With the new year came a renewed energy to dig into all my knitting projects and get them wrapped up. It’s funny that when I first started knitting years ago, I insisted that I would always be one of those knitters who only had one project going at a time. Start one project, finish it, begin the next project. Sounds reasonable, right? I knew many knitters who had lots of knitting projects going on at one time and that sounded really stressful to me. Fast forward and now I’m looking at a basket full of all my different knitting projects!
How does that happen really? The transition happens slowly. You’ll be in the car and get stuck in a pattern (with no knitting book or YouTube handy to help you) and decide to cast on your next project so you can keep on knitting. You suddenly realize a birthday is coming and decide to knit a quick gift and set aside your other project in the meantime. When the gift is finished, you realize there’s another project you want to do before you go back to your previous one. And on and on. Before you know it, you’ve got a whole basket of projects and whenever you have a knitting moment you can have your pick of something easy that takes no concentration, or something that requires a bit of quiet time to focus on and work through. I’ve actually come to like it this way.
I have a sweater that I’m in no hurry to finish and I can slowly work on it whenever I’m between projects. Jeff and I don’t always go to town at the same time, so whenever we are and he is driving, that is precious knitting time for me. If I get stuck in a project, I don’t want to sit with idle hands when I could be knitting something, so having those easy projects at the ready is a must. I know you knitters understand! On a somewhat related note, the below paragraph is copied and pasted from a post I wrote back in 2014:
“My mom jokingly (and lovingly) refers to me as “the crazy knitting lady” sometimes. It all started when she called me from the airport one day. (Have I written about this before? Forgive me if I have.) She had been waiting for her flight to board and saw this woman sitting and knitting. Usual enough. Then the woman got up, walked over to the station to ask a question to one of the flight attendants, and all the while was knitting without missing a beat. While she walked, while she talked. For some reason my mom thought it was really funny and said something along the lines of “she didn’t even stop knitting when she got up.” Then I informed my mom that in the “knitting world” that behavior was totally and completely normal. After that, it became a joke. When I brought my knitting along when we went out to eat and knitted while we waited for our food, my mom would joke that the “crazy knitting lady” was at it again. I felt proud of my new nickname. Because in spare moments where I would otherwise be sitting idle, my hands were busy making something. Pretty cool. I didn’t quite feel that I had fully earned that title yet, though. Frantically trying to finish the vest this past weekend made me feel like I was beginning to. …A little bit closer to feel worthy of that title.”
Since I wrote that, my love for knitting has only grown. It’s become such an important part of my life that I can’t imagine my life without it anymore. It soothes me, centers me, relaxes me, grounds me, and makes me really happy when I can make things for people with the love of my hands to keep them warm and cozy. I didn’t intend to come here today and write an ode to knitting, so I got a bit off topic.
Where was I? Oh yeah, finishing projects. I finally blocked that vest for Bracken. I didn’t knit his birthday sweater, deciding a vest would be better. I didn’t finish it in time for his birthday or for Christmas. I ended up knitting the back panel of the vest three times. The first time I decided to change the size. The second time it looked like I had more yellow yarn than I thought, so I re-knit the back in yellow. Now I’ve run out of yellow yarn (they were the only skeins like it) and I still need to knit the collar and part around the arms. Originally, I was going to knit the back in brown and the front in yellow, so I would have enough yellow to do the finishing. I almost re-knit the back panel a fourth time and then I stopped myself. It’s yellow, it’s staying yellow! Hopefully the collar and sleeve portion will look great in brown (like I did it intentionally), but if not, oh well. The project has a life of it’s own and I’m going with it.
I washed a load of woolens on a sunny day recently (so there was some light coming in the windows for picture taking), when I was blocking Bracken’s vest. (Still loving my drying rack! Oh, and that gate in the background outside? A little yard for the bunnies.) My favorite wool wash is Eucalan and I’ve settled on the eucalyptus scent (wasn’t a fan of their lavender.) When I first started knitting, I never blocked anything. I didn’t understand why it was important and deemed it an unnecessary step at the end. I was too excited when I finished something that I didn’t want to wait to do a thing like blocking. But I’ve also started to come around with that as well. Even though I knit my vest pieces the same size, they didn’t match up, so I realized blocking would be essential for that project. Now I like blocking my projects, go figure.
It might have something to do with the fact that I got myself blocking mats for Christmas and pins. (I got the pins from my favorite yarn shop, Stash. You can get them online here. I don’t see the blocking mats I ordered on Amazon to link to.) Before I used a towel for blocking and I have friends who think the blocking mats are totally unnecessary, but I have found them to be so handy! I’m hooked. In fact, I’m in love with them. Sometimes the water would soak through my towel to the surface underneath and pinning into a towel didn’t work that great, I just used my hands to shape it how I wanted it and then left my project to dry without pins. Everything dries faster on the blocking mats and the water doesn’t soak through to the surface underneath, but the best part is being able to use the pins in the blocking mat to shape your project. I wish I would have just gone for it and gotten the blocking mats and pins sooner because they are definitely worth the investment for me. Basically, I would recommend them!
And speaking of Stash, I loved their reminder of the importance to create every single day. It was the exact message I’ve been feeling myself lately. After the holiday season that was such a busy whirlwind for us, I felt exhausted. There were a few days that I felt a bit flat and uninspired. My intuition said loudly “Draw!” So I dropped my other tasks for a little while and did just that. It felt so good to draw again! Drawing used to be one of my favorite things to do and one of the best ways for me to relax, but I put it on the back burner thinking that someday in the future when I had more “free time” I’d make time for it again.
I realized that this year, in order to feel energetic and vibrant and happy, it would be more important than ever to nurture my creative self. Creativity is essential. We all need that creative time to feel more fully ourselves. Oftentimes I’ve not allowed myself to have my creative time until all my work was done. (But it’s never done.) I would let myself have a little knitting time at the end of the day, but that was about it. While it is important to get our work done each day, it’s also important to allow ourselves the time to be creative because it gives us the energy to meet the tasks of the day. In fact, I’m certain that I am much more productive when I’ve had creative time! So, let’s make our creative time a priority this year, shall we?
…Joining Ginny’s YarnAlong, even if a bit rambling today.