I Blame It On My Ancestors!

There are people who can kick back and just relax, there are people who are such workaholics that they can’t relax for even one minute, and then there are people like me. I can relax…no problem…but I have to be doing something WHILE I relax. I blame it on my ancestors. I have German, Swiss, and Dutch ancestors. There isn’t a “siesta” taker in the bunch. None of them, to my knowledge, exhibited that delightfully languid quality found amongst people in the more Mediterranean climes. I am descended from people who scrub their front steps by hand every day, for Pete’s sake. Is it any wonder that I have inherited this trait?

My maternal Grandmother used to say “Idle hands are the devil’s workshop.” She didn’t want to give him an inch of her territory and was always doing something whether it was baking rolls for half of the neighborhood, knitting sweaters for servicemen during the wars, or mending clothes. My dad was a factory worker. When he wasn’t on the assembly line, he was writing me letters. From the time I left for college until the day he died, he wrote me a letter a day. He also helped out folks from church who were too frail or sick to mow their grass or fix things around their house and he never took a penny for his labor. I didn’t even know about all the things he did for people until his funeral when, one by one, people stood up and told about all he had done for them. My mom taught for 35 years and once you were her student, you were her student for life. She retained a keen interest in her “kids” and delighted whenever one of them would show up on our doorstep with their own kids in tow to check in with their beloved teacher. Mom was an overachiever and she always had some project going on. Usually it would get more elaborate as time went on, Mom would get more stressed, and soon we would all be drawn into this project, whether we wanted to participate or not.

When I was in the Army and stationed in Germany, I remember visiting with my boyfriend one evening at his apartment. I was talking with him, watching TV and knitting. His landlord stopped in and took one look at me and said, “Now THIS one you should marry. She’s a good German girl. She works with her hands while she sits.”

I’ve never stopped working with my hands while I sit. I am always doing something…usually knitting or crocheting. So I thought I’d show you what my “Command Central” looks like where I eke out my relaxation hours in the evenings.

I have one-third of a sofa and my third happens to be a recliner, as well. The middle section of the sofa has a back that folds down to make a table area and that is where I have several essential items for my knitting. You’ll notice a tall, black object near the corner. That’s my Ott light so that I can see my stitches. I have a box of Kleenex for obvious reasons but also to use to wipe my fingers after eating my nightly Dove mini-bar of ice cream. Can’t get ice cream on my yarn. There is a red row counter and also a green row counter…each one showing different stopping points depending on which project I’m working on. I have a blue pull-out measuring tape so I can keep tabs on my progress. There is a coaster for my glass, some odd little balls of yarn, some note pads underneath some crocheted crosses. I write down notes to myself that I want to remember when I next pick up my work. The crosses are waiting for me to weave in the yarn ends. Underneath the table is my black knitting case that holds other knitting tools like stitch markers, needle sizers, stitch holders, scissors, yarn needles, crochet hooks, etc. On my seat is an old quilt since it is pretty cool in our basement and I like to throw it over my legs when I’m downstairs knitting. The notebook holds whatever patterns I’m currently working on. The green thing hanging over the arm is a shawl that I’m working on. Beside the sofa is a bag that holds the yarn for the shawl, several other patterns, and whatever else I want to stash to get out of my way. Under the green table next to the bag are several other knitting bags filled with projects in various stages of completion.

And that’s my “Command Central” where I do some of my most rewarding work AND relaxing under the benevolent influence of my ancestors.


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