Stitch Away Stress – Self-Care

During stressful times, nothing is as important as self-care—if you don’t take care of yourself, you won’t be able to keep going to help other people. Even if you can only spare only a few minutes a day, it’s enough to recharge your batteries to handle what life throws at you! We’ve gathered together what the Knit Picks staff have been doing to practice self-care over the past few weeks.

Hannah Maier, Brand Director

A black and gray knitted sweater is displayed on a dress form.

For the past month, I’ve really taken time to savor quiet time in the mornings. I make my favorite tea, snuggle on the couch and listen to a podcast or read a book for a few minutes before I do anything else. I’ve been spending a lot more time outside gardening this year too! The sun is out in Portland, Oregon, and I’m planting so many flowers, anything to give a big burst of color later this summer. As for my knitting queue, I’ve noticed that I’m leaning toward projects that take a long time but take ZERO attention. I’m working on a basic top-down fingering weight raglan sweater (who have I become?!) and loving the slow and steady progress every night.

Kate Millard, Administrative Assistant
My favorite comfort stitch is Seed Stitch. I just got done making (another) wrap using Muse Hand Painted yarns in a basic seed stitch. There’s something about the simple binary-like rhythm of never-ending knits and purls that lulls my waking mind just enough to where I can tune out the stress of everyday life yet still maintain my ability to follow any plot twists that may arise during my nightly true-crime-watching/couch-sitting-and-knitting marathons.

Morgan Braaten, Graphic Designer

A woman is standing in profile, showing off a knitted hat she made

I have been working on projects that I have to focus on. It helps to stop my brain from wandering and nudges me into feeling more present in the moment. The most recent one I finished was actually my very first fair isle project (To the Top Hat in Alpaca DK)! I loved following along with the chart and putting all my attention in one place.

Stacey Winklepleck, Outreach Director

A large image of knitted garter stitch in green yarn.

Miles of garter stitch in my favorite yarn = my self-care. I’ve always loved just doing garter stitch projects to relax, and now I find myself reaching more and more for them—I even had to frog out about 10 inches on my Humo Amargo because I had (oops!) gotten a little carried away. Using my beloved Hawthorne held double, every stitch is a joy on this project, even if I have to redo them. 

Hillary Elliott, Catalog Director

Hilary's crocheted wall hanging, made in alternating stripes of black and white.

I have been taking some time in the afternoon to sit outside in the sun with a tasty sparkling water and some good tunes in my headphones with idle hands. With the craziness of working from home (with a 5-month-old baby and energetic Australian Shepherd puppy!) I don’t have a lot of time not doing something all day long. I also love projects with instant gratification, and that usually means bulky yarn! I recently crocheted a wall hanging in our (discontinued) Super Tuff Puff in less than an hour. Finishing a project and hanging it up within one baby nap is definitely a mood booster for me!

Lee Meredith, Graphic Designer

Stacks of caked yarn, going from light-colored to multicolored.

My self-care tip is: Do what you want to do in the moment. If the sweater/socks/shawl project you are currently in the middle of just doesn’t sound appealing to work on today, start a new project, or maybe something different like cooking or baking, or sewing or embroidery, or reading or drawing … if that what your brain is craving, do that instead! I have different projects for different moods; sometimes plain stockinette or garter stitch will be too boring, making my mind wander, and then I end up picking up my phone and scrolling through twitter instead. So for those times, a fun or slightly complex stitch pattern is best. But when I want to get lost in a movie, I’ll do a square of my Hue Shift blanket or a plain stockinette sweater, so my hands can just do their thing while my eyes can mostly stay on the screen. Right now, I have a colorful sweater in Rainbow Sock Lab yarns I’ve been working on—rainbow colors always make me happy! For self-care beyond yarn crafts, on days when cooking appeals to me, I’ll make a big batch of something (or multiple things) so that I have leftovers ready to go for days when cooking does NOT appeal to me! I love doing things that my future self will appreciate—I think that’s an excellent act of self-care for when you have the energy.

What are some of your favorite ways of practicing self-care? Let us know in the comments or on social media with the hashtags #StitchAwayStress and #TogetherWeKnit. And join the community at the Facebook group Together We Knit!


9 comments

  1. Tinker / April 21, 2020

    Which pattern is this? A link would be nice.

    • Stacey / April 21, 2020

      Hello! If you mean Hannah’s sweater, it’s the No Frills Sweater, available on Ravelry. 🙂

    • Pamela Noon / April 30, 2020

      I always wanted to be able to read and knit. It feels like one steals time from the other, so I’ve been knitting and listening to Alexa read to me via Audible. That is a comforting thing, to have “someone” read to you. So far, from March 12th I’ve “read” four books. Pretty good considering three of them have been Harry Potter. They’re fat ones. While I do things around the house, sew masks and knit I’m listening to a book. You can download them for free from the State library with your local library card. Relax in comfort.

      • Stacey / April 30, 2020

        I love to read and knit too, and have been listening to a ton of audiobooks! 🙂 I do have an Audible account but lately, I’ve been getting a ton from my local library and listening to them on Overdrive.

  2. Caroline / April 21, 2020

    I dyed Bare Wool of The Andes yarn by using the Earth Hues Botanical Dye Kit. I may have been inspired by a previous post and Easter. 🙂

  3. Claudia T / April 23, 2020

    Cooking ahead of time to care for yourself is a great idea.
    I’ve been looking forward to having a lot of uninterrupted knitting time. I’ve been studying for finals up until yesterday.
    Sorting through my stash, labeling it, uploading it to Ravelry- I have stuff from last year’s Knit Picks Big Sale that I haven’t uploaded- will help me clear my mind and feel organized and ready.

  4. Fran / April 24, 2020

    I’m working on socks in your Hawthorne Fingering Weight yarn. Have one sock done is black/white, next pair will be grey/white. I find making socks handy, easy to carry around and my favorite pattern is memorized (I do toe up). Knitting is one of my main coping mechanisms when I ‘m stressed. Currently caring for my husband who is confined to wheel chair and having end of life issues. So I can sit with him, knit, and either watch TV or recall some memories from our 63 years of marriage. I have spoiled my family with handmade socks, both my son and my granddaughter never tire of getting a new pair and enjoying them.

  5. Michele Rinaldi / April 26, 2020

    I loved this so much! It was exactly what I needed to hear ❤

    “My self-care tip is: Do what you want to do in the moment. If the sweater/socks/shawl project you are currently in the middle of just doesn’t sound appealing to work on today, start a new project, or maybe something different like cooking or baking, or sewing or embroidery, or reading or drawing … if that what your brain is craving, do that instead!”

  6. Michele Adams / April 30, 2020

    THANK YOU!!! “do what you want to do in the moment is what I needed to hear. I have been beating myself up for not having a great pile of fiber projects done, considering how long I have been home- and for having project ADHD – not qite finishing anything. So, with self forgiveness and self- care my watch phrases for the day, I might finish a project today- or not.