My husband will have major neck surgery tomorrow, so I will be spending the day in the surgery waiting area. This is our third trip to the hospital for this problem in 18 months. I don't think I can over-emphasize how grateful I am that yarn is such a portable craft. I will go nuts with stressed-out waiting if I can't keep my hands occupied.
I plan to bring one spinning project and two knitting projects with me, so that I have a variety of choices depending on how much I need to distract myself. It's funny how a little bit of planning like this gives me a sense of control over the day, which is calming, even though I understand intellectually that I have no control whatsoever over the procedure or how the day will unfold. My job is to wait and not be a basket case. Yarn will help me achieve this result.
If I need to be totally zen, I'll work on the spinning. I have a project started using my smallest spindle and about 1.5 ounces of BFL-silk blend fiber. I'm spinning it very thin with the idea of getting as much laceweight yardage from it as possible. This kind of spinning is very simple and rhythmic for me. My hands know what to do and I don't have to think about it, but just let myself slip into the flow of the spinning action:
If I need to more actively focus my brain, I'll work on a pair of socks that have been lingering on the needles for months. (I've started to refer to them as The Socks That Will Never Die.) I'm at the point of grafting the first toe closed, then casting on for the second sock:
And if I need to relax with easy knitting that will give me the satisfaction of growing in length quickly, I'll cast on a baby blanket project for a friend who is due in a few weeks. (Yeah, I should probably get working on this project soon...) They chose to be surprised about the gender of the baby, so I'm going with tried-and-true yellows in worsted weight cotton for a gender-neutral blanket:
Normally, I am very friendly when I spin or knit in public. These kind of activities seem to always attract a bit of attention, especially from children, and usually I welcome the chance to talk about the craft and will give a little demonstration if a person is really interested.
But in a surgical waiting area, I completely submerge into the introverted side of my personality and have no interest in talking with other people. I just want to spin or knit or read and be left alone until a nurse or doctor can give me updates on my husband. I've found the best repellant against others approaching me is to wear headphones and to avoid eye contact. I don't even need to actually be listening to music - just wearing the headphones is enough to avoid conversations.
So now my own version of surgical preparation is complete and I am armed with fiber to deal with the stress of tomorrow. I have no idea how non-fiber people cope.