who liked to be busy, but somehow, that didn’t translate into her understanding of me as a young woman.
    In short, yes, my relaxing looks a bit odd to some people, too.

  121. I think it ties in with the people who ‘don’t have time to knit’. That’s because they’re doing NOTHING!! I could never do nothing. Being engaged in something is relaxing to me. I would go stir crazy ‘just’ watching the TV.

  122. I can’t just ‘do nothing’. This is not relaxing at all to me. Knitting and spinning is my reward to myself. The urge to make something is a part of my soul – whether it be knitting, spinning, gardening, writing, cooking. When I can immerse myself in my soul – that’s when I’m relaxed.

  123. I’d love to hear even more details on the lovely yarn…specifically, how did you spin it? How was the fiber prepared? I’m a newbie spinner. 🙂 xoa

  124. YES YES YES! Although sometimes I wonder how do-nothing relaxers can seriously be relaxed without there being a tangible result of the relaxation, which then makes me wonder whether I really am relaxed when making something or if I just need to be productive in order to not feel guilt.

  125. Sounds pretty relaxing to me. And no, nobody has ever told me I don’t know how to relax.

  126. So happy to find put that once again I am not alone!!
    I am not a driven person, in fact I think I am rather lazy but I can not sit still and do nothing or “relax” and am often told to relax.
    Especially by the current beau who is happy to lay on the couch & watch TV or a movie. Drives me crazy to do that…have to be knitting or something.
    Am with Steph on this one… think relaxing is doing whatever you want to do.

  127. My husband thoroughly understands that my knitting and embroidery are relaxing to me and when I’m stressed often says: Honey why don’t you go stitch while I…get some wine…start supper…walk the dog…start this laundry, etc. We have lots of makers in my family, too, and they (and their spouses) all get it.

  128. My dearest love will suggest that I knit when frustrated or needing a break. He knows me so well.
    Knitting clears my mind. Every stitch I make is a little bit of therapy.

  129. Everyone I know realizes that I am knitting or doing hand sewing at any time that my hands are not otherwise occupied. I truly enjoy knitting and sewing; however, my hands just don’t how to behave when they are not occupied. It’s really a matter of not knowing what else to do with my hands.

  130. Just two nights ago, my mother-in-law was staying over. After a long day, I got home, sat down with the family and pulled out my knitting…Ahhhh…
    And she asked, “Oh, so you’re going to work now?”
    I’m all, ????. Uh no.

  131. I am often told to relax.Once in a while my kids sigh and say, “poor mom works so hard.” Little do they know I’m having a blast!

  132. Relaxing? I agree one, no two hundred percent. Relaxing is getting to do something you love without interruptions and no guilt. Everybody tells me I need to relax, but getting to spend time knitting is a true joy–and I am jealous of those who get to do so at their leisure. I am still in the working force and only dream of the days when I can sit the afternoon away knitting without a list of to dos running through my mind.

  133. After years of raising children my idea of relaxing is to be busy doing my knitting or stained glass and yes there are people in the world who think I don’t know how to relax and have fun. Silly people. I have to confess that I do have some residual guilt that I enjoy the knitting or chore so much it must not be a “chore”. Ha – now that is the key to a happy life.

  134. Why yes and I finally came up with something that elicits silence only. I just say I’ll rest when I’m dead.

  135. My husband is very understanding, and totally understands when I’m stressed that the best thing he can do is push me to knit or cook – my two relaxing activities. I’m like you, an active-relaxer. If I’m not doing something, it’s tense-inducing, not relaxing. The only time I do *nothing* “make-ish” is when I read, and that’s only when I’m *so* stressed that I need to escape from life, completely, for a while (not too often, thankfully). I don’t understand how other people *can* feel relaxed when they aren’t doing something. That’s just weird!

  136. A few years ago I was utterly confused by my new roommate’s after work routine. He would come home, grab a beer, sit down and drink it. That was it. He just sat there drinking a beer, no knitting, no book, no television, just enjoying his beer. How could he do that without getting restless?

  137. Yes, I’m definitely with you on this one. I’m a doer/maker and I love a day when I can create something whether it be sewing, knitting, baking, soap making, you name it. There isn’t enough time for it all, so the time free for these activities is what I would call relaxing!

  138. I actually have a problem where I’ve spent the past several years so caught up in other things that I’ve been unable to focus on finishing anything, and now I have a huge, stressful backlog of projects that need doing across several different hobbies. We’re talking my to-do list has something like 40 things on it. So if I spend even a moment doing “nothing” I feel like I’m wasting time because I could be working on this or that, and that’s what’s stressful to me. Sometimes I really do need to just rest and play solitaire or something, but even knowing that, I feel guilty.
    I’m fixing this right now by keeping a close eye on my schedule, and keeping a series of self-imposed organizational rules to keep myself from starting new things I won’t be able to handle. I am hoping that by this summer, I will have cut my list down to only a few projects for each hobby, and then my hobbies will be relaxing again instead of stressful. I really do feel best when I’m making something. I’m just incredibly discouraged by this mountain of things I have to do.

  139. I think one of the problems is that people equate “relaxing” and “resting.” As resting is the opposite of doing something purposeful or productive, when we knit we are not resting. Hence people think when we knit we are not relaxing. So I figure knitters who are judged to “not know how to relax” have people wanting them to “rest.”
    Then we get the knitting paradox where some non-knitters cannot understand that the time spent knitting is productive. That somehow knitting is a luxury you can do when you don’t have other obligations.
    So when knitting you are either being too productive or not productive enough. I figure that knitters know their own balance and are better people for it.

  140. Ummmmmm – YES!
    Relaxing = Cup of tea, good TV show or Movie, knitting!
    I’m with you. Relaxing means doing what I want.
    PS – LOVE the mittens

  141. I come from a family of ‘makers’. So can’t remember anyone telling me to relax when I already was. Fully believe that WE are the ones who truly know how to Relax! Hugs to all, Paula

  142. Definitely to me, relaxing is doing what I want. Knitting and spinning are so relaxing to me that I sometimes fall asleep doing them!

  143. I relax and knit. But I can also relax and be doing something productive(like making stitch markers for my store. Really its like beauty. Its in the eye of the beholder.
    Also, are you having a flash back to the Apple Bohus, because those mittens remind me of Bohus designs

  144. I distinctly remember when I realized that my mother was very good at relaxing and I wasn’t, at least not in that same way. She was also a “maker,” and managed to run a household, make our clothes, paint walls, redecorate, garden, and maintain a well-read status for many years. But a couple times a day she would simply sit and stare out the window for about 10-15 minutes. I could never do that, and marveled at her ability to literally do nothing. But I’m not unhappy about it – I’m with you: knitting or doing anything else I really like, is relaxing.

  145. Yes, knitting can be relaxing , but nothing beats snuggling in bed with a book, especially with a book. Actually, I’m no that good at just sitting without a good book or conversation, but I’m ADHD, so I don’t sit still very well.

  146. A change is as good as a vacation. –American Proverb
    “We find greatest joy, not in getting, but in expressing what we are . . . . Men do not really live for honors or for pay; their gladness is not the taking and holding, but in doing, the striving, the building, the living. It is a higher joy to teach than to be taught. It is good to get justice, but better to do it; fun to have things but more fun to make them. The happy man is he who lives the life of love, not for the honors it may bring, but for the life itself. –R.J. Baughan (Written in a day when “man” and “he” meant “humankind”. ;o)
    You know how to relax in possibly the best way ever. ‘Nough said. :o)

  147. I bring my knitting to work to relax during my breaks. I find the rhythm of knitting almost hypnotizing. Interestingly, I’ve had a couple of co workers that I haven’t worked with for awhile due to rotating schedules, excited to watch me knit on my break because they missed watching me knit as it is so relaxing for them!

  148. To me, relaxing is doing whatever in the world I want to do that does not involve housework, work work or looking after children. I can spend long periods of time sitting with one or both of the Chihuahua Brothers on my lap and looking out the window, which inevitably ends in all of us taking a nap. I can sit and read for hours and hours, again with one or both of the Brothers. Likewise knitting and crocheting. My new love, making soap, is a bit more active than any of these, but to me is still a relaxing way to–well–relax! Alas, the Chihuahua Brothers prefer my relaxation to take the form of sitting in a comfy chair …

  149. My husband knows that if I am relaxing without my knitting (or something) I am likely unwell in some way. He’ll actually get little freaky about it. It’s pretty cute.

  150. Being told to ‘relaaax!’ when I am clearly relaxing (while knitting or beading) is the 3rd Most Irritating Comment Made to Crafters.
    The 2nd Most Irritating Comment Made to Crafters is: ‘Oh wow! I’d never have the patience to do that!’ (I believe you’ve pointed this out already, Stephanie… 🙂 ) It’s very passive-aggressive, that one. It seems like the person making the comment is saying that she’s a klutz and unskilled, but what she’s really saying is – ‘what you are doing is worthless in my eyes’.
    The 1st Most Irritating Comment Made to Crafters: ‘Goodness. *Someone* clearly has too much time on their hands!’ Said archly and with the clear implication that you are a frivolous dilettante who fiddles about while others do actual, you know, Work. I get that a lot. Usually just after I mention that I’m knitting socks.
    I’m an unpaid stay-at-home-mum. My scanty knitting time is snatched (sometimes, literally) between scraping poo off cloth nappies and from the very hands of 13 month olds. If I want to do something I enjoy, I *make* time to do it.

  151. Same same. I’m a maker, and I take after my dad, who’s been told he “doesn’t have a half a second of rest in his ass.” 😉

  152. I have been on dr. mandated bed rest since the beginning of January and have been knitting like mad. My boyfriend is constantly telling me to rest and relax. I keep reminding him that my knitting is the only thing keeping me sane while I am stuck in bed.

  153. Yes! This is exactly right! On any given weekend, my idea of relaxation probably looks something like: refinish dining room chairs, knit sister’s birthday present, muck around with the sewing machine, try a new bread recipe, finally make soap, plan garden. Oh. Actually, that’s this weekend. So much relaxing to do!

  154. You have it exactly right with one teensy caveat. I will use an example that you can throw back at folks who don’t think your choices are “relaxing”.
    That example is golfing. How many people claim that they relax by playing golf? And how many of those folks get frustrated or even enraged because they really aren’t relaxing – they are pushing themselves or competing or in other ways NOT mentally relaxing.
    So doing what you want can and should be a perfectly legitimate form of relaxation. Until you pile up expectations or make it a kind of task to order (think Xmas knitting). Then maybe not so much…

  155. If I were any more relaxed I’d be in a coma and knitting is what makes that possible for me. Non-knitters don’t understand and I’m fine with that.
    Can’t wait for that mitten pattern!

  156. Yoga is actually another example. It’s not that common, but I’ve done yoga with folks that approach it as a kind competitive/fitness thing where they are pushing themselves to stretch further, to really nail that pose. And not in a way that is about trying to simply do the correct pose, but with more of a competitive athlete’s perfectionism. They miss the point of yoga thereby (IMO) and are definitely NOT relaxing.

  157. I think you’re right about makers finding their making relaxing – it’s what we do for pleasure, so of course we are relaxing when we do it! I have not, however, had people tell me that I’m not relaxing when I’m sitting in my favorite chair with my knitting – I think one of the reasons you get that is because it is also connected to what you do for a living, so people see it as your work and they think you cannot possibly be relaxing while you are “working.” They don’t understand that, while the writing part may be considered actual work, the knitting part (so you have something to write about) is pleasure.

