I know I am a terrible blogger, but I hope you will forgive me. Today I come to you humbly and with an admission that does not come easily to me. I was afraid of socks.
Before you have me committed, allow me to explain. I was afraid of knitting socks to be more specific. I can knit, purl, knit two together, etc. so my mother (who, rest assured is not the type to tell me I can do things when I can’t) assured me I could knit a sock, or even a whole pair of socks. Finally, the beautiful fingering weight sock yarns lured me into the pit of temptation that is sock knitting. I cast my stitches on to all four size 3 needles and took the plunge.
And actually, the first sock turned out just fine! (I will post a picture once I get my phone playing nice again) I am well into the second sock in the pair and everything has gone rather well. I admit the kitchener stitch on the first one was not flawless, but I will get better I am sure. But, what, you may ask; does knitting a sock have to do with horses or RA?
Knitting, specifically knitting this pair of socks, has allowed me to think about nothing, a skill that I previously had been unable to master. As I knit I can simply “zone out” as I knit and purl for the rib and knit the instep, and pay just enough attention to know when I need to decrease or knit the heel flap etc. When my hands are stiff and sore, somehow I can still knit, even with ridiculously tiny yarn (though up next is another hat in this pattern: http://wendysknitch.wordpress.com/2010/01/28/sweet-eleanor-available-now/ which I made recently and had a lot of fun with and I can use bigger yarn. Gave the first one to Aubrey. Not sure who will get the next one…..maybe Lara or Julie.). I get a feeling of achievement and satisfaction when I am done and am actually starting to notice that on the whole my dexterity in my hands is a tiny bit better after knitting consistently again (I hadn’t knitted in ages and just started again in the last couple months) and the popping in my finger joints has decreased ever so slightly. So, it helps the RA symptoms a tiny bit and when it doesn’t pain control by focusing on something else is not to be under rated.
But what about riding? Interestingly, I realized through knitting that I had a huge problem in my riding. I was frustrated a lot. I would have great lessons and then have mixed results during the week mostly because if anything at all went wrong I would think I was an awful, miserable excuse for a rider and that Strider deserved better. How could I get on my horse and ruin him? Didn’t he deserve better after everything the poor horse has been through? And yet this would make our rides worse since Stride would sense my anger and frustration and a vicious circle would begin. But in knitting, I have no such struggle. Even when I have to undo 7 rows of stitches because I misread a pattern, I only get slightly annoyed, mostly because I wish I could be making forward progress but ultimately I want the finished product to come out right so I don’t mind too much. So what is different from knitting to riding aside from the obvious? Why was I ok with going back and fixing a mistake in knitting, but in riding would brook no fault?
Ultimately I still don’t know the answer to that question, but in asking it I came up with tools to help me stop the vicious circle in my rides (thank you for the advice COTH forum members). I also am ending up with a really nice pair of socks that will hopefully help keep my feet warmer. So really, I win whether I answer my question or not. More later; until next time, RAWR!