The 12th Invest in ME Research Conference June, 2017, Part 2
MEMum presents the second article in a series of three about the recent 12th Invest In ME International Conference (IIMEC12) in London.
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taking a cue from "Selfish Knitters" on Ravelry

Discussion in 'Lifestyle Management' started by WoolPippi, Nov 27, 2015.

  1. WoolPippi

    WoolPippi Senior Member

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    I belong to a group on Ravelry.com (database of knitting patterns and lots of forums)
    It's called "Selfish Knitters and Crocheters" but only because we knit what we want, when we want and for whom we want.

    You wouldn't believe the amount of people who think they can ask for a handcrafted item just because you have the skills! Mostly they're after a freebie and don't realize knitting takes hours and hours and hours and hours.
    If we say "no, I won't knit for you" we're often called selfish. But we really aren't.

    In the group we're encouraging each other that "no" is indeed a polite and complete answer to a request. No justifications are needed.
    We give each other examples of how to deal with the guilt and the urge to please people.
    We laugh at ridiculous requests some knitters get.

    The vibe of group has helped me with ME/CFS matters. Whenever a request is made upon me I check:
    - do I want to do this? Really want? Would I have enjoyed doing this if the request was not made?
    - will the person appreciate my effort? Know how much it will cost me?
    - would this person do a similar thing for me if the situation was reverse?

    I've now been called selfish in my family because I don't attend birthdays or send cards. Because I insist on emailing people instead of calling them on the phone. You know, all the things that make life more bearable for an ill person.
    It's ok. I'm doing better for it healthwise.

    I now have the freedom to enjoy my time on the sofa and actually knit, instead of fretting over guilt or being too exhausted from whatever I felt I had to do instead of what I wanted to do.
    I've also stopped explaining the hows and the why's. If they don't know by now, they never are going to hear me.

    Be "selfish", dear PRers!
     
  2. Effi

    Effi Senior Member

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    @WoolPippi I like the link you're making between knitting and me/cfs. It had never occurred to me before but it actually makes a lot of sense! :)
     
  3. belize44

    belize44 Senior Member

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    I don't knit, but I certainly can relate to how much time and effort goes into it! Over fifteen years ago, a good friend's mother knitted me a beautiful afghan as a Christmas present. I was amazed and touched at this gift, because I knew it must have taken a long time to do. It meant more to me than gift certificates, expensive presents from high end stores, or anything else I can think of. This woman recently passed away, and her gift, which I still have, means even more to me.

    This is why I agree with the OP so much, because the time and work that goes into knitting beautiful things should be respected. And, I love the comparison to our illness because it also rings so true!
     
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  4. whodathunkit

    whodathunkit Senior Member

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    In my 20's I taught myself how to crochet after I quit a crap job to look after my newly invalid (massive stroke) Grandmother. I had a lot of sitting time to fill. It was A LOT of work. I completed a hat, scarf, and two doilies (crazy hard) before life got going again and I had to stop crocheting. Aside from the time-consuming nature of it, I also found that it gave me a lot of neck and shoulder tension. Although I've heard from the veterans that that goes away with time. Is this true, @WoolPippi?

    Even before I taught myself I wouldn't have had the chutzpah to ask for a freebie, though. Jeez. I can't imagine asking someone for free stuff like that.

    Guess I shouldn't be surprised, though. I used to be a massage therapist. People who wouldn't dream of asking an acquaintance for something tangible like a free scarf think absolutely nothing of asking someone they barely know who has massage skills "Would you mind working on my shoulders for a quick couple of minutes? They're REALLY REALLY REALLY tense." Further,they do it any old time: parties, during the massage person's break at work, impromptu neighborhood coffee klatches, etc. Basically whenever, wherever. :rolleyes: :meh: And it's worse with good friends and family. These days I let my old family members slide, but politely but firmly decline the "massage invitations" of family my age or younger, unless I have the energy or am in the mood. Categorically decline the invitations of bare acquaintances, no matter what the age.

    Nice tie in with ME/CFS. Anyone who hasn't mastered the art of guilt-free declining (of anything, but particularly energy-draining activities) probably should start working on it. It's very liberating once you master it.
     
