“Our brains renew themselves throughout life to an extent previously thought not possible.” ~Michael S. Gazzaniga
This year, I made a conscientious decision to challenge my brain more. One of the reasons that I set my reading goal was to re-develop my ability to focus and concentrate for an extended period of time. I also decided to start knitting again, something I hadn’t done in more than 20 years.
In the fall, I enviously watched one of my grade 8’s knit a scarf. She worked at it enthusiastically, pulling out her needles during her lunch breaks and at recess. I kept thinking about my own needles, bought more than 30 years ago, that were sitting in my basement. Every time, I got rid of old books and things, I would pick up my needles to donate but ended up putting them back in their spot. I couldn’t let them go; I knew that I wanted to take it up again. This Christmas, I was ready.
But for me, knitting has to have a purpose. When I was younger, I would knit for my friends’ kids, making sweater after sweater after sweater. Today, there is no way that my own teens would want to hang out with their friends, sporting one of Mom’s creations. Then, I thought about the Hamilton Yarn Bomber, who knits scarves and leaves them on statues for someone who needs them.
Knitting scarves was the perfect solution. That would let me relearn some old skills and work with different types of wool. So over the holidays, I made my first scarf. When I returned to work in January, I took my needles and wool with me to work on during lunch and, after finishing a few more by the end of the month, I added them to the hat and scarf bin at Kerr Street Missions – for those who need something warm to wear.
In February, I made scarves for a homeless village in Toronto. I’m now working on scarves for next year. And I’m ready to venture into the world of hats and mittens.
What started as a simple project has become positive for me in many ways. It has re-ignited a part of my brain that I haven’t used in years. It has forced me to sit down and relax, even if it is for only 10 minutes, without feeling like I am wasting time doing nothing. And it has let me help others. All of this has left me feeling good about what I am doing, which only proves that there was a reason that I kept my needles for all of those years.