Okay, okay, okay, everyone who knows me knows that I have ADKD: Attention Deficit Knitting Disorder. Every time my knitting friends see me I am off on another project, seduced once again by the lure of another gorgeous yarn, another fabulous project. I am a great proponent of having multiple projects going at the same time. It’s my belief that having multiple projects going keeps you fresh and interested.
But, I am here today, my friends, to admit that I have reached the tipping point. Or maybe the flipping out point is a better description.
So the first step is to admit that I have a problem. Check. Let’s take a tally of said problem shall we? On the needles I have: 4 pairs of socks, 2 pairs of Scandinavian slipper socks, 1 fair isle cowl, 1 regular cowl, 2 tank tops, 1 massive cabled sweater, 3 scarves, 2 hats, 1 pair of mittens and 1 stuffed animal. That’s 18 projects that I can think of OFF THE TOP OF MY HEAD. Who knows what else lurks at the bottom of my knitting baskets (yes, that’s baskets – plural – I have 4 by my designated knitting area). And this certainly doesn’t take into account all the things in my queue that I am dying to start or the things that I have to knit for the store. Oh yeah, and did I forget to mentions that 24 square Great American Aran Afghan KAL. (insert elevated heart rate, short, panicked breaths) Is it any wonder that I have dozens, maybe hundreds of needles?
While I will not stop buying yarn and dreaming of new projects (that is a given), I have reached the point with so many projects that I feel pulled in too many directions to be able to focus on any one thing. So it’s time for some discipline! (Just typing that sent a frisson of fear down my spine).
To this end I have finished one large project (color block v-neck sweater in Seedling) and a tank top of my own design which I started (mumble, mumble) years ago in a sport weight cotton yarn we no longer carry.
Given that old habits die hard, I did start a new project, the “Sunny Day Tank” by C2Knits in Cascade Ultra Pima.. I couldn’t stop myself I tell you!
To atone for falling off the finishing wagon I have frogged one project, tossed another (yes, tossed), and am turning my newly found steely resolve on some others. Yes, I do feel better.
And what , pray tell, has me so motivated to free up all these needles?
More new projects, of course!
When people (and by people I mean friends as well as strangers) see me knitting I sometimes get this: “Oh, I could never do that.”
Generally I try to be nice and non-commital and mumble something to the tune of “of course you can”, “well, it’s not for everyone”. But the more I come across this response the more I think about the “unsaid” element of this statement.
The truth is, anyone can knit with the right application of time and attention. They may not become expert knitters and perhaps they would never get past a basic scarf but they could learn. So what are they really telling us when they say “I could never do that”?
“I could never do that (because I am too busy)”. Okay, we all have busy lives. We have doctors and lawyers and teachers and investment gurus come through the store who knit up a storm. Many have husbands and children and dogs and/or cats and households to run and lives to balance and meals to prepare and yet they manage to knit. So if these people are trying to insinuate that they are don’t have time to learn to knit I say piffle.
“I could never do that (because it’s such an old lady thing to do)”. There are many young and vibrant knitters who come into the store eager to get their hands on some yarn and a project. They sit around in their knitting groups drinking wine and discussing blogs and podcasts, as well as the newest restaurants, the hottest bars, the best plays. They are decidely not talking about canning for the winter or their lumbago.
“I could never do that (because there’s nothing I would ever wear)”. Really? These people have to take a look at the runways in New York, Paris and Milan and see the kind of knitwear there is out there. This is not just a world of antimacassars and granny squares and endless garter stitch scarves. Do they exist? Yes. Do people still knit/crochet such things? Yes. But the world of handknits goes way beyond such things. I literally had someone offer me $400 at a cocktail party for a handknit off my back. (no, I didn’t sell it but it was flattering).
“I could never do that (because it looks so boring)”. These people need to go on Google and search all the recent articles proving how good knitting is for your brain and how excellent it is for young children developing fine motor skills. And, let’s face it, there is nothing more boring than sitting in front of a TV with nothing to do with your hands. I will admit that it is sedentary unless you’re this guy:
So, basically, the next time someone tries to tell me that they “could never knit” I’m going to say, “yes you can but you choose not to for a variety of worthless reasons”. Okay, maybe not. But I’m going to think it.
Complete this sentence: Jane Elliott is a a) genius, b) a knitting savant c) a crazed, sleep-deprived, caffeine-fueled, obsessive knitting machine d) all of the above. The answer is, of course, (d). And as proof of this I offer the following.
I am currently shepherding along the Great American Aran Afghan KAL. Once a month, this valiant group meets to work on a square of said afghan, to compare notes, show off, complain and generally chat our way through two hours of companionable knitting.
Early on in the project, it became evident that some of the knitters were confused and bedeviled by the charts and other instructions provided. So, SOMEONE (you know who you are J.P.) familiar with Jane’s love of writing out knitting instructions line by line approached Jane to request that she find, in the kindness of her heart, the time to write out the instructions for each square of the afghan. Let me state at this point that there are 24 squares, all about 12″x12″, as well as a knit cabled border.
The fact that Jane agreed, without demanding a fee that would rival the gold deposit in Fort Knox or the promise of several bodily organs as needed is amazing enough. The fact that she knit the ENTIRE afghan WHILE writing the patterns out in TWO WEEKS is freaking mind-blowing. TWO WEEKS. 4000 yards of yarn. For you unbelievers out there here is photographic proof:
Please note the size of the afghan. It would fit a queen-size bed.
So Jane, on behalf of all the aran afghan knitters using your line-by-line patterns, a giant thank you. On behalf of all the other knitters wow-ed by your prowess, we salute you!
Let’s get something straight before I go any further: I am a yarn snob. I would much rather do fewer projects with better yarn than a avalanche of projects with cheap yarn. I find that good yarn feels better in your hands when you knit, lasts longer as a finished garment, doesn’t pill and generally pays back in beauty and longevity the up-front investment.
So where am I going with this other than raising the self-serving “Buy expensive yarn!” flag?
Many times when people come into the store looking for yarn to knit a gift in , specifically a baby gift, we hear the refrain “oh something inexpensive” (This is generally followed by the inevitable “and washable” because it seems that this newest generations of mothers is patently incapable of washing anything by hand. But that is for another post).
Now, if someone is knitting prayer shawls by the gross I can understand the need for financial restraint. I also understand that everyone’s finances are different and that if all you can afford is yarn by the pound it’s better than giving up knitting altogether. However if you don’t have to make the choice between buying yarn and putting food on the table and you are knitting something for a loved one I have one question for you:
How do you value your love and time?
YOU are the one spending hours upon hours of your time creating this object. YOU are using your knitting skills using YOUR hands. YOU are putting your name on a project. YOU are potentially giving this to someone you love to be carried into the future, to be held next to soft cheeks, to keep those beloved toes warm (baby or otherwise-big toes get cold too), to be shown off, to be photographed and in all ways to represent the amazingness of YOUR knitting skills and generosity. So I repeat: How do you value your time and love?
Life is too short my friends, and love too precious to knit with cheap yarn.
(p.s., if you decide to make the upgrade, invest in little cards that say “show this garment/blanket the same love that went into the making of it: please wash by hand”. And then let it go.)
Julie, WY's Do-bee and store wordsmith.