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  5. ahmo

    ahmo Senior Member

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    Before ME, I had low back flares, and before that adult-onset asthma. I repeatedly crashed when trying to meet other people's needs/expectations. Selfishness can be life-saving. :balloons:
     
  6. WoolPippi

    WoolPippi Senior Member

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    not in my experience.
    I had to learn a different posture and more relaxed attitude towards knitting before it went away.
    I still cannot crochet without it flaring up which is a pity because crochet is great.
     
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  7. Effi

    Effi Senior Member

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    that's funny: I'm the other way round :) (I crochet lying down + extra neck support. How do you knit?)
     
    Last edited: Nov 28, 2015
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  8. IreneF

    IreneF Senior Member

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    I learned how to knit about ten years ago, but had to give it up when my RSI returned. My hand are better now, maybe I'll try it again.

    BTW, I'm a sock whore.
     
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  9. SOC

    SOC

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    Now that I live alone, I'm finding how much easier it is to construct what feels like a somewhat normal life, as long as I don't have to deal with other people's needs and expectations. When my daughter and son-in-law come to visit I realize how limited I actually am and how little things affect how well I function overall, even though since my daughter also has ME they are very considerate and understanding. It's just that when I don't have to think about other people, I can adjust my daily routines to best suit my capabilities.

    Almost no one, including PWME ourselves, realize how much it impacts our health to work around other people's needs. IMO, we are very very fragile people. It's a miracle we function at all. I think it's admirable that most of us manage as much as we do given the consequences we suffer. Saying no, or asking for alterations to other people's expections should be considered a basic survival skill for PWME. But it's not. :(
     
  10. Kina

    Kina

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    I love knitting -- so relaxing.

    The last person who asked me to knit a sweater for them paid me $200 dollars for my time. l have no shame.
     
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  11. SickOfSickness

    SickOfSickness Senior Member

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    Yes, exactly! :thumbsup: :thumbsup: :thumbsup: It's so hard for me being in a relationship or dating, even when they compromise and put up with my irregular and late sleeping, etc. (But if I'm single, it sucks, because I need help from strangers :( since I don't have willing, nearby friends.)

    Also the rest of your post is so true. :thumbsup:
     
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  12. Little Bluestem

    Little Bluestem All Good Things Must Come to an End

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    I know someone who started a complex crochet and embroidery project thinking it would be a gift. When she realized how much time it was going to take, she decided to keep it for herself.
     
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  13. WoolPippi

    WoolPippi Senior Member

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    also lying down, with neck support :)
    Or with my head flat and my eyes closed, just letting my fingers find their way through stockinette

    for reducing tension in my shoulders I had to change to bigger needles and bigger yarn. No more fiddly stuff for me, no colour work, no socks. Also no more trying to get it perfect. I had to change my mental attitude most of all.
    (and somehow Brioche stitch works really well for relaxing my shoulders.)

    I keep a knitting blog over here, if anyone is interested. It has some dyeing and spinning too.
     
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  14. whodathunkit

    whodathunkit Senior Member

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    Hmmm. This never occurred to me. Maybe I should try this. Do you and @WoolPippi find that changing your "line of sight" orientation to your project (by lying down v. sitting up straight) impacts anything in your process?
     
  15. whodathunkit

    whodathunkit Senior Member

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    Nor should you. I hope you made 'em pay for the yarn, too. ;)
     
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  16. Effi

    Effi Senior Member

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    I prop up my head with some pillows (+ special neck pillow when I need extra support) so my elbows rest on the couch. This way my project is right in front of my eyes, so I think it's a similar 'line of sight' as if I'd be sitting up straight...
     
  17. Kina

    Kina

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    Of course I did.
     
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  18. whodathunkit

    whodathunkit Senior Member

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    So here's an interesting knitting story. Looks kind of energy-intensive, but it's a great idea. :)
     
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  19. Little Bluestem

    Little Bluestem All Good Things Must Come to an End

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    That would take one HUGE spool of wool!
     

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