Wednesday, January 07, 2009


I've really been enjoying the 2008 retrospectives around blogland lately:  the flickr mosaics, the wrap-up posts, the resolution posts.  Since knitblogging has become mostly an endless parade of FO posts (she says, squarely pointing the finger at herself), it was refreshing to see some reflection, some thoughts about the process of knitting and the reasons why we knit.  

I, however, am not doing a 2008 retrospective, mainly because I realized that those wonderful flickr mosaics can include only 36 pictures, and I KNIT 48 THINGS in 2008.  48.  And there are a few things that just never got photographed because although the simple hat or socks are a pleasure to knit, they're certainly not worth a blog post, and hardly worth the energy to take a decent photograph.  So I think I actually knitted about 50 things this year, which averages to about one FO a week.  That is a lot of knitting.  

This number really disturbed me, which is strange, considering that in 2007, I knit about the same, and at the time I was really psyched.  I like knitting a lot, and relished having the time to make lots of wonderful things.  I really take pleasure from knitting, and pursuing pleasure is a good way to spend your life.  Knitting challenges me, and allows me to be creative.  All that knitting also helped to rationalize the size of my stash, because if you are going to knit a lot of things, then, well, you need a lot a yarn, right?  The yarn gets knit, the patterns get made, and I was all set to just knit knit knit my life away.  

But this year, the number hit me right between the eyes.   I'm in a very reflective place right now.  My life is changing.  My kids are in school and they require less of me on a daily basis.  As a result, I've been experiencing classic Bored Suburban Housewife Wasting Her Life angst.  This is combined with my ongoing crisis of dissatisfaction with other elements of my life since moving from Virginia to Pennsylvania.  Despite the move having been very beneficial to my husband and his career situation, and despite the fact that I now live in a culturally rich, wonderful place and in very close proximity to my wonderfully supportive and fun family, I have yet to find MY niche.  I have yet to feel at home here.  

But I'm in my late 30s.  I am a grown-up and in charge of my life.  I get this.  If I don't like things about my life, it is absolutely within my power to change many of them.  My days at home with young children are ending, so it is up to me to write the next act of my life.  If I don't like things about where I live, dammit, I can move.  If I fear I have become boring, then it is up to me to enrich my life.  It is up to me to nurture the social connections and friends I do have.  I need to be open to life and to make the one life I have the one that I desire.  I can do better.  

And honestly, I realized that knitting all those FOs is an obstacle to that, for me.  That number, which before seemed so desirable, made me understand that knitting for me has been a crutch.  It has been a way for me to rationalize being lazy about my own life.  There are things in life I want to do besides knitting, but knitting was dominating it all, replacing it all.  I wasn't reading as much.  I wasn't moving as much.   I wasn't tackling home projects or working on things that I wanted to, because I just couldn't wait to get in that knitting chair and pick up those needles.  I'm generally an undisciplined, lazy sort of person, and knitting is the perfect way to avoid writing that novel, visiting that museum, cleaning ones closests or calling a contractor to renovate your master bathroom or anything else productive.

I certainly think that knitting is a worthy way of spending ones time.  I acknowledge that for so many knitters, all that time to knit unencumbered by work or other responsibilities would be like a gift from the gods, and I am grateful that I have a life that gives me time to do it.  But all that knitting, while I really, truly enjoyed it, every minute of it, wasn't helping me figure out what was going to make me happy.  It was keeping me on the couch, in the house, in front of the TV.  Zoned out.  Tuned out.  And with one hell of a messy master bath desperately in need of renovation.

I see other knitters who have made knitting Their Next Act, knitters who write books or start businesses or teach classes, and perhaps knitting will show me the way.  Or maybe something else will.  Maybe a job or a calling or a new neighborhood or a new community will open itself to me, and I can give of myself in a new way.  I plan on writing more, but wasting less time on the internets this year.  I plan on moving more, and seeking out a more dynamic life for me and my family.  I plan on taking more advantage of my Philadelphia home.  I plan on learning and reading and taking chances here and there.  I plan on saying yes to more things I enjoy and saying no to the things that bring me down.  

So yes, I enjoy knitting and take great pleasure in yarn and making things with it, but this year, while I will still knit and create and write and blog,  I've resolved to knit less


LaurieM said...

I understand. It's a form of addiction. I think knitting is like a food or shopping addiction. While we must/should do it, we need to be aware of moderation and proportion. Is it serving us, or are we serving it? As they say, "Do you live to eat, or eat to live?"

I think you're self-awareness is a good thing. I wish you well in finding what you need.

Liz said...

oh, I'm SO RIGHT THERE with you! Well said, Liz! I'm excited for you and your 2009.

Kristy said...

Really well put. One of my resolutions was to let reading win out over knitting more often, and to more generally knit less. Good luck with your goal this year-- it should lead to exciting times :)

Ann said...

You have completely nailed how I've been feeling about my knitting and my life. I evaluate projects differently now because there are fewer of them and I want to fully enjoy them. And as I dust off my resume and look forward to the next phase of my life I know that my knitting will always be there but it will be different.

Anonymous said...

You just rocked my world Liz! I guess I hadn't thought about things in quite that way but I really get it. For me I think it ties more into the knit-blog relationship though right now because I have so little time to knit and then even more of that is taken away by blogging my knits but I can see how as the children grow and more time becomes available it would feel right to diversify activities.

You are so right! Enjoy yourself this year! Big warm hearted blessings to you and yours in 2009 :-)

Anonymous said...

just don't give up coming to SnK group meetings! we need to see your loverly face! :-)

Anonymous said...

Being at a crossroads in one's life is scary at times, disappointing at times and lonely at times. It's all those things - as I can relate having been forced (divorce) to undergo such a crossroad recently in my own life. However, I've learned that it's also uplifting and exciting and can be filled with hope. Sounds like you're on the right track. Just by being aware of it, you've taken the hardest step. I came across a quote recently that I thought was appropriate and I have it tacked above my desk. Here it is: "...We should all be consciously weighing the worth of our lives while we have the chance. Make it count in the way that matters to you." (author unknown)

Wishing you uplifting and peacefilled thoughts -

Theresa said...

Thank you for this very interesting and thought-provoking post. I think that for those of us who knit a lot it can certainly be an obstacle to doing other things, even important things. I find that having my husband deployed really makes knitting a crutch for me, which might not be terrible, but is good to at least recognize.

Anonymous said...

This is going to be a year of change for me too. My kids are now in school full time so I can make a career change. It'll be exciting to see what you do this year. Happy 2009 to you!

Reethi said...

If I substitute the knitting with sewing, this could almost be my life. Great, thought-provoking post, thank you.

Sally said...

Liz, you're a peach. You should definitely write more, as you prove time and time again that you are an excellent writer. I know, to some extent, what you are feeling. I am confident that you WILL find your niche, and you will be happy. And remember, it doesn't depend on a new master bath, although that wouldn't be so bad now, would it? ;o)

Abigail said...

My thoughts exactly! Well said.

And I only knit 38 mostly small projects at that.