Knit to calm nerves
Dr. Jackson learned to knit in 2009, after President Barack Obama nominated her to become a member of the US Sentencing Commission, the judicial agency that develops federal sentencing policy. President Biden selected Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson to replace retiring Justice Stephen Breyer on the U.S. Supreme Court. The confirmation hearings took place in March 2022, and she was confirmed in April.
The nomination and confirmation process were “nerve-racking”, she explained during her 2017 lecture. “I actually taught myself to knit as a way to channel my nervous energy during that time,” said Brown, who added that she was “unusually jumpy and started so many scarves that I could have outfitted a small army”.
Her learning story parallels mine, but the outcome was different. Her mother was an expert crocheter, mine a knitter and sewer, but unlike my childhood experience, hers didn’t pan out so well. As time passed, she was yearning for something to enable her to express her creative side. Dr. Jackson bought a book on crochet and taught herself the stitches, crocheting hats and scarves. When preparing for her confirmation hearings she learned to knit. About knitting, she said “I needed something to keep my mind off of the stress,” before adding, “So, I have a basement full of yarn.”
Former First Lady Michelle Obama revealed that she picked up knitting while in quarantine, and now, she has taken her hobby to a new level: making clothes for her family. "I made halter tops for Malia and Sasha," the former first lady told Gayle King on CBS This Morning. "Which they love," she added. "I like creating something out of nothing," Obama said about her new activity. "And it's not old-lady," she insisted to Gayle. First Lady Michelle Obama said, “Knitting is a forever proposition. You don’t master knitting, because once you make a scarf, there’s the blanket. And once you do the blanket, you’ve got to do the hat, the socks.”
Life Lesson: Dr. Jackson gave her daughters sage advice but I will add this for care partners and crafters, be on the lookout for mentors but give yourself patience as you learn new skills. “To lose patience is to lose the battle.” —Mahatma Gandhi