Mark Twain

"Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do ...
Explore. Dream. Discover." Mark Twain

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Knitting Life

I am truly blessed to have a rich crafting life with friends and family who share similar interests.

Knitting started for me back in 1997 - before the current knitting craze took root in our society and the out shoots of spinning and weaving pulled me into their influence.  Almost 18 years ago - amazing.
My first sweater - that is large enough to fit two people.  Lesson learned about the value of  gauge swatch.
But this sweater will always be mine.  Comfortable, warm and will fit over absolutely anything
I have.  AND it is my first sweater, so it holds a special place in my heart.
Same pattern that I made for mom.
It fit mom perfectly.
I still have this sweater. It will always
be with me and it will be worn by me.  

I learned to knit as a reaction to a stress filled management job of 7 years.  Those years were filled with long days and long long weeks.  It got so crazy that it would take me 3 work days to prepare for vacation, and 3 vacations days to unwind from work.    Oh, most of that crazed life style was my own doing.  But you know it is bad when you are living and breathing a job - no hobbies, no reading for fun, friends and family time shrinking, lists upon lists of things to remember and do - all job related.

So it probably is no surprise that in 1997 it all came to a screeching halt.  I quit that job without having another job in place.  Oh, I was professional about it ... giving them four months notice, but I had an end date ... a light at the end of the tunnel ... and I was making my escape.  Thankfully I had a husband who understood.

And then I found knitting.

Actually I asked my husband about maybe taking a 7 week "learn to knit" class at my local yarn store and it was a pricey class.  He agreed with the statement, "Why not.  It is cheaper than therapy."  Hmm ... guess he saw that I was reaching critical mass in that job too.

A special picture of mom, my sister and I (L to R.).
And my sweater is the Central Park Hoodie - a
fun sweater to knit and wear.
And a knitter was born.  Knitting filled a need that nothing else could do.  It occupied my hands and mind in a meditative way - my soul needed that.  It had a beginning, middle and end - my type A personality needed that.  And it was a creative activity that produced with a beautiful item - well, maybe not beautiful the first year when my skill level was that of "rookie."  But from then on many lovely projects have emerged.

The start of my current shawl project with beads on the ends.
Knitting not only healed all the broken parts of me in those early years, but it sustained me during some of the hardest years of my life taking care of my mom.  I made several beautiful things for her during her time with me and she was buried in a shawl I made for her during the last year of her life.  It gives me comfort to know she is wrapped in something right now I made for her.

A cable and lace poncho I knitted for my daughter.
It was an great design starting at the bottom of the
poncho and decreasing your way up to the neck.
And now knitting is still giving.  This year I find myself at loose ends. Mom is gone.  My husband is becoming more or more disabled.  That "caregiver mantel" I so carefully set aside at my mom grave site is slowly and persistently finding it place back on my shoulders once again.  Knitting fills a void and allows some escape.  Nothing else is capable of keeping the edges of my life all glued together in a sane way like knitting - not even blogging.

Rigid Heddle Loom - a cozy kind of activity.
I enjoy the process and will do this again and again.
Just not right now - the knitting needles call.
I have been pulled into related crafts.  I can crochet, I do weave on occasion, and spinning fiber tugs at my desires now and then.   I love my looms, my spinning wheel and my spindles, but they will never replace my knitting needles.  Knitting is the activity my hands reach for when I need constancy, escape and peace.


A lace and bead shawl I made for my daughter that almost killed me with frustration.
I swore more during this project than any other in 17 years.
And I pledged I would never do anything life this again.

But the end result turned out beautiful I think.
And I decided in an absolute instant ...
I think I could knit something like this again.

Just like childbirth!!
Knitting can hurt like the devil and you swear "never again"
and then you forget and are just so pleased with the
object completed and you think ...
oh that wasn't so bad.
I think I could do this again!
Ha!


The knitting life for me!


21 comments:

  1. You have a wonderful talent and it is cheaper than therapy, for sure. Those shawls are especially beautiful even if the pale blue one caused a few swear words.

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    1. Not sure about the talent comment but I can follow directions really well. Thanks you.

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  2. You have completed some amazing projects, especially your daughter's shawl. I always tell Hubby that knitting is a cheap hobby. I get through a lot of yarn, but I usually look for bargains and other hobbies are a lot dearer.

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    1. Knitting has not been a cheap hobby for me because I can buy yarn faster than I can knit. Haha.

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  3. All you knit is beautiful and you are one of the most talented knitters I know. : )
    What a lovely photo of the three of you. You can certainly see the family resemblance.
    I still miss the Tuesday knitting group!!

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  4. Wonderful that you continue to knit! You should be very proud of your accomplishments. And yes, any hand work is therapy and gets one through....
    Have a great weekend!

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    1. I tried to pick up knitting in the 70s but I decided it was too difficult. It never took. Glad it finally worked for me.

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  5. I am wondering if you would know someone to give private lessons for weaving. I purchased a rigid heddle loom last year and have not used it yet. I need someone to show me how to set it up, how much and what kinds of yarn to use, and how to read the patterns. I do machine embroidery and thought weaving would be a fun and easy activity to do in between thread changes.

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    1. Gosh ... sorry. I don't know anyone who could give private lessons, but if you check with the places that sell yarn, they may be able to make recommendations.

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  7. Well said! Knitting is ALL that!

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  8. Your projects are beautiful and I am so glad that you have something to help you through life's rocky roads. For me, my release is cooking, so I understand how doing something you love soothes the soul.

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    1. My sister has always love cooking ... especially the chopping function. I can see how that would help! :-)

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  9. That part about therapy justifies every new skein of yarn in my stash! Your husband is fortunate to have you to care for him, and I'm glad the knitting is there for you. I hope you'll post some of your new projects on Ravelry.

    Chris

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    1. Oh Chris, I love Ravelry as a resource/reference but I can never get around to posting stuff on that site. And now I am about 4 years behind ... and a type A personality like me wouldn't be happy just posting a few things! I did try to get all my yarn stash listed on that site but I have missed a lot of the recent purchases. I might be able to get that up dated but the completed projects is pretty much a lost cause.

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    2. Ha. I can totally relate to that. I'm behind too, and I feel the need to do it in chronological order, which I haven't, so I've lost control, which really bothers me. Guess I'd better catch up before it's too late. But here's the thing: I found your blog one day when I was looking for a sweater to make and found one of yours, which I liked, and then I thought, "She looks like a nice person, too", so I went to your page and found your blog! I haven't made the sweater yet, but it's still in my favorites.

      Chris

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  10. Such beautiful pieces you have knit . . . what a talent.
    And I can relate to your finding the "best therapy" for yourself and the joy of returning to it again and again. Not sure what "my therapy" is . . . although I know when I am in the throes of creating "something" I am "in joy." If that makes any sense. Example this past spring . . . down on my hands and knees creating a new brick pathway . . . I had creativity in my corner, gorgeous weather, an able body. Some saw it as work . . . I saw it as "creating" and I was lost in bliss.

    I always enjoy your posts on reflecting . . . it brings me to my own self reflecting . . .

    Shows us more and more of your artistry from your needles. I love seeing . . . The fine lace like shawl looks devine . . .

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    1. Thanks Lynne. I'll try to be better at show casing finished projects. The ones I showed were just the ones whose pictures were easily found.

      As I get older I find myself reflecting on a lot of stuff. Not doing as much but thinking a whole lot. I guess there is a time and place for everything in life and now is my time to reflect and sort through all the memories, ideas and desires. It is kind of a luxury.

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  11. You have done some beautiful knitting! It is not something I ever learned to do. My mother was very good at it!

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