What is a Reasonably Intelligent, Squirming, Fidgeting, Wiggly-Butt to Do?

UPDATE: Congratulations to AnnaMarie, whose name was drawn as winner of her choice of a KnittingKorner DVE. AnnaMarie: I’ve emailed you with the details. Thank you (and everyone here) for your comments.

If you have been diagnosed as gluten-intolerant, and if you hope that changing the way you eat will be worth all the fuss and frustration, you’ve come to the right place. I hope this little story will help you keep on keeping on.

On the surface, this is about knitting . . . but it really about how changing foods might spark a change in your behavior.

Project vs. Process: A Love Story

They say there are two types of knitters: Project knitters and process knitters. Most knitters are a little of each, but knitters usually display one trait more than the other.

One is not better than the other. It deals with how you feel about projects and how long they hold your interest.

Project knitters love to get the job done. They like the process of knitting, but they LOVE finishing, gifting, wearing, displaying, posting about it. Completion=gratification.

With process knitters, the thrill lives at the beginning of the project more than the end. Give process knitters anything that allows them to play with a new fiber, technique, or pattern and they’re hyped. Because process=gratification, process knitters can get bored and move onto a second, third . . . hundredth project before they finish anything.

I know process knitters well. Until this year, I was process knitter.

Heck, I was a process everything.

Want proof? I have an unfinished needlepoint sitting in our basement bathroom (yes, the bathroom — don’t ask). I’ve been meaning to move it into safer storage for a while now . . .

It has been sitting there since 1980.

I often wonder why I haven’t moved it.

I want to believe there is a reason for everything, so I have come to the conclusion that perhaps the canvas has a calling. Perhaps it’s been sitting there for over 30 freaking years to remind me of the story of my life.

1. Find project

2. Get excited

3. Start

4. Fall in love

5. Become obsessed

6. Enjoy

7. Get bored

8. Move on

Wow. Looking at this, I just realized that an argument can be made that the same holds true with everything from books to (for others) boyfriends, but that’s for their blog.

Amazingly, since I started eating a gluten-free diet, I’ve changed.

I’m a project knitter now. At age 57, I never thought a dramatic personality change could happen, but it did.

I can’t tell you how many knitting projects I abandoned, B.C. (Before Celiac testing). I lost count.

However, I can tell you exactly how many projects I finished B.C., even though it has been over 40 years since I put my needles down.

I finished two knitting projects. Exactly two.

First, I knit a pair of slippers. I think they were called knit-a-square-then-fold-them-over-and-sew-them-into-slip/and/slide-on-the-linoleum slippers. I made them complete with pom-poms so, when I fell, I could tell which end was up.

Years passed. I started many knitting projects and completed . . . none of them.

Then 1968 hit. It was all about freedom and free-style, so I knit a self-designed, bright red, seed stitch, down-to-past-your-knees-and-way-too-wide-for-anyone boyfriend scarf.

With uneven edges.

It must have been love, because I FINISHED IT!

Well, kind of. The scarf was supposed to have fringe. I never fringed it.

However, seeing as how boyfriend became husband despite scarf, I say it counts.

These two projects were so poorly knit, anyone would want to forget about them. Not I; I cherish the memory. That’s how much knitting meant, and means, to me.

Fast forward to spring 2010. It is now A.D. (After Diagnosis). I have only been knitting for about 4 months. I have finished (or am in the process of finishing) every project I’ve started – ten, count them, TEN projects, as of tonight:

Two doggie coats

A prayer shawl

Two ascots

Two scarves

A sock

Three hats . . .

. . . and more swatches than I ever thought possible. I mention this for those who knit . . . because those who knit know how knitting swatches counts more than anything AND is the last most knitters want to do.

On the needles:

A cardigan – I just started it. I’m almost finished with the back.

That second sock – which I’m really doing! No second sock syndrome, thank goodness. I keep these with me for times when I need something small and easy to grab – waiting for appointments, etc.

