hap·tic – ˈhaptik/ – adjective: haptic
of or relating to the sense of touch, in particular relating to the perception and manipulation of objects using the senses of touch and proprioception (a sense of how our bodies are positioned).
Lately our household has discovered a wonderful television series, The Great British Sewing Bee. You’ll have to Google around a bit to find all of the episodes (we watched Season 1 on Daily Motion – a bit hit and miss at times – and some are on YouTube), but don’t get discouraged. What you’re about to experience is a reality series with civilized participants and truly great heart.
Often, the contestants have been entered by a family member who has watched them work tirelessly at their craft with little or no public recognition of their talent. Sewing, after all, is not something that kicks up clouds of dust or shatters a backboard, and some people will (I’ve heard it often enough myself) say, “You know…you can BUY that.” Well, someone just decided these artists need a place to shine doing what they’ve quietly been doing with excellence all along.
This emotional response to craft ebbs and flows over time, and it’s having a moment of late. It’s a trend I’ve been seeing in my Pinteresting: lots of patterns and sewing how-to’s, some I actually owned in the dim and distant, all of which ring that bell in my heart that only busy hands will quiet. Even if I already know how-to, I still read them, and pin them, and smile at them. The pleasure is undimmed, and I could not be happier for those who are about to discover the deep satisfaction of making for the first time!
In a world of pressing uncertainty, the next stitch is controllable, the next pot of soup can soothe reliably .
There is more than a nice blouse or a good loaf of bread in manual work. There is great mental clarity to be gained by hands productively occupied in an engaging but straightforward task. Whether it’s cleaning the hood of your car to a bright gleam or knitting around and around until a sock emerges, doing well what you know well puts you in a zone of tranquillity. I have often knitted complex lace in the most stressful of circumstances because, while I am doing so, I can think of nothing but the next correct stitch so that the cascade of concern is silenced for a time. Often, when I set the handwork aside, I return with a much more proportionate perspective.
I return with a clear-headed sense of where I am in the scheme of things.
Want to do a little hand work yourself? To get the chart above, suitable for knitting or needlepoint, join me on Ravelry or click on the photo to get a printed copy via U.S. Mail.