  158. I am constantly being told the same thing. If I sit and do nothing, I get jittery and anxious. I actually turned around a mile away from my house this morning on the way to work because I hadn’t put my sock knitting in my bag. Now, mind you, I was driving to and from work and had a lunch meeting where the knitting is frowned upon, but I instantly felt better with my knitting along. You just never know! 🙂

  159. I can relax by taking a nap or I can relax by knitting. I do not find tv relaxing if I am not reading a book or knitting. I want those mittens —-the pink brown and raspberry ones are calling out to me

  160. I think knitting ALLOWS me to relax. My Scots mom thought we always had to be doing something useful, so now when I knit while watching a DVD or day-dreaming, it is okay. 🙂
    By the way, partially because of your solid endorsement of the iPad just before the Winter holidays, I now have an iPad on the way. 🙂 It will assist in my relaxation. lol

  161. My future father in law thinks that I knit because I’m angry which in all fairness is sometimes true. But most of my non-knitters have gotten to the point that they can’t relax around me unless I’m knitting, they need my repetitive motion to believe that I am also calm and “resting”.

  162. I too have been accused of not knowing how to relax as I knit, sew, look up recipes, generally do what, as you say, I’d like to do during times when others are just blissfully “relaxing”. I’ve even been accused of being “not present” because I am “doing something” while I’m supposed to be relaxing/spending time with someone.
    I finally figured it out. I’m the proud granddaughter of a wonderfully gifted knitter, sewer, quilter who never, ever had idle hands. And for that I’ll be ever greatful. She taught me everything I know. Including how to “relax”.

  163. My husband says that all the time. The thought of sitting on the couch without my knitting gives me sweats. Love, love the new color combinations for the mittens.

  164. Yes!!! My husband asks me all. the. time. why I can’t just “sit and relax” while I’m knitting. Because it makes me crazy, that’s why!! Hand me my knitting needles please!
    I’m glad he can spend hours and hours playing video games (barf!) but I have a hobby that makes me things. I love making things! It’s productive AND relaxing! 😀

  165. Beautiful yarn!!And more mittens, I am so excited for that pattern!! I have all these colors combinations running through my head!!

  166. Sloths have been telling me to relax my whole life. I will not turn off my mind and/or hands and slow down for Pete’s sake. Let them get early dementia. No thank you.

  167. When I’m told I should relax. I answer back then give me some knitting/spinning time. Hope I get to relax with a hat and some plying this weekend. 😀

  168. If you can give that yarn *away*.. I will be impressed. It was beautiful. I totally get what you mean about “relaxing” means doing what you like. Knit on… 🙂

  169. I explain all the time that doing nothing at all makes me very tense. Knitting is one of the most relaxing (usually) things that I do.

  170. You’re *totally* right – relaxing means being able to do exactly what you want! And your spinning is beautiful – can’t wait to see it knit up!

  171. Love your spinning. Gorgeous color way. I am so ready for that mitten pattern have a bag of yarn just calling out to that pattern. As for relaxing…I wouldn’t call my knitting relaxing as I usually have to concentrate pretty hard on it. But I would call it fun. And it makes me very happy. I feel productive and I love to feel productive while watching tv. Thanks for blogging. Love reading your posts.

  172. Everybody has there own form of relaxing , and I don`t think anybody gets anybody elses style of relaxing . The yarn is lovely , and the mittens are charming .

  173. The mittens are beautiful! So’s the yarn. Yes, I’ve been told to sit still and relax. I can’t. Knitting, spinning, weaving – those are relaxing to me. Watching TV without doing something fibery feels like wasted time.

  174. before knitting I relaxed doing nothing. Now I relax knitting. These days I feel more relaxed. We know better than they do about relaxation.

  175. My boyfriend completely doesn’t understand that relaxing for me means doing something crafty. He’s often rather exasperated that I insist on knitting instead of following his command to “just watch the movie.” He complains that I don’t cuddle him enough because I’m too busy knitting 🙂 But I get all squirrely if I try to JUST watch a movie!

  176. I always say that when I’m going to relax, I am going to r-e-l-a-x..(do nothing) but I always end up knitting. It is relaxing, so when someone says why don’t I relax, I tell them that knitting soothes me, even if it’s stressful. Non-knitters don’t get it.

  177. You are right!! Relaxing means doing what you want when you want to. Doing nothing isn’t relaxing, it’s boring.

  178. That yarn is beautiful, and if you can even contemplate giving it away, then that must be a really special person! I couldn’t do it. I love the pink mittens! As for the relaxing bit, I totally agree with Margaret at 3:48 – it is meditative for me, too. And Marta at 6:31, LOL!! I’m with you.

  179. Speaking as a perpetual knitter and spinner that has been “forced” to doing almost nothing by a recent health challenge….YES you ARE relaxing when you are doing things you love. Being forced to do nothing can make you crazy! (twitch, twitch)

  180. This business about ‘relaxing’ has a parallel in ‘retirement.’ My mom’s definition of retirement is to Go and Learn and See and Do…and my dad’s is to sit in his recliner and watch Judge Judy.

  181. Relaxing to me means doing what I want to do. Sometimes that means lying on the couch or napping. Other times that’s “playing” with yarn or other “activity” that for me is fun and WHAT I WANT TO DO.
    There are times when doing my yoga is NOT what I want to do, but it is always relaxing!

  182. Yep! I totally hear that from people, too, and I always have the same arguments to give that you do. My immediate family has long since learned that a good way for me to relax, unwind, and keep my sanity (somewhat) intact, is when I’ve got knitting in my hands.
    Relaxing = do what you enjoy doing.

  183. It’s the same way with me and my husband. He can just sit and watch a movie but I need to knit. I find the motion very soothing and I believe it actually helps work off my daily stress. So for me, it is absolutely relaxing.

  184. Have you been told that you don’t know how to relax? YES! Has someone told you that you should relax, when you already are relaxing? YES! Do the non-knitter/makers in your life think that relaxing means doing nothing? YES! Have you heard – while you were already relaxing, that you should work on learning how to do it better? YES Do you think you really don’t know how – NO – or do you think they just don’t recognize it the way you do it, because it has no resonance for them? YES!
    Non-knitters/makers just don’t get it!

  185. 1) Beautiful yarn, the colourway is really special.
    2) As many others, i’M really looking forward to the mitten pattern, the stained glass-window type one is my favourite.
    3)Usually I consider my knitting to be relaxing, though a complex pattern can take the starch out the relax until I get it figured out. My family especially gets a kick out of watching me ‘relax’ during the hockey playoffs; the tension that gets transmitted through those needles definitely helps relax me and demands a very simple stitch pattern, lol!

  186. Oh, and that yarn is absolutely beautiful! Keep it, you deserve it…I know I would find it exceedingly hard to part with it.

  187. Knitting = Relaxing. Unfortunately in my ex-spouse’s eyes Knitting also = doing nothing worthwhile. Probably why he’s an “ex”. (Oh, yeah, right up until I made him that prayer blanket when he was undergoing chemo …)
    MUST SPIN! It’s been 20 yrs; for Heaven’s sake, it’s TIME!

  188. I own a french bakery in Mpls, Mn. I bake all day and my idea of coming home and relaxing is to make serious progress on my current knitting project. My idea of the perfect relaxing day is to knit while listening to a great book on tape. To give my eyes a rest I like to make a nice curry or stew and a loaf of lovely bread. I also find gardening a very relaxing outlet. We active relaxers need to produce to be happy! That’s O.K.

  189. EXACTLY! I grew up with my dad telling my mom, why don’t you just relax when she was sewing or cutting out clothes = but after 60 plus years of marriage, I think he’s finally got it = for her, sewing IS relaxing!

  190. My hubby knows I need to knit, read, write, or walk to relax. Looking forward to that mitten pattern. Today while driving I contemplated different cuff designs for mittens.

  191. I don’t know of anything more relaxing than knitting. And my definition of relaxing is absolutely doing what you want. HYN!

  192. When I am at my job there is no relaxing because i am doing something I don’t like much.
    All I think about, when I am doing what I don’t like is…doing what I like. Doing is relaxing when it is what you love. Work would be relaxing if it were what I loved. I knit, spin and play with wool…and my husband says “relax..sit down” So I sit down…at my wheel.
    He just shakes his head and smiles……..
    WOW! Nice yarn!

  193. As long as I’m not under-yarned, I’m relaxed. My family doesn’t understand that counting the stitches on the needles 6 times and screaming “Why am I 2 stitches short?!?!” is far more relaxing than doing nothing 🙂

  194. I don’t think we even use the word “relax” at our house. The words we use: “unwind”, “decompress”, “veg”, “chill”, “quiet time” – all of them mean doing what we want. The range of actual physical activity could be anything from complete stillness up to the hardest, most difficult workout you could imagine at the gym. Really, whatever makes us feel better afterwards. Mine happens to involve a lot of yarn.

  195. I’ve been told that I don’t know to relax. Then they watch me knit, and the smile comes across my face and I begin to hum quietly to myself. It then becomes apparent that my relaxation is akin to a complete contentment with everything around me. Then…they don’t ask anymore. 🙂

  196. I currently have a broken wrist, so NO KNITTING since Nov. 13th at 4:25pm. I have found that I NEED knitting to quiet the mind. Reading hasn’t worked. Organizing knitting supplies and fondling yarn hasn’t worked. I now wander the house during commercials. My dear hubby can’t wait until Monday when the cast comes off and I can finally relax again! Not to mention finish all those Christmas gifts!

  197. The mittens are beautiful.
    I’ve been known to knit myself into such a relaxed state that I fall asleep. However I don’t find deadline knitting aka Christmas or commissions to be in any way relaxing. They are work. So happy that it’s January.

  198. I’ve not been told to relax, but relaxing for me always involves doing something–I can’t just sit and do nothing. I sometimes watch t.v. but I usually have some knitted object on the go, or a painting in the works. Certain stages of painting are relaxing, and other parts aren’t. For me, certain times of day seem to require different types of relaxing activities, such as drawing in the morning and painting later in the day. Evening is definitely knitting time. My hubby understands my relaxation activities, because he is much the same, only his hobbies involve wood, nails, glue, wire, paint, etc.

  199. How familiar that is! Lots of people think I can’t relax. I know when I am relaxing. Same as you. Thank you! I think I’ll forward this to a certain friend of mine.

  200. Yep. I relax by knitting. Sometimes knitting and walking (together) or knitting and reading (together) — but always knitting.
    P.S. Love those mittens!
    P.P.S. Got ‘All Wound Up’ for Christmas — it’s currently what I read while I’m knitting. 🙂

  201. Yes. My future in-laws are in a full blown attempt to convince my fiance (another maker) and I to go on a cruise with them. We are terrified of the very idea – what sounds like bliss to them (hours of eating and lying poolside) literally sends us into spasms of fear. We know I can bring knitting, but his hobbies are far less portable, and neither of them are understood by the in-laws as ‘relaxation’. I’m glad its not just us. 🙂

  202. I think there’s another book in there somewhere. Sometimes for me, relaxing is sleeping. Sometimes, it’s knitting (if it’s mindless knitting, like something where I don’t have to count). The dictionary defines “relax” as “to make less tense, rigid or firm; to become less strict or severe; to reduce or stop work, effort, application; to release oneself from inhibition, worry, tension, etc.” That can cover a lot of things. Defining it only as no longer working is restricting the definition and only one interpretation. Those who define “relaxing” that way need to relax. 🙂

  203. I’m with you, relaxing is doing what I love. For me that’s knitting and handwork and that includes while watching a movie, listening to music or a book. I, and my sister, are affectionately called “Fiberheads” by our husbands whose idea of relaxing is exactly like Joe’s.

