We needed a quiet day to find our way together. These are the days I am the very most grateful for.
If you read my last post, you already know that I have started knitting a sweater for my daughter. I mentioned that I made a mistake but chose not to fix it because it wasn’t that bad, and maybe it would cause a negligible change in look, and that really, tearing out a bunch of knitted stitches causes me a lot of anxiety. Well…
This morning, I was up before everyone else and got to my project, sipping my coffee and feeling a little worn down. I’ve been ruminating, for sure. But I’ll get to that. As I started knitting, I realized about 20 stitches in that something was wrong. And it was wrong not just in the row I was working on, but also throughout the previous three rows. I kept looking at it, counting rows, looking at the pattern, and truly disbelieving the fact that I had been really rather careless in a simple instruction. Knit one row, Purl the other (other than a few stitches on either side). What had I done? I don’t quite know because unlike crochet, I can’t entirely read the story of the the knitted fabric. Experts can look at a piece and see where and what went wrong. Not this gal. Either I messed up the Knit/Purl rows, or knit too many rows. I don’t know. I considered letting it go and pretending that I meant to add a fancy different looking section, but then remembered my last post. And I thought about other times in my life I opted to skate through a problem without facing it head-on, and I considered my belief that stuff keeps coming back for us to deal with and learn from until we’ve dealt with and learned from the…stuff.
So, I tore it out. Three and a half rows, I tore out. While I tore them out, I wondered if I was going to have to start over from scratch. My yarn also got snagged and it broke. My heart pounded and I felt a whole bunch of things, mostly in the category of self-attack and frustration. How could I have been so mindless to make such an unnecessary mistake?
All of that self-talk, all of that rumbling in the mind that likely is going on most of the time but sometimes becomes impossible to ignore, it really shows up at times like this for me. Mistakes. Just mistakes. Nothing life-threatening. Nothing dangerous or ultimately undoing for myself or for others. Just mistakes that seem “unnecessary” or as a result of “carelessness”, “thoughtlessness”, etc., etc.
I successfully got all of the loops back on to my needles, and I started again. I paid attention to what was happening in my mind. I didn’t do anything magical or come to any awe-inspiring conclusion. I just saw how beautifully knitting can be one of many ways to learn about oneself. Myself. I tuned in to how much ruminating I do when I’m stressed or sad or anxious. And I became very aware of what I do to myself when I make a mistake. No wonder I get so worked up when I have to tear out knitting! Good lord! Lighten up, girl!
I couldn’t get much more done before my day with my kids started, but I did manage to go outside and capture the smells of summer, the sounds of songbirds and the beautiful sun lightening more of the sky.
Today I picked up my knitting needles to begin a sweater for my daughter for when the temperatures change. I am looking ahead. I wanted to start a project now that will keep her warm and comforted in the future. I don’t know why. Maybe for many reasons. Maybe because she has strep throat and is in pain. Maybe because I love her more than I can explain. This is the sweater. I learned how to do a cable cast on so far and feel rather impressed with myself. I also know I made a mistake, but I don’t know how to fix mistakes in knitting. So different than crochet. Pulling out already knitted stitches fills me with dread and makes me anxious. So for now I’m going to keep knitting and hope my mistake isn’t too grave. Kind of like parenting. I make mistakes daily. I hope none will be too grave, too difficult to repair.
I love this post from Two Hands Healing and Creative Arts ! It inspired me to pick up a project I started last winter. It’s the Babette Blanket, designed by Kathy Merrick. Thank you for the inspiration, Andee! Perfect for today. It’s summery, warm and wonderful outside, but my daughter is not feeling well. I was able to crochet some granny squares while she snuggled on my lap, her hands gently resting on mine. Happy summer crocheting, everyone. What projects are you working on?
Summer is truly here now. Even up on my mountain we are feeling the heat. Of course what seems “hot” to us is nothing compared to what friends and family all over the country are dealing with. This past week temperatures have been over 100F in lots of places. Making me very grateful for our easy days of 87-90F days at my house.