A cotton shawl (all garter stitch, so when I talk on the phone I can knit mindlessly).

Almost done:

A felted purse (needs sewing)

I like each project and have little doubt I’ll finish each one. The thought of an unfinished project makes me cringe now. That said, I am sure it is just a matter of time until I land upon a project which I really hate working on. In that case, it may be better to move on.

Life is short. Time will tell.

So what happened? Gluten-free is what happened, and I’m not kidding.

Ask my husband to tell you how long I was able to sit still before going gluten-free. He’ll tell you it wasn’t long—fifteen minutes, maybe, on a good day. As the years passed, I got worse, up until A.D.

More proof?

Okay . . .

Go back to my childhood. Ask any teacher, especially my elementary school teachers, and they’ll put my report cards in front of you—the ones that say I have “potential” if only I could “concentrate, stop talking and SIT STILL.”

Of course, on every report card, it reads as if my behavior was my or my parents’ fault, because in the 50’s and 60’s it was.

Had I been the same child today, I’m sure I would have been put on some sort of medication. This is sad because all I really needed was to start eating the right foods.

My point: If you are a reasonably intelligent squirming, fidgeting, wiggly-butt who’s recently been diagnosed as being gluten-intolerant . . . hang in there! If you’re like many of us, living inside you is the real you—the one who’s been waiting to be born, regardless of your age.

I must add: When it comes to sticking to a knitting project, learning from the worldwide, lovable knitting community helps, as does learning from local yarn shops and using Nenah Galati’s knitting DVDs.

I’ve learned that books and patterns alone don’t do it for me, at least not yet. I learn best if my instructions are visual, tactile, and auditory, and if it is all three at the same time, so much the better.

Having a kind and caring person demonstrate things as I knit helps so much. Perhaps that’s why so many old-school learners—those who learned from an experienced friend or relative—stuck with it and learned best.

In conclusion: These days, as much as I love starting something new, the idea of finishing a project is what excites me the most. For me, the feeling of knowing I can do it is gratifying beyond belief.

Few things beat sitting still and staying there, right beside my knitting, as though it were a best friend.

Because it is.


Copyright 2010, Lee Bernstein. All rights reserved.

Contest: Chose any or all of the following questions and answer them in the comment section, below.

On October 9, a random winner will be chosen to receive one of Nenah Galati’s How-To Knit / Crochet DVDs. If you’re the winner, you’ll pick which DVD you’d like.

UPDATE: Congratulations to AnnaMarie, whose name was drawn as winner of her choice of a Nenah Galati Knitting Korner DVD. AnnaMarie: I’ve emailed you with the details. Thank you (and everyone here) for your comments!

Everyone else, even though the contest deadline has passed, we’d still love to hear from you. Please keep posting!


Are you a project knitter or a pattern knitter, and how do you know?

Has eating a gluten-free diet changed the way you manage projects? What difference have you noticed?

What method of learning works best for you?

Good luck!

Some fun links . . .

Join the Ravelry Knitting is Gluten Free Forum here: http://www.ravelry.com/groups/knitting-is-gluten-free.com

If you would like email notification when a new blog post appears, please email your request to knittingisglutenfree@yahoo.com

Copyright 2010, Lee Bernstein – All Rights Reserved

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18 Responses to What is a Reasonably Intelligent, Squirming, Fidgeting, Wiggly-Butt to Do?

  1. Loved this post. thank you so much for sharing it.

    Live Laugh and Enjoy!

  2. Amy says:

    This is a great post…great when we get illuminated to ourselves.

    I learn best by taking time to look up techniques on-line and then watch a video. I have such a hard time just reading knitting/crochet directions and then following them.

  3. Connie says:

    I learn best when I can watch something done and then do it myself. I guess that would make me a visual learner. Thanks for the chance to win!