  204. Are you kidding me? All of us that are “high strung” and usually type A do not relax like the others do. My form of relaxing revolves around joining my running club for a short 3-5 mile run. After that I then knit or quilt, plus drink a beer or glass of wine, to relax. It’s all about how we’re “wired” at birth. By the way, I’m a first born, which I think lots of us in this category are.
    Laying down to watch a movie and doing nothing else would just kill me. That or a long car ride without knitting…… that would kill me.

  205. Relaxing is ABSOLUTELY doing whatever you want. Anything else is work or sleep! Knit on!

  206. Well, whether knitting is relaxing for me depends on what I’m knitting and how well it’s going!
    Perhaps unlike many commenters, I find that when I’m really tired, I don’t have the energy to knit, either. Then I just sit and read or watch a movie.
    But I can’t really just do *nothing* nothing very well. The closest I can come is laying back and listening to soothing nature sounds on my iPod. Or daydreaming, but that’s not “nothing” exactly. Just nothing external.

  207. Part of why I find knitting (and baking and crocheting and other making activities) so relaxing is that they give my mind time to wander while my hands are working in rhythm, time to think about everything from big political issues to knotty personal problems to what I want to cook for dinner. Being a Type-A person who inevitably jumps into things before I’m ready, having time to sit and mull and think a bit (while also cranking out a kick-butt cowl) is worth its weight in gold to me.

  208. I have a friend who, when we first met, lamented that she “couldn’t meditate” because she had a really hard time sitting still. I pointed out to her that meditation wasn’t a *body* thing, it was a *mind* thing and if she needed to dance to get to the mind thing, then she should dance.
    It was a revelation to her, and now she teaches Nia dancing which teaches that exact thing.
    Me, I meditate thru knitting or (especially) spinning.
    Everyone is different… tell your “do nothing to relax” friends to chill.

  209. while i agree knitting is both relaxing and gratifying in a way that doing nothing is not, i think there is something to be said for being still and doing nothing.
    there’s also a difference between PREFERRING to knit or spin in lieu of doing nothing and being UNABLE to do nothing.
    i think the choice is key.

  210. As long as your gauge is on, I think it can fairly be said that you’re relaxed.
    I like to knit, but it’s a hobby like, say, running. Both I enjoy doing, but I don’t really consider myself to be relaxing unless my head is in contact with a pillow-based surface.

  211. When I’m really relaxing, I’m napping or just sitting still without doing anything. For me that’s true relaxing. Knitting & reading are restful & enjoyable & can be a type of relaxing… I guess I see “relaxing” as being on a spectrum…

  212. My Grandma Adeline believed relaxing was doing nothing–at most watching TV or reading.
    My Grandma Frances believed relaxing was doing what one wanted to do, and she was a great knitter and all around needlewoman.
    I have learned to tell when I am super stressed because then I have to switch from relaxing like Grandma Frances to relaxing like Grandma Adeline.

  213. I have a similar situation but kinda swapped. I find myself telling people, “I did nothing all day and it was wonderful” but when I start thinking about it, doing nothing to me meant 4 loads of laundry, one load of dishes, throw together a quick soup in the crockpot, fold and put away clothes, a quick counter tidy of the bathroom, etc. I think it just feels like nothing because there was no DEADLINE or CHORE LIST. I could just putter around as I wanted and do things when I feel like it. Knitting is in there too because that is what I do when I do laundry. To sit in one place and do something like read or watch TV means I’ll fall asleep. Guess I’m just old.

  214. Thank you Stephanie. I just read this to my hubby. I still don’t think he gets it, but I feel better reading your post and all the comments. *doing nothing* is painful for me. Relaxing, doing the things I love is not 🙂

  215. The yarn is beyond beautiful. It glows, even on the computer screen. I would imagine it will be a joy to knit. Please show the finished project….
    We have the opposite issue on our house. I knit and only occasionally spin (which i do much less well then my knitting) while my husband mows, clips, rakes, fixes, rebuilds etc. I am always telling him that he has absolutely no idea how to relax. Lucky for me….

  216. If I relaxed like most people think I should be doing I would be asleep!
    We knitters are just a catagory all by ourselves!

  217. Yes, I have been told I “don’t know how to relax,” because knitting/spinning/hand-sewing/quilting looks “busy” to some people. For me, relaxation should be restorative, and I feel most fully restored when I can let go of life’s demands and focus on something that brings me to a peaceful state. I often fall into a nearly-meditative state when I’m relaxing with a fiber-project: my breath rate slows, I can feel my muscles soften, my mind clears… I don’t get that same feeling from just watching tv (though it does happen when I’m reading a good book; and if you throw some knitting in with a movie I’m good to go.)

  218. Yes, people think I can’t and don’t relax and they’re very worried about me! My husband says that I’m the most driven person he knows because I’m always busy. The truth is that it drives me crazy to do nothing.

  219. When asked what I did during my vacation in November I replied I sat at home and knit all day. Many people responded I should have “done something” during my vacation otherwise what’s the point. I told them I did do something, I knit. They said they meant do something other than sit around the house. I said I did, I knit. Some people just don’t get it. I don’t vacation with those people.

  220. I too am told I don’t know how to relax. I prefer to each vacation day with a four hour hike, preferably with a lot of vertical. Knitting is but one of my relaxing activities. I totally agree with you definition of relaxing. My idea of relaxing changes day to day from gardening to hiking to knitting.

  221. I spend all day making things and being creative for a living. When I get home I just want to make things for me.
    If I have to watch TV without a project in hand I feel totally cheated!
    I think maybe it’s a female thing. My DH and Son have no problem just sitting watching a show or spending hours on the web, but my Mum and, I think my sister ( based on how much she knits) always have something on the go. My daughter too, but right now it’s rock climbing, so relaxation for her is scaling walls and then knitting when she gets home 😉

  222. Brilliant – yes. relaxing/refreshing is doing what I like. Like right now…a few stolen minutes between work and the evenings obligations finish up the sleeve on a baby sweater for tomorrow and read your blog 🙂 Lying around isn’t relaxing to me, I don’t have enough time…

  223. I don’t get told to relax, but anyone who knows me (myself included!) knows I absolutely CANNOT sit still for more than .125 seconds at a time, which is why knitting was meant to be the perfect activity to me! (I can sit and read a book, but not for great lengths and I don’t really consider that “sitting still” anyway).

  224. Laughed so hard. My ex came to a Dr’s appointment with me (should have known something was up) and in the middle of the appointment asked my Dr. if he could medicate me so I could relax and do nothing. Beginning of the end right there, we apparently had different copies of the english dictionary!

  225. Why yes, I do get that. My partner is very understanding and does realize that I will twitch myself silly within seconds of having nothing to do (car ride, waiting for the kettle to boil for tea , or any non-otherwise-booked patch of time) and so only shakes his head in some amusement as I reach for the knitting. In the past he used to tell me to relax. That turned into him asking if I actually knew how, which became a discussion somewhat similar to your post. In fact after reading your post to him he replied with a smile (and I paraphrase) “I resemble that remark”. He then added that I do not, indeed, have any clue how to relax, but if what I’m doing makes me happy then I should keep doing it.

  226. Why yes, I do get that. My partner is very understanding and does realize that I will twitch myself silly within seconds of having nothing to do (car ride, waiting for the kettle to boil for tea – waiting for anything really – or any non-otherwise-booked patch of time) and so only shakes his head in some amusement as I reach for the knitting. In the past he used to tell me to relax. That turned into him asking if I actually knew how, which became a discussion somewhat similar to your post. In fact after reading your post to him he replied with a smile (and I paraphrase) “I resemble that remark”. He then added that I do not, indeed, have any clue how to relax, but if what I’m doing makes me happy then I should keep doing it.

  227. You are right I think, being relaxed is doing what you enjoy. It’s the opposite of stress. For many of us that is knitting.
    But from a non knitters perspective it probably doesn’t seem relaxing to them, even if they have a relaxation activity like painting, reading or yoga.
    Unless you are an actual knitter, ( ie a person who knits and doesn’t have to stress over every stitch) you probably have memories of trying to knit and trying to knit is a stressful thing. Entirely different to what actual knitters do which is as natural as riding a bike or driving a car.
    Loving the mittens, the ones that have what looks like one stitch of backgroun colour between the segments is my favourite, it’s a nice balance between the first 2 styles you showed with the complete outline and no outline.
    I find people don’t tend to ask why I can’t just relax, they ask ‘I can’t believe you find that relaxing’. It’s as if they can tell from the look on my face, etc that I relaxing but thy can’t understand how it’s possible.

  228. I’m with you – relaxing is doing something you enjoy doing. Whether it is reading a book, knitting or other needlework, watching a movie or TV, etc., if you are not feeling stressed, anxious and tense, it’s relaxing. When I was married, it used to drive my husband crazy that I couldn’t just sit and watch TV with him, but had to have some form of needlework in my hands too. For me it was a waste of my time to just sit and watch TV mindlessly. My needlework kept my mind busy. Glad you had a relaxing day yesterday.

  229. So don’t know how to “relax” in a traditional sense. Or sleep, for that matter.
    It seems to be a source of much bafflement to those around me, save those who are also makers. Of course, the only difference between the makers and the normal people in my life is that while everyone seems to think I’m crazy and/or obsessive, the makers admit that they are, too, and so don’t judge.

  230. Me once more! Can I help it if I connect with everything u speak on?!?U got me hooked to every story! I carry that little book every where !!! This gem is what pulls me out of my depression. But u don’t want to hear that. No cause of u Stephanie ,hope that’s not rude calling u by first name. You ,your creative writing,your miraculous way of connecting to all us knitters. Your HUMOR! Oh u are the 2nd person to help me truly laugh again. Thank u. Thank u for showing a Russian 40yr old with a17 & 5 yr old boys plus a mom that critiques my stash horde:) that I can be happy. Thank u. YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL ,bra or bare;) I do same,again thanx yr idea. U are hilarious. Thank u for giving me a life. Thank u. All my affections ,SVETLANAAVRUTOVA

  231. I always come late to these parties, so what I have to say may have been said.
    I think there are three levels of relaxation. Level one is baking something for the family, bread, cookies, whatever.
    Level two is knitting, spinning or whatever handwork you like to do. Its good.
    Level three is sitting looking out the window and having a quiet thinking time. Two and three are my favorites and both productive in their own way.
    I am deaf so my world is very quiet and I love that part too. I wish I could hear a lot of the time but not during Levels two and three.

  232. I used to be able to relax (Joe’s definition) until I became a tour guide at a historic site. If we weren’t on tour, we were expected to be doing a project that we could use to engage visitors in conversation. If I wasn’t doing something, I was on edge because I was afraid of being caught by the boss or a visitor. If I was doing something, I was relaxed because I knew I wouldn’t get in trouble. My definition of relax is now having something in my hands even though it has been years since I had that job.

