The Unhappy Hooker

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Kristin Devine

Kristin is a geek, a libertarian, and a domestic goddess. She lives in a wildlife refuge in rural Washington state with too many children and way too many animals and works with women around the world as a fertility counselor. There's also a blog which most people would very much disapprove of https://atomicfeminist.com/

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16 Responses

  1. Avatar Em Carpenter says:

    I am a crocheter from way back! My grandma started teaching me when I was probably five, one stitch at a time. I used to make chains of… well, the chain stitch, that were 20 feet long! Then she taught me others. Gradually she worked me up to a granny square and helped me make a doll dress.
    I still enjoy it, now that she’s gone, I still do it and learn new stitches with books or online- even though I rarely finish a project (I’ve been working on an afghan in my husband’s favorite team colors since probably 2003- at this point I’ve decided to call it a “throw” and told him to be happy with it.)
    But it is a great way to sit and be quiet and clear my mind.
    I think my Twitter usage has replaced crocheting. Winter is a good time to rectify that.Report

    • Avatar atomickristin says:

      Yes I taught the kids to make chains but they weren’t quite ready for anything more advanced yet.

      Afghans are the bane of my existence! I have a couple half finished ones I should probably go back and complete, at least to “throw” stage.

      Your grandma sounds so awesome!

      Thanks so much for reading and commenting!Report

  2. Avatar JoeSal says:

    When history is discussed, and the mention of ‘hunter gatherer’ is given, I pause and insert makers. So it ends up being ‘hunter, gatherer, maker’.

    I don’t think the tribes would have advanced without the makers. Excellent post.Report

  3. Avatar fillyjonk says:

    In some ways (except I am blessed not to have weird autoimmune issues, well, other than allergies and hives), I am a lot like you.

    I am a knitter, though, more than a crocheter. I can and do crochet, I just mostly use it to make stuffed toys instead of other things.

    I don’t know that knitting helps me “not dwell” on anxieties when they’re really bad – if I’m really troubled and anxious I have to read a diverting book (one that takes concentration, or has very detailed descriptions of places and things) instead.

    But for the day to day stuff, where I get so many forks stuck in me over the course of a day that I want to scream, being able to go home and knit for a bit – or even knowing that I have that opportunity – helps. And I can tell my mood is worse when I’ve not been able to knit for a few days, though I don’t know if that’s because I’m not-knitting or because I’m so busy (and have evening meetings and crap) that keep me from having any free time.

    But knitting does help me weather waiting places better. Even though I know it’s deeply eccentric and they probably laugh at me behind my back for it, I knit when I invigilate exams for my students, because otherwise, spending an hour silently walking around a classroom looking to see if anyone’s peeking at another person’s paper, or has smuggled notes taped to a water bottle, or something, makes me want to scream.

    Using the language of addiction annoys me a bit. Are people who exercise daily (I do, pretty much, and that helps with my anxiety more than ANYTHING I do) addicts to exercise? Or because that’s “healthful,” it’s OK?

    For me, knitting helps me be a little bit calmer. If I couldn’t knit (and get daily exercise), I’d probably have to be on meds for anxiety. I’m not sure that’s “better” than having a closet full of yarn and spending my spare time making socks and sweaters.

    The other thing about knitting that helps me a lot is it’s “permanent.” You can look at what you made and it’s still there the next day. I make my living as a college professor at a teaching-oriented university. So much of what I do feels ephemeral: I go in to class and do a lecture or run a discussion or hold a lab, and at the end of the class, it’s gone, vanished into the ether forever, and I have to go back the next day and do it AGAIN. And grading: I get one batch of grading done and then there’s another one to do. And even the rare journal articles I write; there’s so damn much rewriting and revising (even before I send it in and let the reviewers eviscerate it, and afterward there’s either revision or revising followed by resubmitting [spin the roulette wheel again to see if it gets accepted[) that by the time it does come out, I’m so tired of it and feel so flat that I can’t even be happy. And that’s even without realizing that maybe five people will ever read what I publish, fewer probably than the comments I leave on a blog….

    And yeah, I find as I spend more time online, I knit less, and that should probably change. Or I need to figure out some way to have the laptop in front of me and knitting going and only check it every half-hour or so.Report

    • I totally agree calling everything an “addiction” is really irritating and I hate it when people do, but I couldn’t really come up with another way to describe the odd series of strange coping mechanisms (prolly should have just called them “strange coping mechanisms”).

