Sunday, July 25, 2010

Knitting endorphins.



Any of a group of peptide hormones that bind to opiate receptors and are found mainly in the brain. Endorphins reduce the sensation of pain and affect emotions.


I've never been one to get an endorphin rush from running/biking/mountain climbing/skydiving--mainly because I lack the drive  to get out of the starting gate, let alone the endurance to reach that awesome endorphin high I've read about. And yet, according to the definition above, I've been an endorphin junky from the start. Since childhood, I've found creating, thinking about creating, collecting ideas for creating, all create me a happy place. That's a place with positively affected emotions that over-rule mental, emotional, or physical pain, without the nasty side effects of an opiate.  And knitting is only one of the forms of creating I enjoy.

Perhaps I should market a bumper sticker that says, "I Knit for Endorphins." It could catch on.

One of my favorite things about searching the WorldWideInterWeb is seeing this sort of thing pop up:

Find Endorphins
Huge savings on Endorphins: Browse a large selection 
& grab a bargain!

In all honesty, I would love to "browse a large selection of endorphins and grab a bargain" but you and i both know, does not carry them. So why tease me?

Anyway, back to knitting and endorphins, I bought some beautiful yarn when I was in Alabama,

at the store below, "In the Making." Great name, eh? The yarn is really a bright, beachy turquoise, but apparently there are limits to my iPhone's photo capabilities.

And once inside the store,

the sight alone of bins full of yarn starts the endorphins rolling for me. 

The particular yarn I purchased has a great story as well--

for beyond its cool name and tag, there's a great back-story to the yarn. The company is MANOS del URUGUAY, which means Hands of Uruguay. It's a "non-profit organization that assembles over 400 artisans in cooperatives scattered throughout the countryside of Uruguay. The aim of the organization is to bring economic and social opportunities to rural women." The yarn is hand dyed in large kettles, creating the striated effect.

I think life is hard if my economic status says I need to cut back on my lattes, and here's a company making an amazing product that is helping women even have an economic status.

I wish the photos could show the reality of the color, texture, and marble-like shading.  The yarn is a Peruvian cotton of wonderful softness. It came in a hank, typical of the nicer (translate: "spendier") yarns. When initially untwisted from the hank it looks like that first picture above, a big loop of loveliness. (And in a new experience, these hanks were tied with the devil's own knot--likely offered to me by God in the interest of teaching me that I may need patience, even in my happy place.)

For actually knitting, an evenly wound ball is much better to pull from and less tangly, so you use one of these:
a yarn swift,
and one of these:
a ball winder, to make these,

lovely cakes of yarn, with the yarn pulling from the inside all neatly and efficiently.

In case you don't know what swifts and winders are, here's a quick explanation. The swift (which looks, I realize, like a badly designed umbrella) serves as the hands to hold the opened hank of yarn so it doesn't tangle--while the winder turns and rolls the yarn into the adorable (yet sadly inedible) cake. The  "real" type of yarn store (one that is all about the fibers and doesn't really offer non-fiber related products and has a cool fiber-related name) usually has the swift and ball winder on hand so they can do it for you if you don't have the equipment at home. Me? I love gadgets. My winder is a simple hand crank while the ones at yarn stores usually use power. Mine was cheaper, and surely cranking by hand must burn off a calorie or two as well?

Next time I'll show you what I'm making with this reminiscent-of-a-summer-day yarn, just in case you're interested.

But getting back to the endorphins, I think I can use knitting--all parts of it from the yarn store to the finished product--as natural pain relief and more balanced emotions. Shouldn't that make it payable by my insurance? Hmm... I need to check into that.

Where do you "browse" for endorphins? What's your endorphin-high of choice? And let's keep it legal, and not too embarrassing, okay? ;-D

Skimmer's Recap: i browse for MY endorphins at the yarn store!


Anonymous said...

My endorphin high is a little strange but related to knitting. I always play with a strip of soft nylon in my left hand with my fingers. This is very soothing and it really Is the repetitive hand movements that release serotonin, dopamine, also use soft flexible plastic ear plug cords I cut just for the occasion! It is just a form of therapy for me that helps with pain, anxiety, depression. I get an instant feeling or result without having to go sit in a doctors office trying to get a rx for vicodin or some other narcotic. I get the same feeling with my strange homemade prescription listed above

julia said...

It's cool that you figured out something that works, especially for pain etc--clever! And something so simple, too. My daughter used to hold the velour tail on her stuffed pig and rub it till the fuzz all wore off. i think we replaced it 3 or 4 times. :-)

My friend's dad used to rub smooth little polished "worry stones," so a similar idea to yours! What a great, simple answer you've found (and without all those nasty side-effects of narcotics.) Good thinking, and thanks for the idea!

Anonymous said...

I am the one who posted comments above. I just wanted you to know how much this post has meant to me. I have it on my icon on my iPhone. It is like a endorphin prescription for me. I use endorphins for my pain control and if it gets real bad I use tramadol but like you I don't use the strong stuff because of those nasty side effects! I just wanted you to know how important this post was to me.

julia said...

Very sweet of you! Thanks. :-)

Hope your pain management is going well--