I talk about knitting a lot, I know. I enjoy so much about it and it's a constant source of creative inspiration for me. But it has other benefits:
- keeps me engaged in conversation + helps me be a better listener
- builds community
- serves as a source of calming/repetition
- entertains me during travel
- helps me engage in the fiber community and my local community
- pairs perfectly with coffee and fika and conversation
None of the above sentiments are new. I've written about them before, in this space. Here's what I want to say about it today: don't hoard the things you love. I love knitting. But it's not just "my thing." It's not special to me because it's the thing that only I do. I'd agree with the sentiment that my personal making is unique to me, but what makes knitting special to me is not that I keep it to myself. It's not for everyone, but I've seen (literally) dozens of people try it and fall in love for a myriad of reasons, and then make it entirely their own. Sharing it with other people (and new knitters!) brings me incredible joy. When I moved to Austin, I didn't know any local knitters, so I eventually taught a few of my closest friends how to knit. Twice in the last week, I've had little learn-to-knit lessons with two friends, where we met at a local yarn shop, found yarn that sung to them, and then talked knitting basics and pattern-reading over coffee. The knitting community has grown a bit lovelier with these two new knitters (yay Celeste and Christina)!
And likewise, I'm the (indirect) recipient of someone else sharing her joy about a creative pursuit. I've mentioned this blog before in a previous post, but she has a recent post about quilting and the way she writes about it made me excited enough to actually start the early process and planning of making a quilt, after only talking about it for months. I love this except from her post entitled Quiltsong:
Quilts are simple and profound. They take time, long, long swathes of it, with repetitive gestures and melting hours, afternoons spent in one spot. To choose to make a quilt is to commit, to intend, to give yourself away to something and let the excitement bubble up. It’s solitary, but it needn’t be. I have tiny secret hopes of being a person to reinvent the quilting bee. There’s a heritage here, a beautiful inheritance. So many metaphors, so many years of so many women spending quiet hours at home doing something beautiful and practical.
You may see beautiful handmade quilts in photos on my blog, but I can't take credit for those—my mom is the avid and accomplished quilter in the family. I adore the quilts she has made for us and we use them all the time. But I haven't ventured into solo quilting yet for various reasons, mostly fear. Fear of not being capable of making something beautiful, fear that I won't finish it, fear of the planning process. But after reading that post and talking with my mom some more, reassessing the fabric I have in my stash, and feeling a wave of gumption, I'm doing math and sketches over here. And I'll make a trip to the fabric store tonight for a few more fabrics. It will be a variation on a half-square quilt (there are so many). I'll figure out the layout as I go, since I bought the majority of my fabrics as remnants at a little local fabric shop and I'm not sure how many blocks I'll get from each. Fears be darned, I'm actually going to make a quilt. It won't be perfect, but it'll be beautiful in one way or another.
So whether the thing you love is knitting or sewing or cooking or carpentry or hiking or biking or tea drinking or coding or rubik's cubes or repairing cars, share it. When someone expresses an interest in what you love, invite them into that sphere. And if they enjoy it, you may be surprised at just how much joy you both feel.
I love baking. I truly do. The difference between a bad afternoon and a good one can be as simple as a baked good. I love the slow process, the premonition of preheating the oven, sometimes playing around with different flavors. My favorites are your typical "home bakes," nothing couture. Cakes, cookies, brownies, etc., are all my go-to baked goods to make in my own kitchen.
Some projects come along at just the right moment, and this shawl is one of them. After several rather hectic months, I wanted to get back into the rhythm of knitting, but wanted a fun, low-pressure, but still creatively inspiring project. I love knitting socks, but I wanted to knit something with more colorplay and this shawl was just the thing.
It's that time of the year when typically, as a born-and-raised Northerner, I'd be yearning for spring. That yearning isn't quite so pronounced here in Austin, but nonetheless, February is a month of almosts. Winter is almost over, spring is almost here, etc. And so it has been timely for me to indulge in a few self-care practices (and treats) while we're living in the almosts.