We haven't even officially begun Renovations Round Three and it's already taking its toll. It probably doesn't help that I'm not feeling well at the moment or DH wants me to help lift heavy stuff (and from my perspective is incredibly unclear about just what he wants my role to be) or that we're living amongst chaos (which I hate). I know it will definitely get worse and that I need to find ways to manage.
It certainly helps that I have work to go to most days. At least I don't have to look at boxes stacked in the hallway all day every day. (As of today they have been moved into Son#5's bedroom but soon a piano and table will take their place.)
Having a room to retreat to that isn't too messy also helps which is why I'm desperately trying to establish a system whereby we are not drying huge amounts of laundry in front of the fire or storing too much of anything in our main living areas.
Taking a walk or doing some gardening also helps. I don't think I realised before now how therapeutic pulling weeds can be (even if I'm fighting a losing battle with onion weed). But what I find most helpful is escaping through creativity: writing, music, and knitting and quilting.
Most of my handicrafts are packed away somewhere in carefully named boxes which are likely to remain inaccessible until this renovation is over (or we have to move all the boxes into another room so the builder can work on the bedrooms). But I still have my sock knitting since it takes up little space and it's still cold enough to warrant knitting such items. This despite New Zealand having an incredibly mild winter so far.
I have been working on a pair for DH which are almost done. When I started the second sock I was afraid I wouldn't have enough wool to finish so I left the sole to last. My predictions have turned out to be correct. I have enough wool to do about three or four rows out of ninety for the sole. I have ordered more (I love this yarn and want to use it again) but it won't be here for another month.
I think I'll wait. But if I can't, I can always undo the sole on the first sock and knit it up in stripes of navy and the main colour and do the same with the second sock. I would only have just enough, given that there will be some wastage from undoing the sole and also having to leave ends to weave in later. If I get bored or desperate I might consider that option, but for the moment I'll wait for the order of yarn to arrive.
But more than just knitting, it's creating that helps me relax and cope with stress. Even if I do end up undoing my work multiple times. I don't do tension/gauge squares or samplers of patterns, so it's my own fault if I get it wrong the first time.
And the second. And third.
A few weeks ago I threw out a sock that had developed holes. I loved the pattern however and wanted to recreate it. But all did not go well. I didn't like the way the cable ran up the sides and that it didn't show up so well on sock yarn. (I've knitted this cable before in heavier yarn and it looked wonderful). What I did like is that the cables were created without a cable needle in sight (and without dropping and pinching stitches too).
So I tried another pattern. Initially I was happy with this pattern but as the sock grew, I didn't like the way the cables on the side drew it in or the distortion resulting from stitches knitted normally running against stitches that were slipped every other row. Even putting it on my foot didn't make this distortion completely disappear.
So I undid it. (Now you know why DH jokes that for every sock I complete, I knit two or three.)
I still liked the pattern but decided to ditch the side cables and wrap the sole pattern (which I loved and which shouldn't be hidden away on the sole - even if the main reason I used it was to have slipped stitches on the sole so that the sole didn't grow quicker than the instep which also used slipped stitches) around to the front centre panel.
I liked this one so much that I sewed in the thread from casting on to close the little hole that forms when you knit a toe-up sock, something I never do unless I'm absolutely certain I won't be undoing my work.
Not only am I happy with the pattern but this sock also reminds me of a dress my mother knitted me on her brand new knitting machine when I was a girl. I never got to wear it (it was too tight) but the white and shades of purples remind me of how I felt when I first saw it lying on my bed one Sunday morning. I don't know what happened to that dress (I don't remember my younger sister wearing it either) but this sock pattern, as well as helping me de-stress, reminds me of all the other items knitted for me over the years by family members and with much love.
Now if only I could see our renovation as a labour of love ... love for an old house that needs care ... love for our family and each other ...
But at the moment all I can see is mess and it will, as I said above, only get worse.
I can predict with almost absolute certainty a whole lot more knitting in my immediate future.