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The concept of "Flow" and Knitting: The secret to happiness!

Mar 25, 2014

I'm in the middle of a million things, as is wont to happen in a job with overlapping deadlines and disparate responsibilities. Last week was a photoshoot, now we're heading toward press on the summer issue, I'm planning another shoot, assigning articles for one issue, and the projects for the issue beyond that...and planning my travel to TNNA, Interweave Knitting Lab, and beyond! Needless to say, if I let myself think on it all, I will get overwhelmed. The way I approach my work is one thing at a time. Everyday has a to-do list, each day in my calendar has targets to meet, and I scratch these things off one by one. It's the only way, and it has worked for me since I began my career in publishing nine years ago. 

The other thing that helps? Sometimes I take a break and focus on something completely different. I work from home, which means I can work, uninterrupted, for 12 hours straight if I don't stop myself. So I've learned to stop myself. Somewhere midday, I'll take 30 minutes, move to the other room, and knit. Or go for a run. Make a yoga class. I try to do things on these breaks that are really mentally engaging and physically connected in some way--this way, my mind gets a break from the work, the to-do lists, and I come back to my desk refreshed. With new zeal and a different perspective on problems I was facing. My kitchen table might look like this--see below--but my mind is neat and tidy!

I know from my own life, professional and personal, that I need hobbies. I need rigorous mental and physical activity to be fulfilled. I'd heard of the concept of Flow, developed by psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, in some documentary years ago, and then today came across it again in this story posted on CNN.com. It's great to see knitting and craft come up in mainstream media, and it's also great to see our passion being linked to happiness, on a scientific level. We know knitting gives us something intangible, a firing of neurons that is soothing and stimulating at the same time. 

I think Flow is the reason I love complex knitting--heavily charted lace or cables, for instance--it's so absorbing that the rest of the world falls away. I am living completely in the moment, focused. With this in mind, I'm really looking forward to the new book from Andrea Jurgrau, a designer I worked with frequently on knitscene: New Vintage Lace. The patterns are inspired by antique lace doilies, but there are no table-toppers here; the projects are all wearable. Andrea's lace designs are intricate and contemporary and I am pretty excited, folks. 

Get your flow on, 


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New Vintage Lace

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Beautiful, wearable shawls, accessories, and a full-sized garment derived from vintage doily designs.

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