One of the perils of traveling is being exposed to the cornucopia of germs and/or viruses that book passage on the same flight, or stay in the same hotel as you just waiting to find their way into your nasal passages where they will set up camp. This is especially true at this time of year when the array of microbes is as diverse and plentiful as a Thanksgiving table. Mind you, I'm not a germ-a-phobe. But, having just spent the last week in bed with a nasty bug after returning from Rhinebeck and Stitches East, it does give me pause. Do you know what I hate most about being sick? Well everything really, but the worst part for me is that my already impaired patience disappears completely. Why aren't I better yet? Can I go to work now? Isn't there anything on TV besides the Golden Girls? (Forgive me Bea!) Plus its hard to focus when you're achy, coughing, and sneezing. And if the needles aren't giving me love (what do you mean I need to rip it out? Again!) then it just makes my temperature go even higher.
But there is an solution to this plight, and an ergonomic one at that. When I can't focus on a project for more than 10 minutes then I make sure I have about 10 projects to work on. Now some people don't understand that one does not need to work a project until its finished before starting another. "That's why God invented stashes", I explain. Indeed, I've met serial knitters in my classes who see a project through until all the ends are woven in and the blocking is complete before they even consider their next project. "Knitting monogomists" I call them. Bless them. I wouldn't change them for the world. It just doesn't work for me, and not because I live in California. So with this bug depleting my patience and and further shortening an already dangerously narrow attention span my solution was to embrace the project polygamist that I truly am. A toe up sock - ten minutes. "God I'm bored!" A cabled vest - 15 minutes. "Not the Golden Girls again. Better start some mittens for Christmas." That shawl I started last winter - 20 minutes. "Time to design some winter hats." By day five of hosting this wretched bug I finally felt well enough to get out of bed. Huzzah! If I can sit, I can spin. (Don't go there! This is a knitting blog.) "Okay, that was good for half an hour. Maybe I'll work on that sock again." I pulled out my EZ books to learn some new tricks. I pulled out my Priscilla Gibson Roberts books to learn some old tricks. I pulled out my new Mary Scott Huff book to learn a tricky tubular cast on.
I will admit that this abbreviated attention to any of these projects isn't a very productive way to work. And those of you who have come to my class know that productivity is an important part of ergonomics. It is equally as important as safety. (I'll give you a cough drop if you know the third ergonomic consideration!) However, the benefit of having lots of projects to work on and different crafts to engage in is that my muscles get lots of diverse movement, my joints get a varied range of motion (important considerations if you've just spent five days in bed with the flu), and voila injury is prevented. Not to mention it keeps me entertained and quiet which makes certain people around here very happy. Yes, there is an ergonomic advantage to having a variety of projects to work on!
Now if you're a knitting monogomist, good for you! There is nothing wrong with that. You just need to make sure you're giving your body the variety of movement and position changes that your knitting project isn't. Stand up more frequently. Stretch a little more. And if you're a project polygamist and that special someone in your life doesn't get it, you tell them that its to help you prevent injuries. And tell them I said so!
Today I'm feeling better. The books have been returned to their respectful places in the library. I'm deciding which of the 30 new projects will be finished and which will turn back into balls of yarn. And nothing hurts. Except my nose which, from all the blowing and sneezing, is red enough to stop traffic.
Stay healthy and knit safely!
Knitting can calm the soul and excite the mind. Ergo, I knit.