The feel of the soft yarn as it slides through my fingers. The rhythmic clicking of the metal needles against each other. The almost magical formation of an article fit for wearing from a piece of string.
I paused and examined the hat I was knitting, satisfied with the way it was turning out. I placed my project in my bag for the next time.
But the next time never materialized.
I’ve been knitting on and off for about 10 years. I recently took somewhat of a hiatus to focus on some writing, but recently decided to get back into my wool stash.
It got me thinking that knitting is a lot like writing.
Well, in some ways that is.
They both frustrate the hell out of me sometimes.
Writing, because the words get all jumbled up in my head and when they do decide to form themselves into beautiful prose, they come out all jumbled up on the computer screen anyway.
Knitting, especially designing (I’m too flaky to follow most patterns), lends itself to all sorts of jumble-ness too. I can easily create a beautiful design in my head that I can’t seem to translate into the finished piece.
But most of the time, I do love them both.
Writing and knitting both have provided me comfort and a purpose.
Like many folks, I turn to my art in times of distress or grief. Sometimes, the best creations are born out of the toughest times.
Our art also provides us a sense of identity. I am a writer. I am a knitter.
A painter, a furniture-maker, a bonsai enthusiast.
On the one hand, focusing on getting the right words down or counting stitch after stitch provides a concentration and a focus for the mind. It’s like brain exercise for me. Coming up with just the right word and phrasing. Figuring out if I need a left-leaning or a right-leaning decrease.
On the other hand, both activities can have a tremendously relaxing and meditative effect. Letting the mind wander as words flow effortlessly onto the page. Words that are not destined to be read by anyone but myself. There is no pressure, no deadline, no criticism.
The same can happen with knitting. Certain stitch types (endless garter, for you knowing knitters out there) can provide a kind of solace as your hands, using muscle memory, allow the wool to flow through them creating a soft and squishy fabric that will eventually become an item fit for your head, hands or neck.
Sometimes, as I’m writing something, I pause and look at it as I read it. My head nods ever so slightly as I decide that this could work.
The same happens in knitting. I’ll just begin knitting without a project really in mind, and pause and look at it and think the same thing.
I will continue to write. Writing is a lot newer to me than knitting, and I’ve enjoyed it so much.
I’m also excited to get back to knitting. I can and will do both.
They will both continue to frustrate me at times, and both will continue to be a part of me and encourage and comfort and define me.
What have you placed away “just for now” or “until the next time” and that next time never came?
Is there a book you started writing, but never got around to finishing? Maybe, like me, you began a craft project that has been waiting patiently for you to pick it back up and finish it.
I’d like to encourage you today, right now even, to go and find that book or project. Look at it and let it speak to you. Allow your mind to remember what it was about it that excited you or motivated you. What did you enjoy about it?
Perhaps the frustration you were feeling with it was too much, so you needed time away. Hey, it happens to all of us. But now that time has passed, you can look at it with a new eye. You can get excited about it, and begin again.
I feel it’s so important to finish what we’ve begun. This hasn’t been my strong suit recently. But that’s changing.
I’m finishing my hat.