Monday, July 22, 2013

Some Thoughts on Swatching... and Hypersensitivity

Happy Monday, All! I hope your work week is getting off to a good start. Mine is moving along, but I am procrastinating on the grocery shopping. *sigh* It's days like today that I truly wish I were a foodie and that I would get excited about a trip to market. For me, though, it seems the faster I can get it over with, the better. 

That's because the things I do love await me at home!  After my other chores, of course. Here is the latest update in my "Making and Media" series; the rewards that await at the end of my day:

I am swatching for a new project that has been waiting for me for quite a long time now. I think I've had this Knit Picks Chroma yarn for over 2 years now! I'm actually going to go ahead and use it with the pattern for which I originally bought it, the Noro Fair-Isle Flower Hat by designer, Katie Rose.

I attached the tail to Sage Mouse, so she is complete. I still owe her an outfit, but Mama needs to work on something of her own choosing for a little bit before I go back to projects for my girls.

I don't mind swatching. I sat out on the deck yesterday in the shade of the umbrella and began my swatch. First of all, though many knitters just want to "get on" with their projects, I enjoy the swatch process because it's usually just straight knitting. If I have just finished a project, that means that I have been weaving in ends, seaming, or in the case of the mouse, attaching limbs! That is sewing. I like sewing, but I love knitting. I am always eager to get back to the rhythm of the needles. I don't have to look when I am swatching. I can look around the yard, visit with my family, or watch a movie. With seaming and weaving, one must concentrate. With swatching, you are back to the repetition of the movement and the discovery of the fabric forming in your hands.


I also appreciate swatching, because over the years, I have evolved into quite a loose knitter. The photo above is me swatching worsted weight yarn on U.S. size 5 needles. That's three sizes smaller than what worsted usually calls for and that seems to be my "knitting m.o." these days. So, if I want anything to fit, it is imperative that I swatch. That can be said of any pattern that needs to fit, but you may be able to fudge a bit if you seem to knit with an average gauge. Not me.


As far as books go, I have made the most progress with The Goose Girl by Shannon Hale. It really is turning out to be a wonderful story with a lot of unique features. I'm about halfway through and I think anyone with a penchant for fantasy would enjoy it.

I had to stop listening to The Orphan Master's Son by Adam Johnson. I was listening to the audio book version and I can tell you that I felt the narration was excellent. The book, I believe is really compelling as well and I can see, from the amount that I listened to, just why it received the Pulitzer. That said, it was just too disturbing for me. I have a very sensitive nature and I really just could not listen to it. It saddens me terribly to think about the kind of lives the North Koreans live and I continue to pray for them regularly. I just could not listen to this work of fiction that is based on truth.

I am the kind of person that often can't handle television news stories and so rarely, if ever, watch the news anymore. I listen to the news via NPR and occasionally even that can get to be too much when the headlines are tragic. I'm not in denial about issues in the world. In fact, the opposite is nearly true; I think very seriously about the challenges of this life and when - not if - I am not careful, it has proven to be too much. I say this alluding to the fact that I struggle with anxiety and have, off and on, since my mid-thirties, though even before this, I was accused regularly from childhood on of being "too sensitive." And perhaps I am.

Dr. Gemma of the wonderful Cogknitive Podcast did a terrific series on hypersensitivity a couple of months ago that I listened to with great interest. She noted that a certain percentage of the population truly is hypersensitive and things that bother hypersensitive people just don't bother a larger portion of the population. And, she noted, that there isn't anything you can "do" about being hypersensitive other than just being aware of it and leaning to deal with it.

This is what I have done and continue to do. I am more aware than ever of what my "triggers" are when it comes to anxiety and/or taking on the world's pain into myself. I know that may sound odd to some, but I just feel I have a highly empathetic nature that actually can take a toll on me if I am not too careful.

And so, I chose to stop listening to the book in the same way that I choose not to read books about missing or abducted or molested children or other books that are just too dark or disturbing for me. It is, in part also, why I am vegetarian.

I also realize that people do need to know about these topics in order to help others in these hurtful circumstances. I am thankful for the kind of people that can deal with these various kinds of situations: police officers, firefighters, emergency medical personnel, social workers, etc. But, like a person who faints at the sight of blood will unlikely ever become a doctor, I find that I need to limit the amount of information I receive regarding certain scenarios.

I'm sharing this, because I know that there are others like me and I just wanted to say something about it to let you know that it's not only you that experiences things like this. I don't want to make more of this than what it is, but it is frustrating to me from time to time when things that don't bother other people do bother or frighten or upset me for periods of time. I don't like feeling "fragile" when it comes to hearing about things, but it is what it is. My greatest comfort comes from my faith in Christ and the promises He has made; I highly recommend Him! :) Scripture passages on peace have proven themselves to me time and again; I am so thankful for His Word.

Back on topic, what I am reading... or looking forward to reading... after I get this shopping out of the way, is my little pile of letters! I have received two bits from World Vision. One for sure, I know is from the little boy I sponsor, Mohammed. I haven't heard from him in a few months, so it will be fun to see what he has been up to. And I also have a lovely letter awaiting me from one, dear pen-pal in Texas. I can hardly wait to open her letter, but I must until my chores are done!


So, in order to get to that side of my day, I'd best be off! I'll check in with you tomorrow; thanks for stopping by! :)
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