Hi there, everybody! I’m Lauren, the busy stitcher behind A Bee In The Bonnet, and I’m here with a confession: I’m not a full-time maker. I’m actually a lawyer. I knit during the in-between times, and knitting has become an important part of my law practice.
I learned to knit during my first year of law school. It was the fall of 2007, and I was 3,000 miles away from home, beginning to feel the cold of my first real winter setting in, and developing a real terror of my fast-approaching final exams. I needed something to help me cope with the stress. Thankfully, my classmate Cara stepped in. We met up one evening in a little shop and, over a shared pot of tea, she taught me the basics - casting on, the knit stitch, casting off. It was all I needed. I learned new stitches and techniques from the internet and books, joined Ravelry, prowled all the local yarn shops, and stitched up a storm all through law school, the bar exam, and on into practice.
I’ve been practicing law for nearly eight years now, and knitting provides an important counterbalance. My work days mostly consist of reading, writing, reading, having meetings, reading, and reading some more. It’s interesting and challenging work, but it often uses only part of my brain and some days, I don’t have any clear product to show for my work. Knitting exercises the creative parts of my brain and results in a physical object that shows the work I put in.
People often ask how I find time for knitting. The truth is, I squeeze it in wherever I can. I keep spare balls of yarn under my desk and a project in my purse at all times (except for when I go to court - they won’t let me take my needles into the courthouse, and I can’t blame them for that one). I knit during conference calls because it helps me stay focused and prevents any urge to get distracted with my phone. I even knit during some of my meetings, though I always make sure to observe the room first and never do it during meetings with clients.
In the last year, I’ve started making a concerted effort to teach other lawyers how to knit. Lawyers are notorious for having high rates of stress, mental health challenges, and substance abuse struggles. Knitting can’t cure these problems, and it probably shouldn’t be the only tool in somebody’s self-care toolkit, but it can be part of a routine that helps maintain wellness. Knitting has been linked to reduced depression and is sometimes used in connection with treatment programs for PTSD and substance abuse. I meet once a month with fellow lawyers and other professionals to have a knit night where we can stitch, give each other support, and build friendships.
Knitting has been an important source of friendship, creativity, and pride over the last decade. I’m passionate about sharing its benefits with others and helping them take advantage of everything knitting has to offer them, too.