My knitting status currently sits at "practitioner." I haven't really produced anything, and I'm not really working on anything. I'm just... knitting. Here and there, I pick up the project in my handbag and rattle off a few rows, then it sits for a few days until I the urge to work on it again.
There are certain advantages to being a "practicing knitter." The urge to finish up a project so I can wear it is absent right now, so there's no angst when I can't get to it. My stash, rather than causing me guilt for not being used as quickly as I'd like, currently exists as a source of comfort on difficult days. It's also source of inspiration on weekend mornings, when I open my eyes to a brighter room and see the skeins arranged near my bedside table where I can drink in their colour as I awaken.
The most useful part of being a "practicing knitter" means that, since productivity is put aside, the sheer act of knitting is a way for me to work out nervous energy, which I've had a lot of since I changed roles at work. I'm still not knitting at work (I snack on crunchy vegetables instead, which is easier to do when you're working at a computer), but I've noticed that having a no-pressure project in my bag is a useful thing.
For example: some of you know that I am being assessed as a living kidney donor for my mother. One of the tests I did was to check for hypoglycaemia, and that meant sitting for two hours at the lab with no food in my tummy while they watched for my reaction to having a sudden intake of glucose. There's not much you can do while you're there, and there are only so many magazines you can read in two hours, so the comfort of the merino sock yarn in my hands was nice. I knitted a few inches into my scarf as I sat and listened to my tummy gurgle and watched other patients going in and out for their bloodwork. It was nice, and a great comfort.
Last night/this morning, I learned how much of a comfort my knitting is when I had to bring my little Rascal to the animal hospital. He'd been coughing and gagging the afternoon before, and we thought he'd settled down in the evening, but he had a sleepless, panicky night of pacing, panting, retching and wanting desperately to go outside to eat grass. By 4am and after him vomiting a couple of times, I'd had enough. I picked him up and drove the 30 minutes to the animal hospital with him drooling and swallowing beside me.
I've never been to an animal emergency clinic before. I thought it would just be Rascal and me and the comforting voice of a vet there, but within 30 minutes, two other people arrived with their animals. One was a dog that was having seizures. They took his dog in right away, and I sat and comforted the dog's owner before they took him into an examination room. Rascal was in having x-rays taken to see if he had anything stuck in his throat, and I was left alone to wait and listen to the sounds in the rest of the clinic, which weren't that comforting. They then decided to sedate him to scope his throat. They sent me away since it would be a long wait.
Firstly, I did not know there would be so many people lined up outside of a Starbucks at 6:30am.
Secondly, I did not know how comfy a Starbucks chair would feel after sitting in a vet clinic for two hours.
Thirdly, I really, really wished I'd brought my knitting with me. I needed something to do with my jittery nerves and to ease the lump in my throat that threatened to become full out crying any moment. I sat and ate a yogurt, then sat back and closed my eyes and listened to the sound of the newspaper pages turning and the music playing and the people coming in for their morning lattes and Saturday morning treats. It wasn't bad... it just wasn't knitting.
We're home now, and Rascal is sleeping, and I'm dozy from catching a few naps here and there. The vets thought he had something in his esophagus that was irritating it, but that he'd probably vomited it up and the resulting acid had further inflamed it. He was still swallowing hard and drooling when I brought him home, but he's got some painkillers and anti-inflammatories in him, and he's spent most of the day like this:
He's supposed to take it easy for the next few days, and we're supposed to use a harness on him if we take him out for a walk to keep any pressure off his throat. I bought him one on the way home, but I haven't told him yet that I had to get a large cat harness because there weren't any small dog ones left. He's had a hard enough day.
I think I'll knit now. Tomorrow will be another day.