At the XML conferences I attended that Lauren Wood organized, there were walls of XML cross-stitching and knitting. I wondered about that until I was sitting here for the first time in a while doing some XML data design work for a new project.
Developing XML data systems is like knitting and stitching: it is only tedious if done for hire. When done for a topic that one has a passion for innately, it becomes a relaxed passion.
I'm not an expert, but I suspect that this relaxed passion is one reason that many knit and stitch to relax and others can relax when they do data design work on documents with content they love. It is satisfying to work with the threads one loves for passionate content.
The real-time memory that captures this for me is Lynne Price at SGML standards meetings knitting her dogs' hair. That was an ultimate expression of making structure from the threads of the universe productively and passionately.