  4. Knittingdancer says:

    I am a project knitter. I usually have at least 2 projects on the needles, one for knitting in a group and one that I have to concentrate on at home. Right now I have a baby blanket 80% finished (garter stitch), an 12″ afghan square for a charity group has a pumpkin on it (home project) started last night, and 3rd I have an afghan by my bed to knit on when I can’t sleep about 20% finished.
    I learn more by watching video on youtube or knittinghelp.com.

  5. AnnaMarie says:

    I’m more of a process knitter. I do finish things but it’s not unusual for me to rip it out multiple times until it’s *right*.

    I have/had ADD but as of this past spring, about 5 months into a GF life it appears to be fading. I can focus better and it’s much easier stay on track through various projects.

    • AnnaMarie:

      As you’ll see in an email sent to you earlier, you were chosen as the winner of the Knitting Korner DVD. Congratulations! I’ve emailed with you with the information and how to contact me to claim your prize. Thank you (and everyone here) for your comments!


  6. Verna Brightwell says:

    I love your blog. I recognize so much of myself in what you’ve written. Thanks for inviting me in. (((HUGS)))Verna

    • Verna Brightwell says:

      Sorry I forgot to answer your questions: I am a 63 yr old Project knitter… I love the process of beginning & get excited every time. Finishing is another matter. Once I frogged a whole shawl on the next to last line because I decided I didn’t like it. However I am a pattern collector. I’d have to live 3 lifetimes to make everything I want to try.
      I’ve just recently gone gluten-free. About 10 yrs ago I was mostly gluten-free for about 5 yrs. I was eating Ezekiel bread & didn’t know any better since I was only trying to be wheat free. Hopefully I’ll get better as I go along.
      I taught myself to knit & crochet when I was in the 9th grade from books. I really prefer to watch someone else but don’t live in an area that makes that possible. U-tube has become my best knitting friend. I have one knitting DVD for looming socks & hope to win one to aid my knitting progress.

  7. Verna Brightwell says:

    Duh, if you can’t tell, I’m still having gluten issues. I meant I’m a process knitter. You really need a way to edit comments for scatterbrains like me. (((HUGS)))Verna

  8. Tory Boucher says:

    My three daughters and I are all living GF per doctors orders. My youngest has been the most changed. She went from speaking a few understandable words and a lot of gibberish to a full vocabulary. Her whole personality shifted too. She was no longer the extremely fussy girl that cried most of the day, or the super shy introvert. No she bubbles with personality, and laughs and play most of the day. I also feel a change too. I have tons of energy, and feel smart again. I have decided that I needed more creativeness in my life as well.
    Here’s to awakenings, a good life, creative spirits, and gluten-free cake,
    Tory Boucher

  9. Ivan says:

    ЎGracias! Ahora me irй en este blog cada dнa!


  10. Flamingo2 says:

    I learn knitting best by doing: I look at the picture, try to make my needles and yarn look like theirs, and usually succeed. However, I had to watch the Kitchener stitch online video: the pictures were just not adequate.

  11. Orchid says:

    I learn by watching. I taught myself knit. I tried to teach myself with books but found that I learned better watching. I could pause, rewind, replay. DVDs and You Tube have been a great way for me to learn new techniques.

  12. Pingback: Is There a Cure for Autoimmune Disease? | KNITTING IS GLUTEN FREE

  13. Jenn Embry says:

    What a great post! I also read about you putting your knitting needles down. Are you sure we’re not twins??? I lost 80 lbs after my youngest daughter was born and kept it off for a couple of years until undiagnosed health issues caused me to put it back on and then some. But I too have had a love affair with food my entire life.

    I’m a project knitter. I get excited about buying yarn and all of the luscious fibers there are to work with and have grandiose plans…..but I only work on one project at a time (2 max…one knit, one crochet) and I finish that before going onto the next one. I got all excited this week because I finally finished a project for ME that isn’t being given away. Yay me!!!

  14. abnehmpillen says:

    Ernest Hemingway~ Theres nothing noble in being superior to your fellow men. True nobility is being superior to your former self.

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