In between the emails, in between meals, in between outings and vacations, I begin. I always begin another knitting project. Another day, another skein of yarn. From the first cast on, I'm committed until the end. And when there is an end, I always, always make sure there is another ball of yarn waiting in the wings.
I carry a project-in-progress in my purse, my luggage, placed to the right of the couch where I sit at night. I always have it near. And I've now designated a space in my office to old and new balls of yarn and all of my cowls because they need their own space. They're taking on a life of their own.
You see, all I can really knit is a cowl or a blanket. I haven't done anything fancier than that, yet. So I have all of these cowls. At the yarn shop when I find new yarn and they ask, What are you going to make? I say, shyly, A cowl. When I'm knitting and my Mom asks me, Who is that for?, I indulge in the answer: For me.
All of this is to share with you that I think I'm a knitter, a compulsive knitter, but also a compulsive cowl wearer. I should have known it would come to this. For years I've worn scarves before scarves were even cool.
My best friend told me earlier this year, when I confessed my knitting addiction to her that she went through a similar phase. For six months or so she knit all the time. She made Christmas presents for everyone in her family. She knit, knit, knit. And then one day she stopped. It all dried up.
I wonder if this will happen to me. I sure hope it doesn't.
For I love the yarns. The colors. The feeling of the animal fiber between my fingers. I sense I am calling on some ancient female art every time I sit down to watch, take care, make tiny wholes and create something held together by my little efforts, day in and day out.
Between all of my big creative projects, like making a dance, making a new issue of the magazine I co-create with others, making dinner for guests, I'm finding there is tremendous peace in having a ball of yarn to go to, to finesse and yes, sometimes fuss with.
All of my knitting projects (Do you have them, too?) come together into one fantastic collection that I am proud of and wear often. And I made a baby blankie this summer that I plan to sew together with red stain ribbon, perfect for the baby’s feeling fingers.
I started reading Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale for the second time since high school. It is an old copy with two women on the cover dressed in red with baskets in their hands as they stand next to a tall, grey, menacing wall.
The other night, after dinner and knitting, when I read her words about one of the characters in the book and their knitting, I understood my obsession a bit better. "It's good to have small goals that can be easily attained."
Yes. Small goals in between the big stuff, the stuff you can’t control or understand, is good… very good.