When I go down to town to do errands it can be significantly warmer. But at least in Colorado humidity isn’t the factor that it is for many others. I’m looking forward to seeing all my yarnie friends at the conference in a few weeks, but it will be in Charleston, South Carolina. I suspect that I may be melting in the heat and humidity that they are experiencing.
In heat like that how does one keep crocheting? My choice for travel and for hot weather crochet…
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I was so incredibly pleasantly surprised to see in my email a notice that my little blog here had been nominated by another wonderful blogger, Mrs Craft of Craft and Other Crazy Plans for the Creative Blogger Award! You know, it’s really quite a lovely feeling to learn that someone reads my words, looks at my pictures and thinks that they’re cool! It’s also wonderful to have the chance to share the blogs that I love to read and look at for inspiration, information and simply because they are fabulous! So, I’ll get to that below!
This is especially tender for me because I am actively working on a “healing” piece. With heartbreaking world events, a busy life, transitioning to summer break with my children, and experiencing a bit of grief of the personal and existential sort, I needed to begin a piece I’ve been thinking about for a while. I’m using my large Majacraft Circular Loom and making a sitting rug. It will be textured and smooth, soft and hard, mostly in a beige/off-white/cream color palette. Peaceful. Natural. Cloud-like. Quiet. I want something to call my own, my little space that invites touch and that reflects the complicated aspects of life, but in dulled down color. I need that space and am making it for myself.
Part of being nominated for this sweet award includes the act of sharing five things about myself, so here it goes:
- I am absolutely fascinated by ancestral history, and believe that as I age, I will spend more and more time pursuing information about all of the people who came before me in my family. I wonder about them. I thank them for surviving, because without them, I wouldn’t be here.
- If I could go back in time, I would not quit creative writing in college. I would pursue that interest with more devotion and more discipline. That regret is fueling my urge to write, and my discipline now.
- I hope to join the Peace Corps one day, even if I can’t until I’m an “old” woman. This woman inspired me not to let my mind succumb to antiquated and stereotyped images of aging.
- I love to run, workout and be strong, and have found this love later in my life.
- I used to live in Florida and I really, really love and miss the Gulf of Mexico. I also love the Atlantic and spent a lot of time at the Jersey Shore when I lived in NJ as a youngin’. There is something magically wonderful about salt water and all of the life it supports, and I hope to get to hang out by the sea a lot more in the coming years.
And here are my nominations:
- I Accidentally Ate the Whole Thing
- Begin to Believe
- Healing Tree Farm
- Mulch and More Crafts
- Fibery Goodness
- Two Hands Healing and Creative Arts
- Violet’s Vegan e-Comics
- art does matter
- The Archivist Cooks
- Ingrid Art Studio Blog
- alexand knits
- Love Those “Hands at Home”
- Story Skeins
- Crochet Thread
- Spin a Yarn
The above blogs are ones I love to follow and check in on. They all have inspired me, not just in the crafting way, but in the living life artistically kind of way. I hope you check them out.
Here are the rules for the bloggers I’ve nominated. I hope you all enjoy participating in whatever capacity you choose.
- Nominate 15-20 bloggers and add their links.
- Thank the person who nominated you and include a link to their blog.
- Share five facts about yourself.
- Notify the bloggers you included.
- Keep the rules in your post.
Thank you again, Karen (Mrs. Craft) for nominating me. This was really fun!
Last weekend, I was able to be a part of a wonderful Open Studio day at Shelburne Pond Studios. I don’t have my own place there, but as part of their weekend, they invited local artists to show their wares. It was a good chance for me to finish up projects that had been drifting about, waiting for some attention amidst all of the things that can make a life so full. I was delighted to see how much I actually did make over the winter months. More than I realized! I think my obsession with circular weaving helped. It never felt like work, to pick up a little loom and let my gut tell me what color needed to come next, what texture, what material…
Below are some pictures of some things I had on hand.
