Knitting that sustains; community that nourishes
Finding your center again when life gets rough and tumble
A few weeks ago, I had a rough-and-tumble experience that’s left me searching for words. The specifics of the experience no longer matter quite as much as how the experience continues to create a kind of logjam in my creativity and confidence.
As humans, we’re hard-wired for a negativity bias: we use negative information far more often and more deeply than we use positive feedback to make sense of the world. Criticism can live in our heads with a kind of potency and aliveness that a dozen compliments don’t. Finding my way back to center has taken a while. For those of you who’ve wondered where my Sunday letters have been for the last few weeks, this is where I’ve been. Finding my way back to center.
The experience that tumbled me was an anonymous critique on the Internet of, well, me. The adjectives used to describe me really stung. Finding my way back to center and navigating all the particular reasons why these critiques hit particular sore spots, well, it’s been slow work and not always steady.
This makes me think, of course, about knitting and life writ large. Sometimes, the critiques we imagine other people have (or that we know actual people have) are stinging and painful. Sometimes, the knitting in my hands feels all wrong, too. It’s too complicated and I can’t do it. My gauge looks sloppy and uneven. The design I’m trying to create or the color I’m trying to dye isn’t working—not because it’s simply not working, but because I have nothing to offer. That small but powerfully negative voice inside says: I’m not creative and who would want what I have to offer, anyway?
Finding ways to also hear a counter-balance to the negative, to also hard-wire the positive as deep and true … this is the slow, everpresent work of being human.
Which brings me back to my knitting. It’s the slow stitching of one loop after another that helps me see I’m creating a fabric—in my knitting and also in my life—that is more than warbly stitches.
All of our creative work—yours and mine—brings something beautiful into the world. None of us needs to offer something unique, or ground-breaking, or perfect. We just need to be us, making things with our hands, and making room to radically include everyone.
Over and over, I come back to softness as the way I want to move through this world. The North Star that guides me, from my politics to my creativity to the community that has blossomed around my work, is that I want everyone to be okay.
Today, my well-wish for you is that I hope you feel celebrated and loved. That you don’t need to say things perfectly, or do anything at all with perfection. That you can be your messy, human, imperfect, and gloriously beautiful self and know that you are loved.
In the shop: Bookmarked kits & extras
I have finished making and shipping all of the wonderful Bookmarked kits that were pre-ordered in November, and I have added to the shop a very few simple kits, extra supplies, some delightful skeins of antiquarian book-inspired colorways.
If you’re new here, I’m talking about kits for Hunter Hammersen’s utterly delightful Bookmarked pattern: a clever little knitted book with secret compartments for all the secret, Harriet-the-Spy type energy we want to indulge in.
There’s still time to join my guided knitalong that kicks off on Friday, and you can buy an individual ticket in the shop, pick up some of the tricker-to-find supplies, or buy one of the very few extra kits I made (kits include a ticket to the guided knitalong).
This project has been an absolute highlight for me over the last few months, from dyeing the yarn to knitting ahead on my own little books so that I have tips and tricks to share with you. (Including, but not limited to, my own “outtakes” of mistakes I recommend that you do not make!)
Lots of yarn, including this colorway, Cockled, are in the shop, too.
What I’m making
We are on the cusp of spring here in San Francisco, and I’ve had a change of knitting desire along with my rough-and-tumble experience of a few weeks ago. I was deeply immersed in an autumnal-colored cardigan that was giving me all the cozy indoor vibes when I hit a tricky part of the knitting. The plum trees outside began to bud and all of a sudden I only wanted spring colors.
I put my cardigan on hold and cast on for a new pullover in my favorite Targhee Sweater yarn, and I started playing with a fun striping sequence. This new sweater is giving me happy spring and blossoming feelings, and I’m in the middle of this beautiful project, with all the tricky parts behind me, and just lots and lots of soothing knitting ahead. It’s kind of the best place to be.
This past week on Instagram, I began sharing results from my Big Survey of Knitters. Here are links to Wednesday’s and Friday’s posts:
I’ll be sharing more highlights on the ‘gram this week, too.
Wishing you smooth knitting, heartfelt connections, and the knowledge that you are loved,
I read a comment a while back that I repeat quite often and hope it will help you. "Other people's opinions of me are none of my business". Take really good care,peace and all good things !
Sometimes it's more about the other person making the statements than it is about you. More often than not, that's the case. What is going on with her/him in her/his life and about how they feel about themselves?