Well it has been a bit of a time really hasn't it, what with one thing and another.
As Lockdown 3 (The Return) begins to bite it all feels just a bit harder all round. A bit harder to be polite, a bit harder to get up in the morning, a bit harder to be kind. All sorts of things are now a bit harder than they used to be. Somethings for some people are a great deal harder.
With all that going on, looking after one's self becomes that bit more important. I don't mean putting your own needs first, that isn't always the right or best thing to do, I mean taking a small amount of time to do something that makes you feel better. If you feel a bit better, everything becomes a little bit easier. You can't pour from an empty jug, if you are going to be kind and polite, and get out of bed in the morning, you need to have something for yourself as well.
These days I am more grateful than I have ever been for knitting. The simple act of gathering my needles and yarn and following a much practiced series of actions that create a warm fabric brings me peace and calm in a time of anxiety and disruption. In Lockdown 1 (All Hell Stays Home) I crocheted two scrappy blankets, because that is all I could focus on. They now take pride of place on the sofa and are daily snuggled into by me, the kids, the cats, and now the dog. They were worth making, regardless of their ultimate simplicity and thrift.
This time around I am knitting plain and simple top-down raglan sweaters, from a pattern I have used often and hardly need to attend to. Knitting of this sort is properly meditative knitting. It needs no made up word to signify it's calming qualities, invented labels only serve to make this source of restfulness less accessible by making it sound like you need particular skills. We all know the value of something rhythmic, that keeps your fingers moving along well rehearsed lines, and allows your mind time to unwind and to drift. You can stay in the moment and watch as your clever, practised hands produce stitch after stitch, or you can let your focus wander. This is the knitting that gets you through tricky times. Just a few stitches, or a whole evening's worth, it all counts, which means it fits into whatever amount of time you can make available for it. Knitting (and crochet, stitching of any sort, and all manner of arts and crafts that engage hands and mind without overloading them) is there for you, whenever you are able to make a little space for it, and the rewards will be there as well.
If you can fill the unforgiving minute with 60 seconds worth of stitches made, you'll have the knowledge that you can get through this, and what is more, you'll have the jumper to show for it.