  233. If I don’t have extra needles in my bag, at least one new ball of yarn plus the socks I’m knitting; I am ONE MISARABLE RUSSIAN AROGANT SARCASTIC BITCH! Bus ride to the store? 20 min. Yeah I know but I am a woman,40, that if a ball of yarn with needles isn’t in my hands? Oh ! Oh ! My best friend actually made a comment to my other friend” Lana doesn’t have all her security knit stuff. We’re stopping at the shop. Cause she’s already twitching. I take my small knit in the bathroom. It

  234. If i had to guess, i would say that our uber-multitasking society has conflated “relaxing” with “vegging out”.  I have generally been fidgety all my life, and would rather, if truth be known, dress a floor loom, weave, or (now that i am learning) spin before knitting.  I always ascribed that weaving was a very zen or meditative experience, which i think is derived from the rhythm.  I find the spinning rhythm very similar.  Since i do not knit the way you (stephanie) do (like a production knitter) but am focused on my knitting, even after these hm-hm number of years, knitting can be frustrating and fiddly when weaving or spinning is not.  Growing up my father and i both could not sit without energy escaping some limb (usually a nodding foot or waving leg)–i think nowadays there is a condition called “nervous leg” (and probably a pill that can fix it) but i would much rather have something than nothing for my fidgeting.  Actually, now that i think of it, isn’t there a biblical or shaker or whatever expression about “idle hands” being the “devil’s workshop”.  Which seems to suggest that original concept of doing being working, and not working (using hands) being idle (relaxation).  You’ve given me something to think about.
    Oh, and you did have that new career…writing fiction!

  235. I think they don’t have a clue that they could relax AND have something to show for it. It’s really all in the mind and attitude.
    Enjoy the mitten spasms, I sure am!

  236. I’m in total agreement with you. Relaxing is doing what I like: knitting, reading, even gardening. Tea is for relaxing, coffee is for energizing.

  237. My husband constantly implies that there is something tragically wrong with the amount of time I spend knitting….which is funny to me…because he never comments on how there is something tragically wrong with the amount of time I spend washing dishes, cooking, cleaning or doing the laundry.
    Of course, he is the same person who thinks allowing me to grocery shop alone is like giving me a little gift…

  238. I’ve had the exact same conversation with my husband. I cannot have my hands idle! In order to enjoy my birthday spa visit, I had to put ‘Relax’ on my ToDo list so I felt like was accomplishing something sitting in the hot tub!
    My dad had a saying, I’m so tense if I relax too much it makes me nervous!

  239. Well, there is that famous quote,
    “Don’t just sit there… Meditate!”
    I love working on my yarny goodness projects galore, but meditation straight up is the balm for my soul. I don’t take time to do it very often but that quiet is so restful. It could just be that my kids are small and all so loud that quiet is what I crave the most.
    Your yarn looks sooo lovely. I would say it would depend on the friend as to whether or not telling them it needed to be made into that particular kind of scarf is too pushy. I’d do it but that’s me lol. Best Wishes for a delightful New Year by the way!

  240. I find sitting and knitting/crocheting just as relaxing as sitting & reading a book. What I don’t find relaxing is just sitting & doing nothing!

  241. Oh yes, I’ve had that “just relax” conversations too many times. And without the knitting, I don’t relax.

  242. You’re right. Relaxing is when you get to do the things that you like rather than nothing at all. I combine my knitting with TV watching and reading a good book with a soak in the tub.

  243. I think you are my long-lost twin. I showed my husband your picture awhile ago and he was quite disconcerted by our physical resemblance – we’ve got the same hair, we’re the same age, and the same size, more or less. And apparently we have the same relaxation thing … oh yeah.
    I can’t just SIT. I rarely watch movies. We haven’t had TV for years (best thing we could’ve done, really). I like audiobooks ’cause I can do other stuff while someone reads to me. And yes, like you my idea of “a relaxing day” is one in which I can putter about and do only what I want, and as much of it as I like.
    I could totally wear the t-shirt that says “I don’t have hobbies, I’m developing a robust post-apocalyptic skill set!”

  244. I feel like I’m wasting time if I’m watching TV without something to occupy my hands. However, I can read for days without knitting if it’s an absorbing story.
    My Dear Husband accepts that I will knit while we watch TV, in the car, at the movies, in line at the pharmacy, etc. He knows he can’t talk trash about my hobby; he does _math problems_, difficult theoretical math problems, to relax. So what I do with my hands, he does with his brain. We understand each other and it works. 🙂

  245. No, I’ve never been told I don’t know how to relax. But, when my mind is busy with a problem, knitting or crochet will slow my mind way down and my mind relaxes. It relaxes into present time and my troubles are all left behind.

  246. Rams said it best: “Thank you, I’d rather have fun.” My other half chuckles whenever I give in to the voices and grab my knitting. He knows then I’ll lose myself to the siren song of my needles and he’s free to game.
    You should keep the yarn and spoil yourself with it. Haven’t you been slaving over a hot computer all day?
    See? It’s not just relaxing, it’s pampering!

  247. I don’t think it has much to do with being a knitter/maker. Some people are just more high energy than others. I’ve known people who relax while cleaning. It doesn’t matter if you sit or knit or clean.

  248. I’m with you. I don’t understand why I can’t be creating while I’m relaxing…it’s like people don’t get me.

  249. I can’t think of a more relaxing day than one spent knitting, or planning some knitting, or organizing some knitting, or…..

  250. Yup, when I say I’m relaxing, I’m knitting or reading and knitting or watching a show and knitting or chatting online and knitting or reading and chatting online or watching a show and chatting online or reading, watching a show, and knitting. Sometimes it means I’m watching or playing with the guinea pigs or the cat (neither of which are conducive to reading or knitting at the same time, but both of which are fine to do at the same time as watching a show and/or chatting online).
    Must be doing things. I get cranky when I need to decompress, and usually I need to do that if I’ve spent the day around people, doing things that aren’t on my list of “relaxing activities.” Give me a few hours of uninterrupted relaxation, and I will have accomplished all kinds of things on my own terms and will be in a stellar mood, to boot. 🙂

  251. Most of my life I was told I was “uptight” and needed to “let go” more. Knitting/making stuff is how I do that, so yes, I’m with you on the whole relaxing thing.

  252. Different people relax in different ways. Some need to do so by exerting no more effort than it takes to change the channel with the remote or to load a DVD into the appropriate gizmo. Some need to add in something to keep their hands busy — see the definitions of “mindless knitting” and “worry beads”. Some need something more active that still serves to soothe their troubled minds, such as running, aerobics, or hiking.
    Obviously, my dear Harlot, you seem to fall somewhere close to that middle defintion. TV on, check. Snuggled up with Joe &/or Millie, check. “Mindless knitting,” sometimes but not always.
    Try adapting that color pattern from the mittens to your basic toe-up and cuff-down sock recipes. Doing so might be just the kind of relaxation you need. Just remember to hug on Joe &/or Millie every so often. . .;-)!

  253. I have a question about plying singles. I don’t have a wheel, I spin on a drop spindle, and I can’t figure out how to ply on it as well. Do you have any tips?

  254. It is 40 degrees C here for the second day in a row. It is the second day I’ve spent relaxing in front of the cricket knitting a modified sock to make into fingerless mitts….It is a five day test match. Plenty of relaxing there. I’m on holiday, so it is a case of if I don’t have to go out in the heat I won’t. Why risk mucking up the knitting with potential heat stroke? lol

  255. Well, reading a book or watching a movie isn’t really doing nothing. But I know what you mean. I do read without knitting. But TV just doesn’t occupy me completely. If I’m in front of the TV, I’m knitting (or winding yarn or picking out a pattern). I remember reading a factoid a few years ago that said that 70% of people surveyed on the subject do something else while watching TV. Non-knitters do things like cross word or Sudoku puzzles, fold laundry, other crafts – the point being that a majority of people do something else while watching TV.

  256. YES relaxing is however you get the be relaxed. For me it’s reading or watching tv or knitting or a combination of the above. I guess it’s whatever gets your brainwaves to the relaxed stage. I can’t imagine doing ‘nothing’ 🙂

  257. Why don’t you knit it into a lengthwise scarf and then give that away? It would be a good thing to save for next Christmas.

  258. Beautiful yarn. I say gift it and see what the person makes. you may be surprised; let the yarn out of your strictures…. 🙂
    And what a very interesting question. I very rarely am in the no-activity category. And no-activity for me is reading or sleeping. It drove my dad crazy that I couldn’t watch a baseball game and not do something else. When a take a bath – a great joy in my life – I can only do it if I have a book. And I’ve tried knitting and bathing too, with some limited success. Basically, I CAN’T relax, if I’m not doing something. My computer has made it easier for that something to be less productive, but only just.
    oh, and day of sloth has the same definition for me – not doing things I’m “supposed” to do (laundry, etc) and doing whatever I want (usually knitting, reading, bathing or blog surfing).

  259. The New Year starts today (Jan 14) for many that messed up with the one earlier, so we get a second chance. I sure do hope you get a moment to relax a bit this year! LOL
    Relax means different things for different people. I prefer the word “contentment” or “at peace with the world”. Just as long as I feel good.

  260. “it could really be that I only think I’m relaxed but I’m not” totally sounds as though you were indeed relaxed. It sort of reminds me of a comment I overheard at a wedding reception. A man very seriously said “I wasn’t happy, I only thought I was.”
    I totally thought that if you thought you were happy, you were. Silly me.

  261. Your entry rings true for so many of us who are creative. I think that working with your hands frees your mind and that in itself is relaxing. Nothing makes me happier to just sit on the couch with my hubby, watch some tv and knit for a couple of hours. Heck, I pulled out my knitting after Christmas dinner since the conversation my in-laws were having was boring. Is that rude??? Nah! LOL

  262. Oh, that yarn turned into a scrumptious delight. I can’t wait to get my hands on that mitten pattern! Hurry it up, will ya? 😉

  263. You have hit it on the head! I’ve been told that I don’t know how to relax either, as I sit and work on whatever project is currently going on. I also consider reading relaxing, and laying in the sun, and when I can do both at the same time it’s heaven! But in cold NY it’s definitely creating something by the fire (whether it’s needles or hook). And I have a photo organization project that I’m finding fun and interesting too.

  264. People who do not knit Dont get it
    I have someone tell me who can that knitting be relaxing. It is. Just because your hands are moving doesn’t mean your mind is not at ease.

  265. Yup, I’ve been told to learn how to relax! When I knit, I go into a meditative state and is that not a relaxed state of mind? My mind clears itself of my worries of the day. I feel the tension go away when I knit (or spin). I pity the poor souls out there that do not know how to relax this way!

  266. Lying on the couch doing nothing = a nap. Nap is good. Staring at a movie is sloth, which is bad. Fiber production = fun. Fun is also good, but not too much. Do you hear my Puritanical German grandmother in my head??

  267. It’s funny that you ask these questions. I think that one question that is missed is “why are people so offended by a person who knits?”. I’ve recently been accused for “not wanting to be a part of the family” because I’m sitting in another room knitting because my Mother-In-Law told me to.
    In my humble opinion, people want too much control over the activities of others. It’s not just knitters, but avid book readers, avid cooks/bakers (although they’re not as offended because they get something out of the deal which they’d also get from a knitter). Even at work, when I’d rather eat at my desk so I can knit, I’m accused of not wanting to be a part of the team when in fact, I really don’t want to sit there and listen to gossip and the constant complaining about how someone else is not doing their job according to “their” standards.
    My knitting gives me a mental relaxation that exercise can’t give me. While exercise is good for the body, knitting is good for mental sanity. It is very relaxing to the point that my husband will wake me because I’ve fallen asleep mid-stitch. Nothing has ever been able to remove the mental stress of workplace drama from my mind quite like knitting. Sometimes when it’s bad at work and I can’t pull out my knitting (cause I’m supposed to be working), I’ll pull up an instructional video on YouTube and I get the same mental “step away from the Going Postal detonation button!” or go to the web-site of my favourite hand-paint artist (whom you really must try if you haven’t already) and look at her latest colour creations as if I just picked up my knitting.
    Thanks for asking the question. It’s a discussion that is long overdue and one we should be having with people who don’t knit.

