I haven’t been able to do as much making as normal since I hurt my thumb at quidditch practice a couple of weeks ago.
I actually think I was rather lucky. The injury was absolute agony at the time. I was convinced my thumb was broken. On the way to get it x-rayed, I felt like I was cursed. Images of hand surgery, weeks of recovery and permanent damage to my dominant hand filled my mind. What if my fine motor skills were affected? What if I no longer hand the ability to take a project from idea to reality?
The x-ray revealed no fractures, for which I was incredibly grateful. But that was where the diagnosis ended. My thumb was either sprained or strained, I was told not to play contact sport for at least two weeks, given a splint and sent on my way. I was so worried that I went to my GP on the Monday, but they weren’t able to give me any clearer information, apart from telling me again that soft tissue damage takes 2-6 weeks to heal.
I spent the next few days pretty depressed. You don’t realise how much you use your right thumb until it’s hurt. Everything was an inconvenience, I couldn’t craft or exercise and the splint hurt my wrist. In addition to all of this, our regional quidditch tournament was taking place the week after the injury. How could I lead my team and feel I’d made a contribution if I couldn’t play?
I went to therapy and my analyst asked if I’d seen a physio. I laughed- I’ve never been to a physiotherapist in my life. We spoke about how she kept coming up with solutions and advice for me. Was this a response to my feeling powerless in getting better?
Even though it was expensive, going to see the physio was a massive relief. She carefully assessed my hand and told me what she thought was wrong with it- a strained muscle. The power and movement in the thumb was normal. I was unlikely to do more serious damage if I played at the weekend.
Psychologically, I think that having the input from the physio allowed me to switch from feeling like a victim to feeling resilient. Perhaps I was recovering more quickly than expected because I am strong. I also think it was important that I took action and helped myself.
I rested the thumb for the rest of the week and then tried some gentle throwing and catching on Friday. My hand was okay! Amazingly, I was able to play in the tournament with very little pain or loss of function.
Photo credit: More Quidditch Photos on Facebook
Knitting isn’t too painful, so I’ve been making some slow progress on the last long rows of my Wonder Woman shawl. I think it’s looking great! I’m going to Bristol for a conference this week, so hoping I’ll get to finish it up.
Here we have yet another instance of craft reflecting life. Being able to bounce back from an injury and lead my team in the tournament has helped me to feel like a strong and capable woman. A bit like a certain superhero.
Dabbling in indoor gardening during the winter whetted my appetite for a larger project. I soon found myself asking my landlady if I could tear up her garden, hoarding compost and ordering seeds online. I even bought a gardening-themed necklace.
Here are a few of the seedlings taking over my house.
- Various seedlings in my mini greenhouse
- Tomatoes and Brussels sprouts
A mistake I made when I tried to grow pumpkins was not preparing the soil. To be fair to the me of two years ago, the only tool I had was a hand trowel. However, it was ludicrously optimistic to think that I could just chuck the plants into the ground and be rewarded with an abundance of fruit.
This time, I spent a lot of time digging out my vegetable patch. I picked stones and I yanked roots. I dug in organic matter and two types of compost.
I realised the other day that I have only become interested in gardening since beginning intensive psychoanalysis. Something that I especially like about psychodynamic theory is its links to literature, and use of association and metaphor. I could hardly think of a more apt metaphor for analysis than taking the time to transform rough earth into something that can bear fruit.
I’ve written before about how my psychological state can be seen in my creative pursuits, a very obvious example of art imitating life. When I tried gardening before, I was unsuccessful due to a lack of preparation. I didn’t have all of the tools and equipment that I needed to turn my sandy London dirt into a garden that allowed my seedlings to thrive.
Two years on, I find myself researching and making plans to give myself the best chance at success. I took the time to observe my garden to put the vegetables in the best spot. Could this represent..growth?
If you believe in psychodynamic ideas, you believe that many aspects of a person’s life can reflect their inner conflicts. Sometimes it strikes me that my approach to craft reflects what’s going on in the rest of my life. Last year, knitting was often a form of escape for me. Having finally finished my doctorate, I sought a sense of achievement from completing highly complex and technical knits, which were also a way for me to avoid other aspects of my life that I find stressful and distasteful. Some people bury their head in the sand. I bury mine in five skeins of the finest cashmere and alpaca blend.
I had some unexpected knitting time a couple of weekends ago and I noticed a common theme in my works-in-progress. I am currently in the middle of:
At the moment, all of these projects seem like they’ll never end. All of them have been on the needles or hook for a while, not seeming to get nearer completion. I’m not feeling hugely satisfied with any of them. Especially with the sweaters, I’m not even sure if I like the colours.
Many of the questions that I have about my knitting projects could also be asked about my life. Will the finished project resemble what I hoped it would? Will I be happy with it? Am I rushing through the process, not really enjoying it, focusing too much on the outcome? It can be difficult to be at the wrong end of your twenties and still uncertain about whether you’re on the correct path in life.
For the time being in life, to borrow an unbelievably overused phrase, it’s a case of keep calm and carry on. In craft, I must keep calm and carry yarn.
I was sad to miss the first anniversary of my blog. I was about to launch a bitter diatribe against WordPress, then remembered that I changed names a few months ago, which could potentially be the reason. Although I still didn’t get a notification that it was a year since I launched Crafty Little Baker…
Anyway, I took the opportunity to have a look back at some of the projects I’ve completed this year. Part of the reason I started the blog was so I could have a record of all the different things I make, especially because I often give them away (necessary, or my tiny room would be EVEN MORE bursting with crap than it already is). I hoped it would allow me to have my cake and eat it too.
I also realised that I make a hell of a lot of Mario-themed stuff. Although I am fond of Mario and his pals, they take up a disproportionate amount of my crafting energy given the small amount of room taken up in my brain by the little guys. But then, the things that take up a lot of room in my brain probably wouldn’t make such cute crafts. Oedipus complex cross-stitch, anyone? Freud Frangipane? No? Actually, I did make some cakes that I think any psychoanalyst would enjoy.
Still can’t decide which is the good and which is the bad, though.