Knitting

A Stash of Ones Own – Clara Parks

For over a year now I’ve been exhibiting my leather work in a gallery in Chipping Campden (my home town in the centre of the Cotswolds). It’s a little over an hours drive away from where I currently live and so I have two hours a day driving when I commute in to do my day stewarding. Recently I’ve been stressed… I’ve been winding myself up about some ridiculous things that I can’t control (other people and their actions surrounding the birth of our first baby… hopefully happening in January) and so whilst driving for that large chunk of time I get more and more wound up about things that I really cant control… Not good.

Today I decided to try and change this habit of behaviour that is clearly not healthy for me or the baby! So I started listening to Pom Cast… The Podcast from Pom Pom Quarterly. I’ve learnt a lot in the process of driving to Campden now, I’ve learnt that the sound system in my car isn’t really podcast friendly, I’ve also learnt that as a knitter I am in the company of some incredibly talented and very wise, beautifully unique women.

Part way thought the podcast there is a reading by Clara Parks, the author of the recently released book ‘A Stash of Ones Own’. It was wonderful to hear her strong and incredibly empowering thoughts behind how and why as knitters we build our stash’s and feel guilt about doing this. As women we are conditioned to feel guilty for carving out time for ourselves, it’s classed as an indulgence and not a necessity for our own health and wellbeing… We are just expected to continue as carers for our husbands, children and in later life sometimes parents whilst running and maintaining our own homes as well as the jobs that we do to bring in financial support. How, in this crazy haze can we possibly find time for ourselves? How could we be so selfish to possibly think about sitting down and adding a couple of rows to the jumper we’ve been knitting since time immemorial… But actually to me its more of a question how can we not set aside this vital time for just ME.

Knitting is my therapy, without it I am adrift in a crazy, anxious and stressful world. So the question is… How can I possibly be the best version of me that it is possible to be without it? Knitting is my recharge time, it’s what enables me to tackle the mountains of washing up… To breathe deep whilst wrestling heavy shopping bags and then getting hit in the face because the front door has bounced off a pair of trainers left behind the door… It gives me the room I need to bite my tongue, to smile (what might look like a grimace but I hope it looks convincing) and take on the chin the latest order of business and other people’s opinions about the baby, my pregnancy, our house, my job and what I ‘Should’ be making etc… Yes a hot bath with lavender oil helps but I’ve not yet mastered the art of knitting in the bath and so I find myself thinking about the projects that I want to knit and searching though endless Ravelry pages to see if someone has already designed the shawl I want to start writing the pattern for.

As women we have a difficult role still and it’s becoming more and more important in the crazy world to make sure that we are looking after ourselves and out for each other. I don’t feel guilty for knitting just one more round… At the moment I earn my own money and I can afford to buy the yarn that I want to (this balance will shift when I have bean but I have enough of a stash at the moment to hopefully keep me going for a little while!). There is always more that we can do, clean, sort… But I am very keenly aware that my mental health governs the mood of my household and my own physical wellbeing and so in order for everyone to be happy and healthy… let me have my hour… or two hours with my knitting… I’m not even particularly fussed where I knit or what the rest of the house is doing at the time… But my knitting is my own and for that reason I am incredibly thankful that I am a knitter.