  268. Yes! You have hit the nail exactly on the head! I believe that the reason my husband is so horrified by my ‘inability to relax’ is because he is secretly feeling guilty that I can relax and do something productive at the same time and he cannot!

  269. Yes! My husband says exactly the same thing! Nothing is more relaxing to me than knitting or drawing. I hate to sit still.
    Hubs loves movies tho, so I have gotten better at watching at least one film a week with him where I’m not doing anything else. Makes him happy 🙂

  270. The question I get most when I am knitting is, Don’t you find that boring? It’s the opposite – knitting keeps me from feeling bored. A sign of a boring movie is me picking up my knitting halfway through.

  271. “Have you heard – while you were already relaxing, that you should work on learning how to do it better? ”
    I believe that defeats the purpose, but I know exactly what you mean. When the day is over and I can finally hit the couch, first I have to decide what I’ll be working with my down time, which to everyone else doesn’t appear to be actual down time. My husband came home from work, changed into comfy clothes, and hit the chair, remote in hand. That’s the end of his night. The very idea of sitting still for 3 hours makes me outright buggy. I mean, please; I get antsy at the thought of going to the movie theater without something to work on, even though it’ll be pitch dark and I can’t see my hand in front of my face, let alone my knitting. (Knitting white socks is an exercise in futility. One wearing and it’s a waste of time, unless you can hover about the house with your feet never touching the floor. At least, *my* floor.) I’m with you. Sitting still is intolerable. I’d knit at work while the computer boots up if my boss wouldn’t look at me funny. Hey, that’s a waste of two minutes’ worth of stitches. Shouldn’t he appreciate my efforts at productivity? 🙂

  272. Funny my husband use to say that. I only relaxed if I was reading but not for long. Now I’ll read by listening and knit. He gave up, but I’m happier. Friends can’t understand hoe I can sit and do nothing, nothing when there is knitting in my hands? I can’t get them to understand how much I look forward to just taking a wonderful yarn into my hands a knit is more fun and relaxing than anything else. I don’t understand how they can keep running around like crazy.

  273. Relaxing to me is being able to THINK about the things I want to, not the other millions of things going on around me. Which means I am THINKING about creating and doing that creating. It is my happy place.

  274. Relaxing is doing something that’s not work, and not drudgery (like the neverending laundry). Unless I am completely exhausted (to the point of catatonia) I can’t just sit and do nothing with my hands. Luckily I can knit plain stockinette while not looking at it (mostly). So even with the current craze in the UK for the excellent subtitled Danish drama series, I can get a good few inches of plain sock done in the two hours of telly watching.
    I have even been known to play the accordion with the TV on, my excuse – background noise is good practice for playing in the pub! Can’t knit and play, though I am *sure* there must be a way ;o)

  275. when my husband came home yesterday i told him i had a wonderful day…i did nothing. later in the conversation i remarked that i finished a pair of socks and cast on two new projects. he said “i thought you didn’t do anything today.”
    they just don’t get it.

  276. When I used to visit my newly married son and daughter-in-law back in 2000, I was working on a blanket that consisted of Aran squares. I used to bring the current squad along with me, and my new Jamaican in-laws used to shake their heads and say “She’s always working.” I could never explain that what I was doing was not work but FUN!

  277. The yarn is delicious and I personally do not see any reason why you cannot say that unless knitted into a lengthwise scarf, the yarn will spontaneously combust or turn into a hideous acrylic that splits and pills without even being cast on … a classic Cinderella yarn story.
    I laughed out loud at this: ‘they’re forever sighing and shaking their heads a little sadly, because I just “don’t know how to relax” and am clearly destined to a lifetime of relentless, exhausting activity’ … I’m glad there are others in this world like me!

  278. What a BEAUTIFUL skein of yarn!!! I absolutely love the colours and even the thought of something so lovely to touch! Great job! And yes, I knit — and otherwise craft– to relax. Can’t just sit and “do nothing” — I’d go out of my mind! It helps to unravel the fray of the day and put me into a peaceful place. That IS relaxing!

  279. First, my relaxing is also knitting or reading. I can’t just sit and watch tv or listen to music without my hands being busy. It stresses me out!
    Second, I love, love, love those mittens. Have you thought of adding a matching hat? It would make such a great set to give and to keep. 🙂 No pressure. Ok, a little pressure.

  280. I totallly agree with you about “relaxing”! Years ago, my usband (now my ex-husband) bought me a book for Christmas called THE ART OF DOING NOTHING, and he insisted that I needed to learn how to just sit around.
    Needless to say, I never perfected that kind of relaxing! I much prefer an afternoon with my needles and yarn, some good tea, and a fun movie on the tv to keep me company!
    I can’t wait for the mitten pattern – it just might be the thing to get me started with colorwork…. 🙂
    Kim in MN

  281. I blame my father. He could never stand to see us sitting around doing nothing during summer vacations or Saturdays. He always found something we needed to be doing. Daydreaming seemed to indicate you didn’t have something to do. But fishing…he left you alone because you were doing something. A couple of years ago he commented how as a child/teen I had liked to fish. I told him, “Yes, I did like the fishing, but I could sit there and daydream and you would leave me alone and not find a project for me to do.” I admit I want my ‘downtime’ but also to have something to show for it. Watching tv is fine as long as I can show something produced during the same time. I find that something relaxing…so there, dad. PS (He was/is always busy himself, except maybe the short afternoon nap.)

  282. i have to say i’m with you 100%. my husband is beginning to understand better though, actually encouraging me to relax (and knit/sew) or rest when i’m feeling under the weather (and knit/sew). the rest of the world still doesn’t get it.
    i wish i could equate those things less with my relaxing though so i didn’t feel the need to get all of the rest of my “work” done before i settle down to them.

  283. If I am doing nothing while relaxing, it means I’m either napping or about to be napping; in which case, leave me alone because I might also be sick.

  284. I completely have the same relaxing issue. My idea of “taking an afternoon to unwind” usually involves starting something super-complicated, or putting on a movie so that I can work on a project, while most of my friends would either put on a movie and sit there, or take a nap.

  285. my husband claims that i’m not relaxing because my hands/eyes/mind are constantly busy….i claim that he’s not really relaxing because he’s unconscious!!

  286. It’s funny – friends and family always comment that knitting always looks so relaxing when I’m doing it. I’ve had people ask me to teach them to knit – then get frustrated while trying to learn a new skill – and yell, well, that’s not relaxing AT ALL! ha, ha, ha I’ve had complete strangers comment after movies in theaters that it looks so perfectly relaxing. (And I try to be a discreet knitter – starting after the lights go down, only knitting mindless knitting – nothing requiring monitoring or lights, usually putting it away before the movie ends, etc).
    What’s really funny is that people who only know me from work are STUNNED to learn that I knit A LOT! Stunned to the point of disbelief and then feel the need to verify this fact with others. Inevitably, the disbeliever will find someone who has flown with me and they’ll explain, yes, I will knit while reading and catching part of the in-flight movie. That, ironically, they find easier to believe.

  287. I have had the same problem with people thinking I can not relax. I can’t seem to just sit. I need to be knitting or keeping myself busy. Usually with a audio book on too.
    I feel bad for those who can just sit – they are the ones that then say – I could never knit, I just don’t have the time!

  288. You remind me of a scene in Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Farmer Boy, when Almanzo and his family have to spend their Sundays with enforced relaxing–no whittling, nothing productive allowed.
    But you’re a godless heathen 😉 so I suspect you’re allowed to do as you please.

  289. You have hit the nail on the head!! Relaxing is doing what you want – the perfect response to people who say “You never relax – you’re always doing something.”
    For instance, this morning I spent an hour relaxing with my snow shovel. I really do love snow shoveling. (Maybe that’s because when people see you snow shoveling they leave you completely alone, and you really have time to yourself.)

  290. Hello. I bought your book a few weeks ago. Currently at page 100. Slow progress, yes– but I know I could finish in a few days! Amazing story of yours. I salute you. Sometimes my friends think the story is bland.. about knitting and stuff. “Do not judge a book by its cover”, clearly they shouldn’t judge this book by its cover. To be honest, when I went to this book sale, I saw your book. I bought because the cover is beautiful. (Yes, a dumb habit of mine) When I read the book, “Oh, oh my..” is my first impression of the book. It’s amazing from the start. First, I didn’t quite understand the story, but when I read more and more, I began to understand. What made me laugh a lot so far is when you called the squirrel ‘bastard’. FFFF— I laughed a lot, till my friend thought I’m losing my senses. I could tell that you were so pissed off. Believe me, I would throw a huge tantrum if that were to happen to me. Back to the topic, I just love your book. I learned a lot of new vocabularies/words as well. I thank you.– For creating that book, and also sharing your life to the public. This is worth sharing. Hoping to hear more from you,Stephanie. 🙂
    -Isumi. 14/1/2012,Sunday GMT+8

  291. Doing nothing usually makes me feel tense and restless. There is nothing so relaxing as being completely absorbed in a creative activity.
    It’s Saturday afternoon and I have the next hour to myself – I’m off to knit!

  292. Screaming heebie jeebies, that’s the best description for how I feel about muggle relaxation that I have ever heard! My boyfriend whines at me all the time that I don’t spend enough quality “relaxation” time with him. He just doesn’t get it.
    Love the new yarn, where did you procure that lovely fiber?

  293. I understand perfectly what you mean when you say you are relaxing while knitting or spinning! You have disengaged your mind from the daily worries and are allowing it the pleasure and relaxation of focusing on the work your hands are doing. My friends are the same way with not understanding and this is how I’ve come to explain my relaxing to them – no worries about the rest of the world, just one point focus in front of me – ah, bliss! Monks call it active meditation or moving meditation, I believe.

  294. I tell people that the knitting and sewing relaxes my brain. Something pleasant to focus on instead of everyday stresses. That’s what is relaxing to me- giving my crazy brain a break!

  295. I am dizzy just reading the latest blog entry. Perhaps it is because my style/mode of knitting is different. I am still maintaining my New Years 2000 resolution of only one project on the needles at any one time and NO UFOs. Dont get me wrong– I am prolific— just checked and am on my 8th item since New Years 2012, and that includes designing and knitting a childs Aran pullover that will be gifted tomorrow. Pattern in other sizes will soon be complete too. I do multitask too— knit at the computer, TV on, phone, cook………….as need be. I do tell people esp when KIPing that the knitting is my sanity andn has been for 57 yrs.

  296. I’ve been called an over-achiever, Type A personality for all of my adult life (just because I combined 1 full-time/2 part-time jobs, sang in two professional choirs, was a college student student, professional quilter & occasional knitter, wife & mother … all at the same time) and I was always asked when I took time to sleep. Now, I’m retired but still turn out a half-dozen quilts, 12-15 pair of socks, and two sweaters w/matching scarves per year, and consider myself very lazy. I think you’ve got it right that the “makers” relax with the things they love doing. Things like housework or cooking are a lot less likely to get done around here than all the creative things that I love to do. I can’t think of any reason to change!

