Knitting Is the New Xanax

The doors are still open, the pilots are taking their place, and passengers are eye-rolling their way down the too-skinny aisle to squeeze into their non-reclining nest for the next six hours.

We’re about to launch this tin can across the country at 600 MPH, weaving around thousands of other concurrent flights, guided by over-caffeinated staff in flight control.

Yet, even in my middle seat, I sigh briefly with a calm only achieved through years of distraction through yarn.

I have controlled my air travel neuroses through the power of meditative knitting.

It’s true. Business travel – from the NYC-to-DC-to-Boston great equalizer known as the Delta Shuttle to longer “Hail Mary” trips across the Atlantic – never became routine for me. In fact, each trip instilled more anxiety than the last.

Mantras of “it’s just a pocket of air . . . it’s just a pocket of air” or “air travel is safer than driving” couldn’t loosen my grip over the arm rest. Rapt attention to the latest issue of SkyMall (a ceramic face you nail into a tree – how whimsical!) was no remedy for the pounding in my chest.

What calmed me most was very simple: click together a set of needles with thread, forming chains of knits and pearls, all the way to the West Coast.

Is is the repetitive nature of knitting? Is it simply giving my fidgety idle hands something to do? Perhaps it’s the analog nature of the hobby, wherein FAA rules need not apply.

(Note: I do find it interesting that passengers need not stow away the stabby, metal weapons at their fingertips, but forgetting to put a digital device in airplane mode could get you booted off the plane.)

Regardless, knitting is my savior during air travel.

I’m not even a good knitter – you can judge my handiwork for yourself below. And yes, the photo on the right is proof that I insisted on vacuuming up a ball of yarn rather than bending to picking it up.

knitting relaxation

I feel so much at peace with counting the stitches and rows in my head, softening my eyes, deepening my breath, becoming present in the work, rather than focused on the controlled chaos that surrounds.

I wonder if I’m the only one who only gets crafty during flights?


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