This little circular weaving piece was made using a loom from this Etsy shop. I love the sizes of looms this shop owner offers. They are affordable and very, very fun.
The wall hanging below was made in part with a Majacraft Circular Loom. I got mine here.
All I can say is, please watch this gorgeous video with Renate Hiller, from The Fiber Craft Studio, as part of NPR’s On Being with Krista Tippett. Ms. Hiller captures in gorgeous simplicity the importance and meaning of handwork, useful work, productive and grounding work. I’ve watched this several times and she is always inspiring. She speaks directly to the part of me that has been utterly awakened since I’ve become involved in the fiber arts and crafts. She also speaks to my longing to bring fiber art and fiber itself to children’s hands, so they can themselves feel the natural and beautiful renewable resource that is all around us in the hills and valleys of Vermont.
I came across this picture and quote on Facebook the other night, and I’ve been thinking about it a lot. First of all, I love it. I love the intention, the ideal and the archetype that supports what Sark wrote. I believe that they are all real and grounded in our shared histories. In my life, relationships with my women-folk, both in my family and in my friendship groups, have been very important and very strong. By strong, I mean powerful in how they have affected me and impacted the roads I’ve chosen to walk down. I believe my first true love was my best friend when I was very young. My heart broke when I moved away from her at the age of 10; she was a friend that I could ride bikes with, climb trees with, ring doorbells and run with (sometimes… Barbara was definitely smarter and calmer than me when it came to deviant behavior), and we could also play with our dolls together, listen to her older sister’s records and imagine ourselves as grownups while laying on the grass in one of our yards. That early childhood friend, who I still cherish, paved the way for me to have other strong friendships that I believe will be lifelong. I relish the fantasies that involve my friends and me, wicked old and weird, doing whatever the hell we want.
Sometimes I also find myself lamenting the distance between my family women-folk and me. I have not lived near any of my family for over twenty years. Mother, step-mother, mother-in-law, grandmothers, sisters, sisters-in-law, a cousin and an aunt…With none of these important women have I shared a daily flow of life other than during a brief time my mother lived here in Vermont. I share this not as a complaint, but more as an important detail of modern life that many of us experience. I haven’t done the specific research to know exactly when the shift really started, or how one would even pick the when of things such as this, but there is, in many ways, a cultural mandate towards separating from one’s family of origin in accordance with a push towards individuation and independence. We are a culture of I’s. Not every culture puts so much emphasis on the I-self, but rather on the We, on the shared, on the communal.
These are merely germinating thoughts right now, and not new. I read a lot about this whole cultural and psychological phenomenon when I became a mother. For the first time, I truly felt that what I was doing was not meant to be done in isolation, in a women-folk void, I-centric world. There is no I in Mother, and learning how to think and live in a way that did not at times service the I-development was very challenging for me. Having a community of friends I could trust and rely on in times of extreme fatigue, overwhelm, confusion and fear… I bow to the importance of having that gift in a life.
I am currently enjoying another community of women-folk. I am a member of a Peace Pod that makes things to donate to Knitting4Peace, a wonderful organization that supplies needed items to people all over the world. The Peace Pod gatherings are fabulous, as they are a motley crew of us ladies (and one man so far!). All different ages and life paths, we are getting to know one another, we laugh, we share, and we make. I feel like I have found a lived experience that the above picture describes. Isn’t that funny? It is to me. My imagination has stuck in it one particular image of women communing together, and it is old, a fantasy, a daydream. In modern life, it’s not all built-in to our daily life structure, unless we tend to this most important archetype that ties us to one another, and reminds us that we are not going this whole life-thing alone. Sharing and participating in giving to others reminds me that we can also, and ought to, tend to those loves who are far away. Our families, our friends who live all over, we can tend to these parts of our hearts that are all over the world, hopefully all of us living in accordance with our I-self, while tending the fire of love that binds us together in the We.