Migraine Week and Knitting Washcloths

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A lot of the time, I judge just how good or bad the day was by how many washcloths I get done. On good days (pain-wise, at least), I get other things done— be it school, cleaning, writing, baking, et cetera, et cetera, but on bad days–during migraine week especially–the thing I do most is watch movies or listen to audiobooks, and knit. I’ve recently taken up knitting again, mainly because of my headaches. During migraine week I hardly get anything done. I lay in a dark room and watch clips from the Carol Burnett Show. I cover all the windows in the basement with blankets so I can lay on the cold leather couch and watch a movie. If I can’t take any light at all, I put my earbuds in and listen to an audiobook. And I feel bad, because I don’t get anything done. My normal chores, Mum or Mack do. My family barely sees me for days. Usually by the end of the week I feel like *poof!* there went another week of my life, so unproductive; wasted.

Knitting while watching the presidential debate with my parents, grandparents, and brothers!

So when I have something I can do–even if it’s just knitting another washcloth–it makes me feel so much better about the day. I may not have done anything else during the day, but hey! At least I got four washcloths done. I may not have gotten anything checked off my to-do list, but I was productive, in this small way.

That’s how I work. It’s depressing if all I can do is sit in a dark room, so if I can do something–anything!–productive, it makes me much happier. I just counted the washcloths I’ve knitted since the beginning of last migraine week to the end of this one (4-5 weeks, probably), and my stack has gotten so large that just from those few weeks I’ve knitted over 40 washcloths.

This is what 40 washcloths looks like, my friends. All different patterns and sizes–some four times as big as others!

There’s another thing. I don’t just knit a washcloth, knit-purl-knit-purl; I come up with patterns. And if I don’t like them, I tear them out and start again. I’ll do tiny squares, or large zigzags, or fir trees. . . and I’ll look up patterns, and try to figure out how to adapt them and have fun with them. I don’t really follow the patterns, in fact; I just look at the pictures and see if I can figure it out on my own. And usually I can. If I can’t, I’ll look for a video, because, frankly, I’m horrible at reading patterns. I need the visual–that’s how I learned to cast on. And just yesterday I figured out how to knit circular washcloths! (I’m very happy about that. And I predict I won’t knit square washcloths for awhile. 😉 )

Is it just me, or do you feel like this too? When you have the flu, or a cold, or if you have a chronic illness, do you feel unproductive all the time? Do you have something that you can do with your hands that makes you feel just a little bit better–a little more productive, and less like you’re wasting your time–or life? That’s what is comes down to, for me. When I’m in a lot of pain, I need to distract myself. Otherwise, I’ll start wondering why I’m in pain, or why we can’t figure out the reason, or wondering if I will ever be able to a. b. or c. in the future. When I’m feeling good, I feel like I can conquer this thing. When I’m feeling bad, it feels like it has conquered me. So keeping my hands and my head busy. . . it helps me, in so many ways. And too, we’ll never run out of washcloths again. Yarn, yes. Washcloths, no.

A few Wyoming-inspired washcloths I knitted for our hosts.
A few Wyoming-inspired washcloths I knitted as a surprise for our hosts, when we were there.

Mum told me I need to start writing down my patterns for all these washcloths. . . when all this is over, I could write a book of washcloth patterns. But maybe I should publish a couple on here. . . what do you think, friends?

Don’t forget! You only have until tomorrow night to enter my giant bookmark giveaway! You can enter every day, and there will be four winners, so tell your friends!








One comment on “Migraine Week and Knitting Washcloths

  1. I really appreciate this post. I don’t struggle with chronic illness, but I always feel more compassion for those who do when I’m in the first trimester of pregnancy. Praise God it is temporary, but it makes me think if this was my daily reality for years how hard it would be. Just 7 weeks in, and not formally announcing yet, I’ve struggled with depression (much like I did during the first trimester with Rebekah) because I feel awful and have little motivation. Some days getting out of bed is hard. But pregnancy at least comes with the hope of a beautiful life woven together and the reminder that it is temporary.

    If I ever learn to knit I would love some dishcloth patterns! Those are beautiful! You could raffle them off or sell them with goats’ milk soap!
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