  297. Years ago (decades, even) I had a boyfriend who used to go nuts when I would insist on reading while we were getting a tan (this was in CA). I married the man who takes me to yarn shops and quilt shows!

  298. I think your handspun would look beautiful as a Koigu linen stitch scarf. Perhaps if you do give it as a gift you could include the pattern 🙂

  299. Your yarn is quite lovely. And if it really wants to be a scarf knit lengthwise, perhaps you should go for it- you can always give away the scarf!
    And I too am an active relaxer- but I think it runs in the family. My mother and grandmother were wont to say if they saw you sitting with idle hands, ‘why don’t you peel some potatoes while you’re resting?’.
    My husband knows if I’m sitting doing nothing, there’s likely something wrong. But he’s the one who just spent his vacation (from software engineering) programming for fun, so I think he gets it on all levels.

  300. If you drink a lot of coffee during the day, you may not be able to relax. I used to drink horrendous amounts of coffee during the day, and could not even sleep. My idea of ‘relaxing’ was to either fret about everything in my life nonstop, or clean a closet, work on my task list, etc. I decided to get caffeine out of my life. First I went to de-caf coffee, but ultimately decided it was just a fake (it dyed my teeth a nut brown color like coffee, but that was about it.) Then I switched to just water and non-caffeine drinks. Now, after years, I enjoy herbal teas. There are a million of them, and they won’t keep me up at night, and/or put me in a wired-up state. This may not be your situation, but it was mine.

  301. The yarn is beautiful, and I cannot wait for the mitten pattern!
    I, too, get accused of not knowing how to relax, because I am always making something. But making things IS relaxing to me – I can rest and recharge whilst turning out something pretty.
    My dad on the other hand really doesn’t know how to relax. Being still or doing something “frivolous” and non-useful makes him crazy, but he doesn’t seem to have come up with a hobby that doesn’t feel like time-wasting but also doesn’t make him frazzled and exhausted. He doesn’t even sleep well :/
    I think your idea of relaxation and doing nothing sounds perfect!

  302. Simultaniously blog reading, knitting, watching sports on TV, eating edamame salad, while thinking about what to spin next –I’ve never been more relaxed! It’s a three day weekend and this is only day one – whee!

  303. YES, relaxing for me is doing something I like with the added aspect of NOT getting constantly interrupted to “do” something for someone else. For me, that usually is my husband wanting me to do whatever, which in usually when I have gotten into a groove of crafting.

  304. Love love love the mittens! Looking forward to making some for next year’s Christmas gifts.

  305. My husband is often telling me to get my knitting and relax, while I often tell him to go to his woodworking shop and play. Relaxation for us is just what you said, doing what we want to do. As both of us are coming down the home stretch of life, doing what we want takes priority over doing what we are supposed to do, whatever that is.

  306. I have actually fallen asleep knitting sitting straight up in my chair. I wake up and the needles are still in my hands, ready to go again. If that isn’t relaxed I don’t know what is. If I’m forced to sit and do nothing while watching TV I go nuts, my hands start wringing themselves. It’s not relaxing at all to do nothing. I used to think it was guilt from a Pioneer background – “Idle hands are the Devil’s plaything: – but now I know it just feels great!!

  307. I think now that for a lot of people “relax” means “do nothing” and for me, it means “do what you like.”
    Tremendous insight. Makes perfect sense to me.

  308. Watching TV without knitting or stitching, or, at the very least, playing solitaire or looking something up or… is not relaxing for me. I find it hard to concentrate on TV or conversation if my hands aren’t occupied. It drives people crazy but I just smile… I can do that while I knit and watch TV!

  309. When I “relax and do nothing,” I generally have knitting in my hands.
    Love the yarn! I could learn to knit a lengthwise scarf if you’re still looking to give it away. 🙂
    Can’t wait for the mitten pattern.

  310. Either I watch the game on the tube *with* something in my hands to do, or I’m not in the same room at all.
    Been this way forever. Not just knitting: needlework, quilt piecing (by machine!), crochet, knitting…even grading papers during commercials when I was teaching.
    Cannot ABIDE sitting still doing nothing; relaxing is yes doing what you want to do in the absence of scheduled commitments. 🙂

  311. Like you, I think of ‘relaxing’ as doing what I like. So knitting and spinning fall into the relaxation category, as long as I’m not knitting or spinning to meet a (self-imposed, the only kind there is) deadline. Before I had knitting, there was reading, or even surfing the web. Occasional movie watching. Once in a great while, like on a sunny but not hot day, I’ll go lounge in the sunshine for a bit, enjoy the warmth and listen to the birds. Sometimes relaxation comes in small packets; making my morning coffee, enjoying a bottle of beer in the afternoon.

  312. Two comments on one post! 🙂 Regarding the “spinner’s limp”…next time you spin or ply, try adding another pillow to your chair to raise your hips a few inches higher than your knees. I don’t know why this seems to work for me but it does…must be biomechanically correct! Just be careful when you are piling up pillows to NOT fall off the chair!! Also, one of my wheels is a single treadle. I find it infinitely more comfortable to spin with both feet on the treadle. I once tore all the muscles in my lower back by spinning with one foot only – I still am tender!

  313. I quilt and knit and yes relax while I do both. If I do NOTHING—I fall asleep. Oh the yarn is wonderful.

  314. My husband thinks I multitask too much–he dislikes watching tv and movies with me while I knit. So at least once a week I snuggle up and just stare along with him. It drives me buggy because I feel guilty watching anything without something in my hands. (The exception: going to the movie theatre–I don’t go often enough to want to knit while I’m there.)

  315. Music is my husband’s way to relax, knitting is mine. I’m lucky in that he is quite proud of my handiwork even if I only make scarves or dishclothes, (I stick to things that don’t have to fit, that way I get the fun without the stress)
    I just picked up your book from the library a couple of days ago and have really been enjoying it. Have you ever thought of recording them so we could knit and listen at the same time? 🙂

  316. I’m also one of those lucky women who has family that says, “Go knit for a bit and relax.” In fact, that is often the “prescription” my husband gives me when I am completely stressed. Ahhhhh. Just thinking about knitting can sometimes bring me to my happy place, but actually doing it…well. A few rows in, and all the cares of the world seem soooo much easier to handle. 🙂

  317. Opposite problem. Some members of my family have likened knitting to doing nothing. Unlike the productive staring at a television that they are doing during family gatherings! Therefore there are a couple of people who have been banished to the washcloths only list because life is too short to knit for the muggles. However, over the holidays a couple of these folks were amazed that I churned out a hat in 24 hours. I am afraid I may have to take them off the list. I am learning that if folks see the finished product they start to think that I may actually be doing something!

  318. I am not a particularly seasoned knitter and while some of the knitting I do IS relaxing, some of it is a tense, mantra-repeating, counting-every-stitch situation when I do NOT want to be distracted by TV or music. And do you mind just going away till I finish this part, please? Don’t speak to me for a while. There, that’s better. The tape over your mouth looks rather rakish, don’t you think? — Then once over the nail-biting section I will happily be “relaxed” while I knit and be glad to visit with you again.

  319. I’ve always thought the non-knitters/makers *just* watch tv or read a book when they’re relaxing because they don’t know how to knit/make yet. …once they do learn how to knit or make, they’ll see how fun it is and how that far outweighs any joy or peace they get from [doing nothing whilst] watching tv or reading a book.

  320. I am often asked me why I always have to keep moving and “can’t relax”. I relax by knitting, reading, cooking or spending time with the dog. I think spending time with the dog playing outside is closest I get to do to doing “nothing” because I don’t produce or finish anything. Honestly, everyone’s different. If people want to relax by sleeping in front of the TV, that’s fine by me… but just don’t expect me to do it too, because it is anything but relaxing for me!

  321. I agree with your type of relaxing. I don’t understand just sitting and watching a movie, I even take my knitting to the movie theatre. Every moment we have is precious and knitting makes me happy. I wish I could figure out knitting while cycling, I can knit while walking, or knitting while spinning, just seems like such a waste to be sitting and not doing something constructive with my hands. My husband is starting to understand it after many years, starting….

  322. Yes, this is what knitters do. I have a scarf on one side, and my drop spindle on the other. I also have a cup of coffee and I am relaxing. We do what we do. Enjoy!!

  323. Exactly. I could have written this post. Except for the lovely yarn. If you give it to me, I promise to knit a lengthwise scarf. 🙂 But relaxing–how can you relax if you aren’t doing something you enjoy?

  324. I relax by knitting, reading, listening to opera and sometimes I combine the “relaxing” activities. I have one sister and one brother who can sit on the chesterfield and do nothing except stare into space. We CANNOT understand each other’s methods of relaxation. They think I’m always busy; I think they should be bored out of their tiny little minds unless, unbeknownst to me, they are philosophizing like mad behind the vacant stare. There will not be a meeting of minds on this one.
    Cheers and red wine, Hazel.

  325. I know that if I don’t have something to do other than sit there or just watch t.v. I get more and more tense. That seems like the opposite of relaxed to me.

  326. Sorry, I don’t find it possible to sit and do nothing. Not even sit and watch tv. I either need a book, which occupies my hands and my brain, or I need something else to occupy my hands, usually knitting. Sometimes it’s a game on my iPhone, but usually it’s knitting. That’s what I call “relaxing”.

  327. I am constantly being told that I don’t know how to relax, but I disagree – I just relax differently than others!

  328. I have never been told I don’t know how to relax. However I have been told that when I knit I make THEM tense because they’re imagining how they would feel if they were knitting. I imagine others telling you to relax when you’re knitting is like mothers who put coats on their children when the mother is cold even though the child is sweating 🙂

  329. Sitting still watching a movie or tv is painful for me. I NEED to be knitting. I twitch otherwise and that is not relaxing for me or for anyone else in the room. I guess I get bored to easily, need more input, tactile and visual that I get from sitting still or maybe I am ADHD – an overused diagnosis for those who need more input than your average bear!
    I was at a wake, the brave one (or socially inept one) knitting the first day, surrounded by people who had never heard the term “social knitting” that for me means simple socks or gloves I can do almost on autopilot and still be present for those around me. The second day two more members of the family brought their knitting and it was a time of bonding with relatives that I had only had a slight acquaintance with before.
    As someone with kids who have sensory integration disorder, I understand the need to modulate our incoming sensations so that we are not overloaded or under stimulated. I think knitting may do that for me – allay anxiety and help me present. That is, in a nutshell, helps me relax.

  330. Your yarn is beautiful!! I’ve just started spinning using a drop spindle (my yarn looks nothing like yours- but is identifiable as yarn!), and I’d like to get a spinning wheel soon. What kind of spinning wheel do you use?
    And I love the mittens too! I now want to knit myself (yet another) pair of mittens since we just got our first snow here.

  331. It’s totally what knitters/makers/crafters do. Those who aren’t will never get it, but it doesn’t make it wrong or them lazy. It just makes you awesome.

  332. I understand the active relaxation thing. I can sit and do nothing, but what I love best is sitting and doing something — while sitting. I find knitting meditative in a way. I also throw pottery (not against the wall) and find sitting at the wheel and pushing clay around to be just as relaxing and restorative as doing nothing. In fact, the simple pleasure of “making” something with my own hands brings on such good feelings that it’s way better for me than just sitting. It’s creating. And I love it.

