Saturday, August 17, 2013


Sometimes, you're the butterfly, and sometimes you're the caterpillar...

And sometimes, you're the wrinkly thing that comes out of the cocoon trying to figure out what the heck just happened. But it's not long before you start flying...

The other day at work, I was sitting at my desk and was just... tired. Really, really tired. Thankfully, it was a relatively quiet week at work, so I had the chance to just sit and breathe, and I decided right then and there that I needed a break. I've been working hard, not just at work, but at life in general. I've been trying to do it all: work, exercise, house-work, marriage, blogging, and that yarn-thing that I think we call knitting.

I looked around with my bleary eyes, felt my aching muscles, thought about how I struggled through my morning workout, and shuddered at the thought of doing the same thing the next day. I thought about how I'd skipped my Monday post and felt the pangs of guilt I'd been pushing away all week. As I drove home from work, I started thinking about the knitting project I'd been carrying around in my handbag, the fabric sitting in my wooden trunk at home, the recipes I wanted to try, the clothes sitting in my sewing basket, waiting to be altered... And I started wondering about this blog and whether or not it meant enough to me for me to continue. In some ways, it would be nice not to have the responsibility...

It was then that I decided that I wouldn't get up early the next morning and get to the gym and pound out a workout before going to work and cranking out another day of work. Maybe I was over-trained and over-tired.

I got home and did my evening chores, then sat down and picked up my knitting, determined to get a few rows out of the way... and as soon as I knitted them, I was ripping them out in frustration over all the errors I had made. By the time I was finished, I was four rows further back than when I started. What was I doing? Was knitting even for me anymore?

That evening, I ran a hot bath. Before I got in, I went over to my bookshelf and scanned the shelf for something to peruse while I soaked, and my eyes came upon this book, For the Love of Knitting: A Celebration of the Knitter's Art.

I got into the bath, sank down into the water, and carefully opened the pages and started reading. I was soon lost in the stories of people's experiences of learning to knit, first projects, laughable experiences in yarn shops, sad stories of lost loved ones and how this craft connected it all.

Then I read this from Betty Christiansen's contribution called "Her Hands":
It's easy to take this gift for granted, like a loyal friend, like the woman who taught me, like a heartbeat, like breath. But while I don't like to entertain the thought, the truth is, I don't know who I would be if I couldn't knit.
Who would I be if I couldn't knit? If I wasn't a thing-maker? If I stopped making things, and stopped writing about the making-of-things?

It was then that I realized in my eagerness to "do it all," I'd slipped into a different mode. I didn't do things anymore... I was someone that made sure things got done. And that's different.

Get up. Get to the gym. Get the workout done.

Get showered. Get dressed. Get to work. Get the work done.

Get home. Make the next morning's smoothie. Pack the next day's lunch. Get the dog walk done.

Do the knitting. Get a project done so I can blog about it. Hmm...

I'm not sure when my yarn adventures went from being something I did to something that needed to get done, but I don't like it. Making things was never about cranking out objects. It has always been about the process: about spying yarn and luxuriating in its texture, daydreaming about its destined purpose, marveling at its progress, loving (or hating) the result.

It was never a conveyor belt of production. Maybe that's where it all went wrong.

I got out of the bathtub, dried off and got dressed, poured myself a big glass of water, then sat down and picked up my knitting. I did it slowly, deliberately, watching the colours, feeling the twist of the yarn. I thought about the day I bought it, how desperately I wanted to take it home, and how it was originally destined for a two-colour project.

And I felt better.

I woke up this morning, and after a day and a half of eating and sleeping and more eating, my body is looking for the vigorous exercise it is accustomed to, perhaps with better sleep routines and less compulsion. Tomorrow, if I'm feeling up to it, I think I'll go for a run, then sit on the deck and knit some more, and maybe go and wade through the stash for fun.

System rebooted, no fatal errors found, restarting in safe mode for now...


Rows Red said...

Knit. Sleep. Breathe. Love. Everything else is just the stuff I need to do to support the above. :)

I'm glad you're finding yourself and your focus again. Getting lost in the minutia is exhausting!

AdrieneJ said...

It sure is! I had the unsettling experience of finding out just today that a friend of mine is seven months pregnant, and I totally missed the message in an email a few months ago. Man, I need to start paying attention...