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Cold, Rain, and Comfort Projects

For those who celebrate, next week brings us the Winter Solstice, Yule, and Christmas, and while the weather outside is frightful, it isn't because of snow. As I'm writing this week's blog post, it is chilly, windy, overcast, and rainy. The perfect weather for staying in to work on some comfort projects.


What makes a comfort project different than any other fiber project we work on? For some people, perhaps not much, but for others, the difference seems to lie in how we feel when we work on them. To understand, we have to really get down into what's going on in our bodies.


When I lived in Tulsa during graduate school, my yoga instructors worked with us on how to really drop down into our bodies and how to become deeply and bodily aware. It isn't as easy as you think. Although we live within our bodies, outside stimuli often cause us to focus our attention elsewhere and outside. Only by turning our attention inward were we able to make space for our selves.


In many ways, that's why fiber work is so enticing and additive for many of us. It gives us a chance to really dig into a sensory experience as we see the myriad of colors in the fiber, feel its texture, hear the rhythm of our working, and even smell that distinct if at times faint fiber scent. While working with fiber allows us to engage multiple senses at once, sometimes we aren't as fully in our bodies as we might need to be.


Which brings me back to comfort projects. The difference between a comfort project and any other fiber project lies in the ways our bodies--perhaps involuntarily or automatically--react to them. Comfort projects allow our shoulders to drop, our hands to not grip so tightly. They allow us to feel our lungs fill and the breath almost move up and down our spines, slightly stretching them with each inhale. Comfort projects don't cause our elbow joints to stiffen or our necks to become sore. They almost encourage our eyelids to droop a little, our jaws to unclench. Our gaze at the pattern softens, and we don't squint so much at those tiny little words. When we put down a comfort project, we can feel so relaxed that we're ready for bed or so rejuvenated that we're ready to tackle that thing on the To Do list we've been putting off.


Comfort projects are different for everyone. For some, it might be a trusty pair of vanilla socks or a quick hat. For others, their comfort project might be intricate lace or Fair Isle colorwork. Whatever your comfort project may be, I hope it brings you a sense of peace and relaxation this week.

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