I haven’t been doing so well recently. It’s not something I usually write about, as I’m trying to keep this blog a happy place to share my crafty projects and hopefully chat with other knitters and crocheters in the comments, but I’ve been dealing with mental health issues since my early teenage years. I’ve been diagnosed with CPTSD, which seems to really encompass all the symptoms I’ve been struggling with for years. I’ll spare you the details of the root cause of my CPTSD; suffice it to say that it was not a good thing and that I don’t remember every detail and whenever some of the memories resurface, it usually makes my condition temporarily worse.
I’m in therapy, and I do other stuff to keep it under control. I accepted that I will have to keep working on my mental health for the rest of my life (PTSD changes the brain, so it’s not something one can just fix easily). But sometimes, something triggers the symptoms, and I start having painful flashbacks and dissociate a lot (which for me means feeling unreal and disconnected from my body). Then the depression usually kicks in. This happened again this summer when I had been so busy with work and under a lot of stress, and then all the usual combo of symptoms has followed. Frankly, I’d been feeling worse even before the summer work started, and the lack of rest and constant tension didn’t help. I knew I had to react quickly before everything spirals too much out of control, and with the help of my therapist, some additional self-care and anti-depressants, I’m slowly getting back to life and start feeling like a real person again. And just on time, as at the end of the month, I’m going to have to work more again, and then I’ll have several days of panel meetings, and I really wouldn’t like to fail at my work.
But why am I writing it? Well, I promise it’s strictly related to my recent finished knitting project, which I had treated as a part of my self-care activities because it’s so cheerful, optimistic, and bright. Ladies and gentlemen, may I present you my Citrus Dream cardigan!
I’ve seen this cardigan for the first time at Woollinn. It’s designed by Carol Feller, and I’ve been helping her unpack her car and set up her stand at the marketplace, which was an excellent opportunity to look at her yarns (by the way Nua is just divine, and I’m planning to buy some in the future!) and patterns. She had project kits with this cardi, and I immediately liked the design: it’s in thin, fingering weight yarn, it has a simple shape, and a wide neck opening, which is what I love, as it is great to wear when it’s not too cold, and on cooler days it’s a perfect excuse to add a nice shawl or a scarf. Win-win! But I didn’t buy the kit at Woollinn, as all of them were in very bright, vivid colours, not really matching the content of my wardrobe.
Still, I hadn’t forgotten about the pattern, and after Woollinn, I decided to buy some more neutral yarn to knit it. But then my mood started getting worse and worse… and I really needed something to cheer me up. Plus, for whatever reason, this bright, citrus yellow yarn was calling me. I don’t wear yellow, and I don’t think it’s my colour, but does it really matter when it was clearly what I needed to feel a little happier? So in the end, I ordered the original kit and some matching buttons from the Buttonshack. Paired up with my rubber duck stitch markers, it was such a great and uplifting project! I treated knitting it as a grounding technique, focusing on the sensation of the yarn in my hands and on the colour of course. The pattern is easy, so it was not too challenging to follow, even in my not-so-great state.
And here it is!
I can definitely say that I’m going to knit this cardigan again, and maybe even quite soon, but in a more neutral colour for a change. However, I’m going to change the gauge a little; my tension was exactly as specified in the pattern, but I think I’d prefer the fabric to be tighter and less “airy”. This means I’m going to have to knit a size bigger or just recalculate the stitch count based on the gauge I’ll achieve. And I’ll certainly switch the needles to smaller when knitting the cuffs and hem. Oh, and I will not wet- block it buttoned up the next time because these gaping, wide buttonholes look just weird (see the photo at the top of this post).
But other than that, it’s what I wanted, it’s so bright and sunny, and it helped me a little when I needed it, so what more could I ask for? 😊
And now, even though my meds kicked in giving me the energy to get out of the house and be more active again, I still keep knitting a lot, choosing textured, soft yarns, and simple patterns. I’m almost done with my next project, so I’m going to post again soon. Take care and stay healthy, everyone!