Holiday Survival Plan: De-stress and Zone Out Through Knitting

Are you stressed? I am. It’s that time of the year!

Yesterday, I found myself so stressed that I was shaking. As I tried to do some tedious graphics work as a volunteer project for my church, a neighbor repeatedly blew up my phone complaining about the non-functioning car in my driveway. (Because, ya know, the sight of a car on jack stands in somebody else’s driveway on the other side of a neighborhood is soooo offensive and definitely a reason to spew out a string of complaints towards the nice, quiet writer who never bothers a soul, right????) Was this person stressed out himself and taking it out on me? Probably. I’d bet many of us are dealing with other people’s stress, along with our own, about right now.

What to do? Take a deep breath…and knit! Friends, we have an important tool in our box of tricks to deal with holiday stress, end-of-year deadlines, preparations to welcome incoming family, our own travel plans, and even unhinged people deflecting their own stress onto us. We have our knitting projects, and in moments, we can pick up those needles and take ourselves away from anything that bothers us.

That’s exactly what I did yesterday. Realizing that my stress level had climbed sky high, I plopped myself down in my favorite knitting chair, picked up a simple sock project, and simply knit a couple of rows. My heart rate immediately dropped. I convinced myself that no, the whole world wasn’t conspiring against me. It would be okay. 

So use those tools in your personal de-stressing kit, my fellow knitters. Sit down, pick up whatever project is on your needles, and knit one row. Maybe knit two rows. Knit for ten minutes, or two hours. Whatever you need.  You’ll feel better, I promise. 

We’ve all heard the reports of how knitting is good for you, how calming knitting can be. For knitters, the solution to dealing with any stressful situation is as close as our knitting baskets.

Prayers for a Peaceful Holiday Season, Cindy

Cynthia Coe is the author of The Prayer Shawl Chronicles, interrelated stories about knitters and those for whom they knit and love. The sequel to this book, The Knitting Guild of All Saints, has just been released! Available in paperback and on Kindle, included in Kindle Unlimited. 

How to Knock Out a Handknitted Christmas Gift in Two Days

It’s early December, and you’re probably feeling the heat of your Christmas knitting deadlines looming. That scarf you’ve promised your favorite niece. The charity drive for handknitted scarves for the homeless. Or your kids who’ll expect an annual handknit scarf. And you’re freaking out.

Friends, you can do this. You can still knock out a half dozen handknit scarves, if necessary. I’m in the same boat, and here’s my recipe for an easy-peasy handknit scarf you can knock out in two days – assuming you have something worthwhile to watch on TV or appropriate Christmas music playing in the background.

  • First, procure a big skein of size 5 bulky yarn. I’m using Yarnspirations Caron brand “Sprinkle Cakes” yarn, bought at my local big box craft store. You just need one skein per scarf.
  • Next, get yourself size 11 US (8.0 mm) knitting needles – straight or circular, doesn’t matter.
  • Cast on 20 stitches, knit one row for a nice border.

You’re going to use a 4×4 basket weave pattern – blocks of 4 stitches, 4 rows high. Four knit stitches, 4 purl stitches, repeat to the end of the row. Flip your work over and continue in reverse. Do this for 4 rows, then switch the knits for purls and visa-versa, to wit:

  • Row 1: Knit 4, Purl 4, Knit 4, Purl 4, Knit 4
  • Row 2: Purl 4, knit 4, purl 4, knit 4, purl 4
  • Row 3: repeat row 1
  • Row 4: repeat row 2
  • Row 5: Purl 4, knit 4, purl 4, knit 4, purl 4
  • Row 6: knit 4, purl 4, knit 4, purl 4, knit 4
  • Row 7: repeat row 5
  • Row 8: repeat row 6

Continue in this pattern until you almost run out of yarn. Bind off, weave in loose ends. And voila! You’ve got a long, cozy, generously knit scarf that makes you look like a star!

For added warmth and good wishes, drink one glass of wine or a handful of chocolates while you knit. You’ll feel less stressed. I promise. 

You’ve got this! Go forth and finish that Christmas knitting!!!

Advent Blessings for a wonderful holiday, Cindy

P.S. Thanks so much for all your positive response and kind words on the publication of my new book!!!!! Y’all are awesome!!! Love, Cindy

Cynthia Coe is the author of The Prayer Shawl Chronicles, interrelated stories about knitters and those for whom they knit and love. The sequel to this book, The Knitting Guild of All Saints, has just been released! Available in paperback and on Kindle, included in Kindle Unlimited.