  333. Didn’t I see this scene in a Star Trek (TOS) episode? Engineer Scott is in the dining hall, comfortably ensconced behind a stack of engineering journals, perusing one with great concentration. Kirk, passing by, asks him, “Scotty, don’t you ever relax?” Scotty looks up at him in utter bafflement and says, “But I am relaxing.”

  334. My husband use to comment that I’d work in the studio all day (I’m a potter) and then knit all night and when would I relax? After reading your post, I now know the answer to his question. Relaxing is doing something that I want. I love that! I mean, seriously, you can’t get anymore relaxed than snuggling on the sofa, watching TV and knitting – it’s really just one step away from fall asleep.

  335. Relaxing is knitting and listening to books on tape for me. Doesn’t seem to puzzle anyone around me. So here is our next philosophical challenge. How do we believe both that knitters should be paid for our work, and that we are relaxing. I do believe both! Now how do we do the logic??

  336. We returned late yesterday from working at a family-company project. I “relaxed” on the trip down by doing a section of a newly started baby blanket; by doing a second sock on the way back; and doing another blanket section after dinner. During those times also read all but the last 60 pages of my current book. Yes, it is relaxing – it isn’t “work” and it is what I like to do!

  337. Your spinning is lovely but enough of that. Hurry up with that mitten pattern. I know mitten weather lingers until about mid-May in Ontario, but that’s not the case here. I have maybe just 2 or 3 more weeks if I’m lucky.

  338. Yes to all of the questions! I know several people who think that relaxing requires no physical activity. I personally find that painfully boring! If i’m “relaxing” by not doing anything, that’s not relaxing. I call that exhaustion (not fun, not a chosen activity, but something my body enforces on me for survival reasons). Knitting and a good movie or book is much more fun, and since I choose to spend my time in that way, no one forces me to do it, that’s my relaxation!

  339. I suppose it is reasonable to think that a family member may not be able to distinguish between the “frantic Christmas deadline knitting knitter” in December, and the “relaxed, meditative knitted bliss knitter” of January.
    I told my husband early on (and repeatedly) that I find knitting relaxing. He believed me. But sometimes even I need reminding like when I’m ripping back an intricate lace shawlette for the 5th time and throwing it across the room, and my husband looks up with genuine surprise and says, “I thought you said knitting was relaxing” and I scream back, “IT IS!”
    right, most of the time, I remember, it is!

  340. LOVE THIS POST!!! I do not enjoy being idle, and do not understand people who do. Resting is one thing, relaxing is another. I just did a post in which I talked about this; I’m off to insert a link to YOUR post as validation!

  341. I’m SO glad for your post today! My husband and I have had this conversation a lot lately. He’s convinced that I’m ‘hyper’ because I love to knit while we’re watching TV in the evening. He’s really worried that I’m not able to relax…if only he knew how relaxing it is for me. As well as being very relaxing, it’s creative…I’m a maker and end up with all sorts of wearable things that I love.

  342. Most people just don’t understand that knitting is relaxing. To me knitting and reading while watching TV is the way I relax. Unless you are working on a very complicated pattern I can knit while I watch TV and God knows, most of what is on TV today does not require your full attention.

  343. I think you’re absolutely right — doing what you want to do, when and how you want to do it, IS relaxing.
    I’m something of a fanatic about this, I admit. I deliberately chose my present job to maximize the amount of time I’d have during the year in which I’d be on no one’s schedule but my own. And not one jot of that time is spent “sitting and doing nothing,” lol.

  344. This is related to people saying I’m “keeping busy!” when I’m knitting in a queue or a waiting room. I’m actually keeping calm, as you well know, and they’re just confused.
    People think knitting is work, that’s the problem. Spinning, too.
    I have a hard time letting myself just sit and knit, though – so I guess part of my own mind thinks it’s a very lazy thing to do, just knitting for hours and nothing else.
    But as you said so well, I leave a “broad swath of fibre in my wake” on what I consider a good day.

  345. Amen.
    Spacing out in front of the television without a project is not be relaxing for me. I just feel anxious about the lost knitting time. And it perplexes my husband too. “Why can’t you just sit and relax?” I hear that all the time!

  346. My husband used to say I was compulsive. I repeatedly explained I am not compulsive, I just have a lot of things to do (read “knit”).

  347. It is very hard for me to sit and do nothing since I took up knitting. Riding as a passenger in a car, watching t.v. always made me more bored than entertained, until I started knitting.
    I am not a restless person, can relax and fall asleep at the drop of a hat, but find knitting an ‘energetic’ relaxing activity.

  348. Why would I sit and do nothing when I can catch up on blogs while simultaneously watching a movie and knitting lace? To me, that is a perfectly relaxing afternoon.

  349. My greatest fear is boredom. I always have my bag of tricks: a little knitting, the iPod full of audiobooks, emergency snacks for blood sugar dips, a bottle of water. Then I’ll go anywhere and do anything! I find the idea of being without anything to enjoy to be completely stressful. I don’t even like to watch a movie or TV without handwork, I can’t really really enjoy it with twitchy fingers.
    So I think instead of RELAXING the operative word should be ENJOYABLE. That’s my two cents!

  350. I know just what you mean.Every time my mother sees me knitting, she says why don’t you relax? I keep telling her, this is how I relax. She doesn’t get it. (She can knit, but she is not a Knitter). Fortunately, my husband gets it. I am so glad for your blog. It always makes me feel vindicated. Thanks.

  351. You have no idea how affirming it is to know that I am not abnormal – I physically need to be making/creating something when I am sitting down, whether it be to watch TV, talk to friends or travelling as a passenger in a vehicle (even on rough 4WD tracks). If I can’t create then my inner dragon emerges and I take hours to settle again. So, to tame the dragon, I knit/embroider/spin/read. Therapy!

  352. I am the same way! When I have a day off, I look forward to doing all of the things I wish I had more time for on days I have to work. Luckily, my husband is the same way, so we enjoy relaxing afternoons working on what we like to work on while cohabitating the same space. I love being a maker, and I love that you call it that! It’s so true.

  353. YES! Sometimes I’ll walk in and my husband will be sititng on the couch doing nothing. NOTHING. It would make my head explode, it really would.

  354. I totally agree with the idea that relaxing means doing something that I like to do. Sure, sometimes that means doing not very much, but most of the time it means getting to knit or work on something I’ve been waiting to work on all day. Thankfully, my husband has tried spinning and was the first to mention that it’s relaxing, so, thankfully, there’s no argument there. 🙂 I can see why he wouldn’t think knitting/making something is relaxing when it’s really challenging and I’m on the verge of swearing and lighting said thing up in flames, but I think the people who enjoy outdoor stuff might be able to relate with the idea that relaxing doesn’t always mean being sedentary or doing nothing.

  355. I too relax by doing. This weekend was football in America and I’m a big fan. I finished a hat, and very nearly finished the mate to a sock, worked on a piece of embroidery I’m liking, made bread, cooked, cleaned up my knitting basket, did laundry, wound yarn to make a hat and mitten set for a little girl which I will make tomorrow. One of the most restful and relaxing weekends of late (and yes, all the teams I liked won in the divisional playoffs!). I asked my husband once why he so enjoys working on computers and he replied, “It’s my knitting.” Says it all.

  356. *sigh* if we only look relaxed according to someone else’s definition, we’re in a strange head space. Why is doing something differently considered ‘the wrong way’? Do these (no doubt well-meaning) other people fuss if we have weak tea and they have it with milk and sugar? Does our liking for purple leopard-print slippers mean that their faded old footy socks are BAAAAD? No. I reckon if we need to knit or whatever while they sack out, why not? And if it’s a problem for them, why, they can sack out somewhere else! And I speak as a talented sacker-outer when it suits me. Doesn’t bother me if someone else is doing an activity; in fact I can enjoy my sloth even more while that’s going on!
    Viva la difference I say. A little acceptance goes a long way!

  357. Your conversations with Joe sound just like mine with Eric. His ultimate Sunday is to lay in bed and stare at the ceiling. Mine is to have some coffee, and then spin weave dye or knit until the light is good and I can take photos of spinning weaving knitting etc. He can also read a book he’s read before and has a hard time folding laundry while watching tv. I love him madly, but we have very different ideas of what relax means.

  358. Maybe some people think if something is productive, it must be work? I’d say if an activity results in feeling relaxed, then it was relaxing. That’s the important distinction, though, it has to actually result in feeling relaxed.
    Thinking of a Franklin Habit comic of a woman standing amidst wrecked furniture, holding her knitting, “Because it RELAXES me, that’s why!” 🙂

  359. Totally with you here! I tend to think of myself as inherently lazy and am often surprised by others thinking of me as very busy and productive. Yes I knit (a lot). Last weekends relaxation is now keeping my feet warm in the form of long socks (and looking AWESOME in the process with boots and a skirt). And afther they were done I went and relaxed a bit more with a couple of fellow mothers-of-children-in-the-same-school making theatre costumes for their upcoming production. We had fun and agreed on the pleasant nature of that ‘job’ and how nice it was to be only with like minds quietly crating away and dodging domestic duties 🙂
    By the way, I LOVE that yarn. It’s very, very pretty and the giftee (if you can manage to give it, in which case you’re a saint) should be very, very grateful.

  360. If I had to sit and do nothing, I would be wishing I had my knitting and missing it, which would upset and frustrate me, therefore not be relaxing at all! I have to be pretty exhausted to sit in front of the TV with nothing in my hands…

  361. Have you been told that you don’t know how to relax? Has someone told you that you should relax, when you already are relaxing? Do the non-knitter/makers in your life think that relaxing means doing nothing? Have you heard – while you were already relaxing, that you should work on learning how to do it better? Do you think you really don’t know how – or do you think they just don’t recognize it the way you do it, because it has no resonance for them?
    I’m so happy you asked! Yes, & they say, (if I retire from my day job): what will you do with your energy?
    They say: Do you ever just sit there and watch TV? (No)
    My only regret or goal, would be to read more, which I am presently doing: going through 3 weeks of New York Times Sunday papers, before I throw them out, to make room for next week’s paper. Thanks Stephanie!

  362. I am exactly as you describe. I cannot sit and do nothing….that is not relaxing for me. I bite my nails to the quick if I have no knitting when reading or watching telly

  363. I think relaxing is anything you (on balance) enjoy doing that (on balance) reduces, rather than adds to, your stress level. Some people claim to find a good game of racquetball relaxing, while I happen to find it terrifying to be locked in a tiny room with a murderous little ball flying at me every 5 seconds. It just goes to show you there’s something for everyone.

  364. If I have to sit with my hands and mind idle, I go nuts! I doodle constantly in meetings (the ‘powers’ would frown at knitting). If I’m not knitting, then it’s reading, Sudoku, or embroidery.
    My husband never really understood, but he learned to accept it

  365. I agree with the folks who say that you should knit that beautiful yarn into a scarf and save it for your holiday gifting, unless you fall in love with it and keep it for yourself! It just seems wrong for you to spin it just perfectly and not have the fun of knitting it into what it ‘should’ be in your imagination.

