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Opinion / Program Design, Development, and Quality / Storytellers

Knitting Connections

rolls of wool yarn for knitting in a rainbow of colors

the author with a student wearing a product of knitting - a scarfThis last year has shown us how important relationships are in every aspect of our lives, from walking by someone’s desk on the way to the bathroom to meeting up with friends at a local brewery. We are all missing the social connections that relationships provide. But, I, for one, have liked the time away from the busy-ness and from social events – it has given me time to myself to focus on other things, like KNITTING!

Granted, I haven’t made anything more substantial than a scarf, but I like the time it affords me to spend sitting and being present. I am one of those people who is constantly doing a thousand things at once, but with knitting, you have to just be. Knitting has also given me a better understanding and connection to the work I do and the work we all do as BOOSTers. We make connections and bring people together. We work on a lot of different topics at once, and work to make the future better and brighter, though we may not always know what that looks like. Knitting helps us do all of these things and also helps work the dexterity in your hands!

Knitting helps weave together threads/strands

According to Merriam-Webster, knitting is a transitive verb that has quite a few meanings, but I have to admit that the only definition I use is to form a fabric or garment by interlacing yarn or thread in connected loops with needles. But it also means: to link firmly or closely, to cause to grow together, and to tie together. And aren’t those all things that we do every day in the work we do?

As the Residential Energy Program Manager for a County Department, it is my job to make sure that I am weaving together information about energy usage in an interesting and engaging way for residents. We are all inundated with a ton of information and electricity usage is not one that is a high priority although we use it every day so I have to get creative – I weave in stories about what people are doing to use less energy in the community like participating in a solar co-op. I weave in other topics like the connection between water and energy, and get people to go outside and PLOG. I weave in different colors, images, and textures which you can find all over the Instagram page I help curate. We all weave while we work – how are you knitting in different topics and colors in the work you do?

Knitting helps alleviate multitasking

a sample of the author's knitting - a yellow, blue, and green scarfI mentioned that I am the type of person who says yes to everything! This means that I am often multitasking while I am attending the gajillion virtual events we are attending every week. What has helped dramatically is knitting!

While I am knitting, I am sitting in one place – I am listening – I am engaged – I am more present in the meetings I attend.. Sure, you may see my hands frantically moving around up and down, but at least my camera is on. Before knitting, I would either turn my camera off or not fully participate. Knitting has helped me to be in the moment and to participate more directly. So whether it is knitting needles or crayons or stickers – I highly encourage you to find something to do with your hands other than scrolling through social media or answering emails. Knitting has helped me become a better participant and alleviated (some of) my tendencies to multitask.

Knitting helps to see the big picture

a sample of the author's knitting - a green scarf with red trimTo start knitting, you need yarn – and yarn comes in a variety of materials, colors, textures, weights – it can be a tad overwhelming. There are also tons of patterns, so you really have to know what you would like to knit. The good news is that there are tons of resources to help you find and complete a knitting project – just as BOOST Cafe is a resource for in and out-of-school time educators.

As someone who works with nontraditional audiences, everything from K through gray (kindergarten through Seniors), it can be overwhelming to see the big picture. What I do is concentrate on the goal – to educate as many people as I can about energy – and then I work one day at a time – one strand at a time – one knit at a time to get to that goal.

Right now most of the work I do in the community would be the equivalent of a sweater with no sleeves, BUT, everyday I get closer to attaching those sleeves to the sweater, so that is a good feeling. I have to remember what the big picture is, and as I teach others to knit, I will get closer to a finished product.

For breakfast, I had leftover rice, beans, and broccoli – I know it’s not “breakfast” but it makes me happy! 

Author: @larissaboost7

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