Friday, August 5, 2016

Catastrophes part two

While we as a nation have been mostly lucky, there are times when people have had to be evacuated from their homes.  We've all seen these tragic events on tv, wildfires, earthquakes, floods.  Some of us may have been involved in an evacuation.  

What do we take?   We are told to have a "bug out bag" for each person containing 3 days of necessities,  including medical needs.  I know we also want to take irreplaceable items like pictures and heirlooms.   We take our pets.  I want to suggest that to this container, we add yarn, two or three skeins and hook or needles to go with them.   Why you will be asking yourself.   I can hear you now.  I heard that from my husband when I first thought about it years ago.   Then I heard about it from a podcast.

Think about it this way.   The yarn crafting we do might be a solace for you in a stressful situation.   The yarn can create a useful thing if it's needed.  The yarn can be used for games to keep boredom at bay for children.  It can be a way to help someone having trouble adjusting to the evacuation.   In the previous catastrophe post, I alluded to a quick succession of moves for my family.  I may have posted about this before.  We had a fire.  Family that helped us collect the necessities for living, got me yarn and needles and a few hooks.  In no way did I really have time to knit or crochet.  But by having these things with me, I could have a sense of normalcy for myself.  We had a lot of school functions for the kids at the end of the year to attend.  The kids got where they needed to be, we didn't get to attend these important functions as parents.  We had to deal with the insurance company, the fire police, the utility companies, the adjuster company and so on.  My knitting was something I did to keep sanity.  Nothing I made, a series of slippers that I told everyone was for charity, was in any way even remotely wearable.  Stress made my previously on target gauge nearly bulletproof.  I had to rip out when I couldn't get the stitches to move at all along the needles because of the tightness.  When I could manage to get a finished slipper off the needles, what had previously fit an adult man now fit a toddler.

I did finally relax and my knit and crochet went back to "normal".  My kids were then the recipients of most of my stitching.  They wore the outerwear accessories and slippers and many other things. My husband was a recipient but he doesn't care for hand knit items so I let him be his own person.  He is more a t-shirt and flannel shirt person.  His hobby is cars.  He gets greasy and dirty.  He doesn't want to ruin anything I might make him.  He doesn't have to dress up for work so that isn't an option.

More recently, my son was involved in a car accident.  I took him to the ER to get checked out when he decided things weren't getting back together fast enough.  We didn't know the hospital was on divert.  This is a nice way of saying they were full up and didn't have room for more runny noses and sore throats.  But I understand people will do what they think is necessary.  Just like we did.  But I thought ahead and took some small balls of yarn with me to work on swatches for a class.  Turns out there were a few young elementary school children there who were waiting for someone to be checked.  I kept them entertained with the yarn balls by teaching finger knitting to them.  Even the parents were interested in what was going on.  Eventually everyone was seen.  My son was given medications to make him more comfortable and the knowledge that he was on track in his healing.  The kids saw us as we were leaving and they were up to be seen next.  They had to show me, the "yarn lady" how far they had come in their ropes.  The parents were relieved to not have screaming memes so late at night.

These incidents have taught me to keep yarn and hooks or needles in each car, my purse and stashed in a few other locations.  I can make a difference during a crisis or perceived crisis or even just a long wait.  Knitting and crochet make a difference in my own temperament.   For the last few years, the Craft Yarn Council of America has been highlighting how knitting and crocheting have positive effects on our health.  I think I have just shown in my own personal life how yarn is positive.  

How does yarn, knitting, or crocheting help you with your health or those around you?  Leave a comment below.  I'm interested in hearing your stories.