Depression and knitting

27 Feb
Opus 301 beaded cuff bracelet

Opus 301

I suffered from postnatal depression (PND) after the birth of my first child. Then I had antenatal depression (AND) with my second and PND again. The third was easier and I stopped there. Now you know the background, what has it to do with knitting?

Depression

I was just trying to show Linda that I can do fancy headings as well!

Depression is so misunderstood. People ask “what are you depressed about?”, but it’s just not like that. When you’re angry or unhappy or excited, there’s some reason for it, but with depression, there isn’t a reason. I have blogged about depression lots on my other blog – so I won’t go on too much about it. What I wanted to say was that I don’t think I would have suffered as badly if I had been knitting at the time.

I started knitting as a teenager and was very keen. I stopped knitting regularly when I went to University at age 18 and only knitted a couple more things before giving up entirely. For 20 years!! Just before my 40th birthday, I picked up the sticks again and very quickly became an avid knitter. I met Linda, helped her design the toe-up version of some socks and the rest is still being written.

a day in the life of a knitter..

A day as a knitter (or sewer or painter or any other person who has a creative hobby) is so different to a day without knitting for me. When I was looking after my wonderful first daughter, I spent hours doing stuff with and for her: I played with her, I fed her, I took her to baby groups, I read her books, I washed her clothes, I changed her nappy…. and on and on. I spent most of the day this way and with the time I had left, I slept. But there was no part of my day that was for me. Not even 5 minutes, because I didn’t have anything I could do for 5 minutes. Although I loved my time with her, there was nothing that was driven by me.

Opus 600 sock with ruffle

Opus 600

And now? When I go to bed at night, I think about all the projects I have in progress – what the next steps are, when I might do them. And I think about all the projects that are still in the planning stage – what pattern I might use, what fabric or yarn. The I think about all the materials I have that I can use – fabric, yarn, threads, beads, ribbon. And then I can think about all the materials I haven’t bought but could in the future – the projects I can do at some other time. And when I get up in the morning, I spend some part of each day doing some of that. Sometimes it’s 2 hours in the afternoon sitting down and knitting, sometimes it’s 10 minutes sitting with the girls as they watch TV before making their dinner. But it’s always there and it’s just for me.

so what’s the link?

If I had had something I could look forward to that was just for me, would I have been so depressed? It’s a difficult one to answer but I feel that I wouldn’t have. I think part of my PND and AND was a feeling of being lost in this new role which left no room for me. And there was no ‘me’ left anyway – my study and work had stopped, so what was left?

Anyway, I went to a workshop last week on ‘surface stitching‘ and came away with 2 exciting new freeform embroidery projects. I spent some time over the weekend knitting, but also plenty embroidering and I loved it. My youngest was inspired to start a little sampler herself, although I doubt it will get finished. It doesn’t matter – it will give us something to do together while she is enjoying it.

and on to patterns

Why not have a look at our sock patterns? They are what started Opus and Linda has some wonderful designs to show you. How about Opus 100, our first pattern. It’s a simple lace pattern that you can do with some boring coloured yarn, because you get to do a bright toe, heel and top edge. They’re really pretty and ideal for those who need to be seen to be wearing smart socks but can then know hidden under your shoe is a bit of decadence. A bit like wearing lacy underwear under a plain suit 🙂

Opus 100

Opus 100

OK, that’s enough from me.  Happy knitting all.

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