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K is for….Knitting

13 Apr

 

I feel like it should read N is for Knitting for some reason. This word doesn’t feel like a “K” word, simply because you don’t get to hear it. And I’m rather fond of the “K” sound, it being part of my name and all that…

When I was five years old I watched my mom knitting a bright yellow afghan, and pestered her to the point where she gave me yarn and needles and showed me how the two worked together. My first project was a little blanket for my cat and it took absolutely forever.

Since then I’ve made blankets, clothing, toys…just about anything you can put create I think. I love to knit while watching movies on Netflix and wish I could get away with taking my needles and yarn into movie theaters to do the same (there being no need for light for me to see to knit by – a trick I taught myself on long car rides where a person needed SOMETHING to do once the sun dropped below the horizon and you were hours from the intended destination).

But knitting isn’t just useful to me, it’s relaxing. It’s a way to feel like I’m accomplishing something even when I’m buried under blankets in bed when I’m having a ‘bad’ day. Knitting has helped me to save my sanity during this long sabbatical.

I feel like I can’t chatter about knitting without mentioning that I’m a total Ravelry junkie – after all where else do you expect me to get patterns for everything from a Hogwarts approved scarf to racy lingerie (no, I haven’t done lingerie yet though I’m tempted if I ever come across the right yarn.) You can look me up under Katagillian though I’ve yet to really spend time posting what I’m working on. Which is currently a dishcloth¬†obsession¬†with random forays into the world of sweaters.

Anneka's Afghan

Though right now it’s near impossible to knit as I’m caught up in crocheting an afghan for my cat. Which wasn’t supposed to be for her but she somehow claimed as I was working on it. But that’s another story.

What do you like to create?

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A Date with a Painting

30 Mar

So last week my husband surprised me with a date I never would have guessed of him – an artist date of sorts – an reservation over at Painting with a Twist – a studio where you come for a couple of hours, wine is offered, and the participants are shown how to paint the painting of the night.

I had no idea what to expect initially. We arrived and were confronted first with a blank canvas – a sight a bit daunting. What made this even more interesting was the long lines of canvases that went down the room – in all there was room for (and in actuality) at least 30 painters to work.

The Blank Canvas

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My own particular canvas felt very white. And the paints they gave me didn’t inspire a lot of confidence. This much paint to cover the whole thing? Well thank goodness it’s not like painting a house….right?

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Only I was wrong and immediately they set us to cover the entire canvas with background so we could eventually paint a tree and blossoms on the foreground. I dabbed a bit and felt lost. Chris (painting on the right) seemed to be having about as much luck as me. I don’t know if we were lacking inspiration or talent or maybe just were trying too hard to follow directions…? Either way at this point I was wondering why I’d even agreed to come.


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After a bit (and let’s face it, I wandered around the room to get more ideas…) I smeared some darker colors on the canvas and thought that while it didn’t look very good at this point, at least I was trying…this was going to become something? Really?

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Then we started with our branches. I think I should have stopped here. I had even the instructor stop and tell me that this was amazing. Several compliments and my head was swelling…I could do this after all. Even Chris started feeling more confident!

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Then the flowers came…and I lost it. That impact, that stark Legend of Sleepy Hollow thing I had going became…soft? I’m not sure I’m happy with the finished product.

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Well, it was fan. It’s really a unique kind of date and one that actually taught me something about art. Mostly that it’s a lot harder than I thought to dab paint on a canvas and come away with anything worthwhile.

And that artists are extremely critical of their own work.

Yeah, I need to work on it. I like it. Kinda. It might be fun to try this again someday.

The sweater is done!

21 Jan

I posted recently about the sweater that never got finished…well I pressed on after posting that, one row at a time sometimes. Over the weekend I finally finished knitting the pieces and even got it all sewed together.

I’m pretty proud of myself. I haven’t made a sweater in forever, and this one took me WAAAAY too long to do.

The thing is, I used the excuse many times over of not having time to knit. Or not feeling well enough to knit. But I wasn’t feeling good over the weekend. At all. In fact, I made the goal to knit JUST ONE ROW and then rest for awhile and not touch it again for a bit.

Committing to “just one row” made all the difference.

You see, if you don’t pick up the needles, I can guarantee it’s not going to get done. But even just doing a few stitches every day…got it finished.

I’m not going to belabor the point or hit you over the head with my needles to get you to see it. I think the lesson is pretty clear.

Let’s not give up today, ok? Whatever it is we’re facing let’s take it one step at a time.

As Red Green says, “Remember, I’m pulling for ya. We’re all in this together!”

k1 p2 k3 yo…

4 Jan

I’m putting off finishing a sweater.

Er…I’ve been putting this off for the last two years.

Knitting is supposed to be a relaxing hobby but there is something anxiety inducing in sweaters for me. In the time where I COULD have been finishing the sweater I have knit several scarves, even some doll clothes, and a stuff animal.

But I do not finish the sweater.

The front is finished, as is the back and one and a half sleeves. I think I could honestly have all the pieces done, ready to be stitched together in the space of an afternoon. Only I put it off, because sweaters…condemn.

A stuffed animal that comes out a little lopsided is ‘charming.’

A scarf…well how can you go wrong on a scarf? So long as it’s long…ok there’s the nervousness that comes in the giving where you wonder if you got it long enough for the recipient’s preferred knotting technique…but typically it is figured that so long as it CAN be knotted you’re doing ok.

But a sweater…the flaws are more noticeable. The length not right, the sleeves uneven or worse too long or too short. The collar not able to get around the head or gaping unattractively. There are just SO MANY ways to go wrong.

So rather than finish, with only half a sleeve of knitting to go and I can be finished with this project and move on with my life..I find reasons not to go on. Can’t find the pattern…the yarn is knotted. I don’t have the time. I’m too tired to knit.

But these excuses cover a whole lot more than hesitancy over a long-term project. It tells me that my self confidence has taken a beating somewhere down the line (again). Fear of failure…that is not even fear of failure when you stop to think about it. There is nothing wrong with rolled up cuffs or a hemline that’s a bit dodgy. It’s fear of not achieving PERFECTION isn’t it.

I think that’s been the heart of a lot of my struggles since taking this sabbatical – feeling like I don’t measure up in the eyes of the world that is still managing to get up and go to work and care for their families on a daily basis, despite the things that THEY struggle with.

I feel like I’ve given up when what I really ought to shed is the awful word “should” and the perfectionism that goes right along with it.

I am where I am right now. I don’t need to be making apologies for that. The same goes for that sweater and all those other projects I hesitate over (the book I’m writing, the lessons I craft for homeschooling) because to my way of thinking they aren’t good enough if they’re not without flaw.

Oh yes, it’s time to make a change.

So it’s time to quit making excuses. Instead I look at the unfinished sweater and pick up the needles once again.

It’s an afternoon’s worth of work. Maybe two with the sewing.

Time to get one with it. Even if it’s not quite ‘perfect.’

 

What have you been putting off…and why?