I got another one of those knitting fits that strike me now and then. In the last few years I noticed that I experienced the knitting itch not only when I had pleanty of free time but surprisingly also when I felt I had no free time at all. For example this last one came when the boarder line between work and free time was getting so blurred that I was practically working nonstop. At some point when I was in the city area running some errands my feet brought me into a knitting supply store. I had no plans for and did not think I had the time to knit anything but as I entered the store and my eyes took in the colors and textures of yarn from different corners of the world I knew this was what I had to do and that it was about something more than an enjoyable way of spending time.
And for the last few evenings knitting I did for at least 20 minutes no matter how busy I thought I was. I would remind myself that the to-do list can never really be exhausted, then I would shut down the laptop, pick up the started knitting project and let my hands do the work, my mind go blank. This was a survival mechanism at work, it appears.
Neuroscientist Kelly Lambert offers a well-grounded in scientific research explanation to why crafts are important for our mental health in her book “Lifting Depression: A Neuroscientist’s Hands-On Approach to Activating Your Brain’s Healing Power”. (An interview with her can be heard on “To the best of our knowledge” in the 2008 December show “Re-considering crafts” and devoted to this particular issue).