      I totally agree with you – it’s the “death by 1000 cuts” type of anxiety that the fabric crafts really seem to help alleviate. Not the big things, but the steady background buzz that just happens to get louder at some times than others.

      You’re so right about the ephemeral nature of much modern work. I have a new set of clients every few days/weeks/months and start over again with them and I equate it to rolling a boulder up a hill every day only to find in the night that it’s rolled back down again. And everything I do is online, so what I consider to be “life’s work” really can be deleted at the touch of a button. There is a definite lack of permanence to our modern existence…we’re not building a rock wall that will stand for centuries, what we do and think and work on may be gone even before we are.

      I did used to really prefer knitting, I’m going to have to pick that back up again too.

      Thanks so much for reading and commenting.Report

  4. Avatar bookdragon says:

    Despite my grandmother’s best efforts, never quite got the hang of crotchet. I may be because I’m a lefty and just couldn’t coordinate the right-hand version or flip all of her instructions around from right to left. My sister is great at it though.

    I took up stained glass and mosiacs – it’s artistically applied fracture mechanics and I get to use a soldering iron, so I think it’s probably the ideal art form for an engineer. Plus if I mess up the broken pieces just get reworked into a different project. Of course it’s not something you can do while sitting in a doctor’s office, and it’s probably more expensive than crotchet. I’m not sure on that last point though. For mosaics I can get lots of material cheap at tag sales, second hand and ‘junktique’ stores. The real stained glass though… that can cost and the fancy glass has that same glorious appeal you describe for good yarn. Easily addictive.

    btw, on the fabric art as addiction point though, I know a couple people who have gotten addicted to spinning their own yarn, esp. using traditional drop spindles. Seriously, they are so far gone they have been talking about going in together on buying an alpaca (one of them lives on a farm and could add it to her menagerie), so beware. 😉Report

    • Avatar fillyjonk says:

      that is why I haven’t learned how to spin (Well, I tried a drop spindle a few times and couldn’t get the hang of it, I’m too clumsy, but people tell me I might be able to spin on a wheel): because if I go from “Knitting my own sweaters with purchased yarn” to “knitting with yarn I spun myself,” the next logical step will be “knitting with yarn spun from animals I sheared myself” and that’s just a bridge too far.

      Also I think my city frowns on alpacas or sheep within city limits, though I wonder if there’s some way I could persuade my university that their lawnmowing costs could be greatly reduced with an on-campus flock…Report

      • Avatar bookdragon says:

        There’s always angora rabbits 😉

        Actually one of the spinning enthusiasts I know collects dog fur and spins it. It doesn’t make the softest thread, but for a dog lover, something knitted from their beloved pets’ fur is a great keepsake. She originally was doing it just because her long-haired dogs provided plenty of raw material, but she’s had several commissions from people wanting items made from their pets’ fur.Report

        • Avatar atomickristin says:

          People raise rabbits in apartments, which seems weird but strangely the bunnies actually thrive in fairly small spaces. We have rex rabbits, which don’t have that good fur, but there’s always room for another bunny or two (somewhere my husband just shuddered like someone walked over his grave)Report

    • Avatar atomickristin says:

      Oh I can’t imagine learning as a lefty, from a righty. I’ve tried to learn several things from my stepmother and mother in law, both of whom are left handed and it’s really tough.

      I’d always dreamed of getting into stained glass but never had the chance. Cool!!

      My husband really wants sheep for preventing fires around our farm. That one could actually happen! Hmmmm…Report

  5. Avatar Maribou says:

    Good post.

    I bought the beginner’s stuff for learning crochet last winter break (because who wouldn’t want an amigurumi Yoda??) and then things got really complicated and I never actually tried it.

    Hoping maybe this winter break will be the one where I learn.Report

  6. Avatar fillyjonk says:

    I don’t know if you have to be a Ravelry member or not (it’s free) to view patterns (I’m a member) but I’m just gonna leave this here for all of those who grew up with “Classic” Sesame Street.

    (There is also a knitted version for those who prefer to knit, but my experience knitting on chenille yarn have told me I’d rather crochet with it)

    I also have something like a dozen My Little Ponies made off of a crochet deer pattern I lightly modified….I am a little, um, weird, about amigurumi.Report

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