  366. I’ve been sitting on my hands not to say:
    MITTENS!!! I. Can’t. Wait. For this pattern! I do hope that the variation for those pretty pink ones (I’m imagining it in green and cream– or cream and green– or maybe some browns and red– I see where your mitten not-problem is coming from) will be included.
    Also, I’ve just been reading The Opinionated Knitter and you’re reminding me so much of EZ. My husband is very like Erin’s above (comment 2). He brings me presents of local yarn when he goes to conferences and when I’m crying with stress brings me my knitting and tells me to sit and knit on the couch until I feel better, or to take a bath and read EZ. Others are sometimes less understanding, but no one in my family has shown anything other than perfect understanding of the fact that knitting is both relaxation and challenge to me.

  367. Spinning is my ultimate relax mode with knitting a close second and reading a solid third. My husband understands this even if no one else does.

  368. Don’t shoot me for this. A perfect relaxing day includes housework. Bring each room up to “room for each person to put snack on table” and “kids can run around house without things falling”. Maybe 30 minutes on the production-line of tossing and filing paperwork needed to make room for this year’s income tax. An hour or two on my latest technical obsession while my brain is in top-shape.
    Followed, of course, by an evening of guilt-free knitting with a good CD.
    Even better is if the house is still good-enough from yesterday’s work.

  369. however… when you ARE KNITTING and get upset or frustrated… what do they say???
    “isn’t knitting supposed to be fun/ relaxing??”
    Umm… right…

  370. I am completely with you, Stephanie! For me, it is partially because I am a fidgeter. It is almost painful for me to be completely still, unless I’m *doing* something like meditating. My partner Laura says that she never understood the phrase “fold, spindle, or mutilate” until she watched me with a straw wrapper.
    I refer to knitting as my “constructive fidgeting.” If my hands need to be doing something, I might as well get something out of it, instead of a pile of paper shreds, a broken pen from all the clicking, or an insane partner who just wants me to be QUIET.

  371. I live with another “can’t be work if it’s fun” relaxer, so that’s taken some of the pressure off. Now if I could only get her to relax…..

  372. Oh yeah — I remember wondering in college whether I had some kind of mental disorder that prevented me from relaxing! One of my roommates was genuinely worried at my wanting to continue embroidering a denim shirt for my boyfriend instead of just laying around. Decades later, I still don’t like watching TV without my knitting but I’m not worried about it anymore. I’m totally relaxed!!

  373. Too funny! DeWayne and I have had the same conversation for many, many years. What he doesn’t understand is that without something in my hands…I just want to fly to pieces!

  374. Knit, quilt, read – I have to be doing something else when I watch TV – it keeps my brain cells from dying off. I’m less relaxed if I just watch TV, but if I’m working on something, I’m completely relaxed.

  375. I have always felt that relaxing is whatever brings you to a relaxed state. For me that is knitting or spinning or reading or watching a movie while knitting or spinning. Just sitting makes me crazy, so that is not relaxing. I can’t understand how someone can just sit there and do nothing, just the way that some of them cannot understand that that would never be relaxing for me. I make things, and because I work and take care of a home and family, making things is how I unwind.

  376. For years before moving to Hawaii my boyfriend and I worked extremely hard to enable us to take the month of February off to vacation here. All my co workers and friends on the East Coast US would say “How can you go on vacation for a whole month? It would make me crazy”. My boyfriend is a surfer. We’d go to a different beach every day, he with surfboard, me with beach umbrella, snacks, books, and knitting project. I’d swim a little, sun a little, read and knit like crazy. Heaven on earth for me, my perfect month of “doing nothing”. Now I live and work in Hawaii and don’t get to the beach nearly as often. Can’t wait for when I don’t have to spend all the time at a job earning a living and get back to those perfect do “nothing” days again.

  377. You hit on it in your last book…knitting and for me quilting relaxes my mind. To just sit and ponder doesn’t work for me. I have worries and stresses and when I focus on my knitting it simply goes away. I can relate…love you Steph you are the best at putting into words what I feel. Love Ya Man. LOL

  378. Most everyone who knows me knows that when I have something in my hands, I *am* relaxed. Yes, I can do a “Joe” where I sit with a book for hours.
    But I also like knitting or any of the needlearts. They relax me. That’s what makes me tick. And most folks know that I need that. A lot, some days!

  379. So many comments! My family is incapable of true “do nothing”.
    One time my dad was asked about if he relaxed on his winter vacation to which he enthusiastically explained about a week of ice climbing and how cool it was. Needless to say he got some funny looks.
    I will knit during a movie with my boyfriend if I don’t want to be watching it (read horror movie) and if it is something I think I can give my attention to (Kings Speech for example) then I will set the knitting aside.
    Being sick is the worst because when I am really sick my body hurts to knit and I go crazy.

  380. I saw your post while I was in San Diego this morning, waiting to have my car fixed. I could hardly stand the fact that I wouldn’t be able to access my wheel for several hours! But now that I’m home, watch out!
    Your yarn is beautiful. I’m glad to see a few spinning posts!

  381. In our house we occasionally call for an official day of “sloth and indolence” in which we can do anything we want. Usually that includes reading, watching movies, listening to music, knitting, spinning, going for a walk, gardening, whatever we want. If the dishwasher happens to get loaded or a bed gets made, that’s all good because there is no expectation or pressure that it should be done.
    Attitude is all!

  382. Most excellent observation and description of what I consider “relaxing.” I often feel that doing what I like is a guilty pleasure. Good to know there are others with this somewhat twisted viewpoint out there.

  383. Bwahahaha! From the looks of it, I am not the only like-minded person. I do, on occasion, “vegetate” in front of the TV. Generally, that lasts about 10 minutes. Otherwise, I am knitting, sewing, embroidering, or organizing stuff while the TV is on. If I don’t have a project I can do there, I am up and down all the time putting in a load of laundry or vacuuming, or some such. Yesterday was a relaxing day for me. I refinished my kitchen table, cleaned the tub, did laundry, vacuumed, read, went for a run, and knit. It was lovely.

  384. Why do people think there is only one way to do things!!!!!! There are many ways to relax – the relax police should take a break and CELEBRATE DIFFERENCES!!!!
    As always I am not consistent, depends on my mood can be just doing nothing but I do enjoy a nice relaxing spin, knit or weave!

  385. I try to Schedule Sundays as my days off from the world. This means I do nothing I don’t want to do. If all I want to do is read, then I read, if all I want to do is watch TV and knit, that is precicely what I do. To each there own in regards to what they find relaxing compared to others!
    LOVE the mittens

  386. I’m in the same boat. I spend all day taking care of kids and house and freelance job, so relaxing, for me, is doing what I like to do (ie, knitting, spinning, reading). After some bouts of illness during the past year, I did learn that simply sitting still and reading was a different kind of relax than knitting and sometimes I need that. But of course that’s just an observation and not in active rotation – I still have to be sick to simply sit and read.

  387. my question is: “how can people just sit and do nothing?” that would drive me crazy!! thank goodness i have my knitting or i would be a lunatic – i guess that old adage “idle hands are the devil’s workshop” rings very true for me. i find my peace when my needles are clicking – namaste!

  388. Oh yeah! We had a bank holiday in the U.S. yesterday and I spent the whole day slacking off, which meant knitting up yards & yards of yarn. I so “get it.” While I don’t often hear the words “why can’t you relax” (I live with and was raised by pathological over-achievers & workaholics), they snort when I describe myself as a “slacker.”
    Once, I explained to my mother why I can’t paint my nails. I said I can’t sit still long enough for the paint to dry. That got a snort, too.

  389. The answer to your first four questions (the relaxing thing being fundamentally different for makers than non-makers) is, yes out the wazoo. Whenever I relax, it is to choose to do whatever I like, and that tends to be creative stuff such as knitting, cf lying on the couch alternating between sleeping, waking up, eating my own bodyweight in junk food, and then repeating the cycle (sometimes the TV in front of the couch isn’t even switched on, that’s how “relaxed” certain other people are!). Legend has it that the lying on the couch thingy is “relaxing” for sure, but nobody has ever had to put a mirror under MY nose while I was knitting, sewing, etc. to check I ain’t actually deceased. So I reckon your own kind of relaxing is “real” relaxing too, it’s just your way of doing it.

  390. Relaxing…I have been told the same. And I feel jumpy in my skin if I’m not doing yoga or cooking or reading or yes, knitting. Reading a book, to me, is as relaxing as knitting. Hubby, Dad, Kids, none of them get that. But that’s ok. Everyone blue moon, I just lie on the couch and take a nap. That’s the best I can do. 🙂

  391. A week ago I was getting a pedicure at the spa with my mother (xmas gift for my mom). Somehow in the confusion of leaving for the spa I forgot to grab my knitting bag!!!! Thirty minutes of sitting in a chair doing nothing while getting a foot massage. It was the most non-relaxing anxiety filled thirty minutes ever.

  392. I suspect this is why people are always wondering how I “get so much done”. Relaxing at it’s best is very active for me. I am rarely so exhausted that just sitting and watching tv sounds like a good idea.

  393. Not only do I have to have my hands working to relax, it’s also the only way I can concentrate on listening to someone speak (no matter how riveting they are). Of course, there can be relaxing knitting and knitting that’s harder work but I always have plenty of things going on that I can choose my projects to be appropriate to the time and place!

  394. Hee, hee. Your conversation with Joe reminds me of a similar discussion with my DH. He can relax by doing nothing. He’s mastered that aspect of Zen. I get stressed and tense by doing nothing, which is how I became a knitter/spinner, so I could join him in “nothingness.” He fully enables my method of relaxation and forces me to relax when he senses my stress building. He plops me on the sofa, brings me my knitting bag, and serves me coffee or wine. I in turn accept his snores when falls into deep relaxation.

  395. The pink(s), brown, and white colors/patterns are fantabulous!
    And apparently I don’t know how to “relax” either, and I love it.

  396. I really appreciated your definition of relaxing for those of us who are makers of things.

  397. I have that issue too. I’m figety. I always have to have something for my hands to do and even though I knitted and crocheted. I also smoked for years. When I quit smoking it became a big problem. I was literally washing down wall to relax for awhile. Now I just knit or spin or play facebook games(keeps ya clicking).

  398. I cannot just sit and watch TV. I can’t do it. I need to have my computer in front of me or my knitting or a word puzzle or something.

  399. YES! My roommate and I used to watch tv in the evenings, and he told me that watching me relax was exhausting. He would be stretched out with the tv show and a bourbon, while I would be watching tv, knitting, eating, and surfing the web. Anything less would be boring, right?

  400. My family and friends know that if I’m NOT knitting, spinning, doing needlework, there is something wrong with me. Relax = no obligations NOT relax = no activity!
    Love the mittens – I like the ‘stained glass windows’ ones best.

  401. Everything is gorgeous.
    I have been told I “don’t know how to relax,” too. While I honestly AM entirely able to sit and read a good book without also knitting, I usually knit or spin while watching a movie, having a conversation or other situations in which other people are mainly sitting.
    The only time I am truly “doing nothing” is when I have a rare chance at a good nap. I am horribly underslept and I treasure the opportunity to have an actual snooze now and then.

  402. Those mittens are works of art…just beautiful. I have been on a slipper kick. Knitted them for every member of my family….and several friends. The pattern is so easy I can almost do it in my sleep.

  403. The mittens are delightful! I love your color arrangements! I’m excited to try a pair. Is this a beginners friendly pattern?

  404. I am the same way. New to knitting, but am finding it incredibly relaxing and centering. I agree completely that knitter / makers spend their time relaxing doing what they love. Love the mittens and your newly spun yarn.

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