I took this self portrait at the beginning of Year 2 of the pandemic. I’m wearing a self-drafted sweater, a Woolfork Tunic (sewing pattern by Jacqueline Cieslak) and holding a palette of yarn that I anticipated offering for my very first drafted-and-graded-by-me-and-signed-off-by-a-tech-editor, sweater pattern. This picture was taken March 25, 2021. A few weeks later, I fell and broke my foot. While my foot has long since healed, that tumble was an outward sign of how the pandemic put me, quite literally, off balance.
It has been a lot of years since I experienced such a dramatic driver of change, shoved all into a fairly brief time period. Honestly, the last time I felt such a huge identity shift was when I became a mother and also experienced post-partum depression, those two things colliding to create seismic waves inside me that, eventually, led to me quitting a job I had loved, but which no longer fit my life, and starting Little Skein as a full-time but flexible business.
This time, the driver of change has been a global pandemic and then, swiftly following, outward signs of deep stress, one of which was a literal fall.
It’s now December 2022, a full 20 months since I took that picture. My foot has healed. I work every day on healing the impact of massive pandemic stress on my body and brain. The sweater pattern I had hoped to release is still waiting. My menopausal body has continued to shift and change, and the top I’m wearing in this picture no longer fits in a way that feels comfortable. Even the plant behind me has been uprooted and replaced with annuals.
We change all the time.
Sometimes the change is slow, happening like the years when my baby became a toddler and then a preschooler. Years when my mothering just slightly changed to guide him toward more independence, or like how our games shifted from trains to Legos.
Sometimes, though, the change is dramatic and hard, like 18 months of closed schools here in San Francisco, and a new and unknown virus that made it scary to go out of the house in this, the second-densest city in the US, at a time when we saw people in the densest city (New York) experience horrific death.
And now, things have changed again.
Each person’s pandemic experience has been different, and some of you reading this (especially those who are immuno-compromised) are still in the worst of isolation. For me, this time — this now — is about processing all that’s happened, coming to terms with the cognitive dissonance of the need for collective care and the rise of far-right politics, about understanding what all this has meant for me and my family. Now is about expanding my toolbox and getting to know myself more deeply and more compassionately.
Knitting is one of the tools in my toolbox, and it has been a mainstay for me since I picked up my knitting needles when my son was a toddler and I transformed from someone who knew how to knit into a Knitter-with-a-capital-K.
The first chapter of Michelle Obama’s new book, The Light We Carry, shares how she, also, became a Knitter-with-a-capital-K. She doesn’t call herself this, but if you have seen any of her book tour appearances where she shows off her knitting, it is clear that she is A Knitter. Some of the yarn she uses is clearly hand-dyed. She’s knit so, so much during the last two years, and she says that she continues to knit every day. Knowing that my toolbox of ways to care for myself looks like Michelle Obama’s toolbox makes me feel deeply seen, and like I’m doing something right. I hope it makes you feel this way, too.
I am getting to know this new me, and in all the ways that I have become me, again.
You, too, are changing, I hope that you, too, are knowing yourself more deeply, and if you’re here, I know that you, too, are a Knitter-with-a-capital-K. I see you, friend.
Something I’m making
This is the Brooklyn Raglan sweater by Tori Yu (links to Ravelry), and I have reached the spot where some of my sweater projects stall out: a few inches below the sleeve split but still many inches (and many more knitting sessions) before I can anticipate the end of the body. This is my personal spot of ennui, and I’ll often take a snack break to knit a sock or a hat before coming back to the sweater. Just a little something to feed the part of me that likes to finish things, before I sink back into the part of me that likes the process.
Later this morning, I’ll be casting on a hat out of my Targhee Sweater yarn, in the colorway Moonlight, which took forever to create and which I am over-the-moon happy with it. It’s silver and gold together, like the cold silver light of a full moon, but also with that golden halo and speckles of golden stardust. It’s one of the rare colors that looks the same across all bases. After grabbing a skein of yarn for myself, I decided to do a little yarn drop in the shop (details below).
I also made some of my Avocado Balm this week. It’s been super California-cold here in San Francisco and my maker’s hands are in need of extra nourishment. I made a few jars for me, and a dozen or so jars for you, too. (They are also in the shop.)
PS: Components for the Bookmarked kits are arriving at my studio! Yesterday, it was a 79-pound box of tiny book covers and slide boxes. The UPS man was seriously confuzzled about what was making that box so heavy!
Yarn drop: Targhee Sweater is in the shop
I’ve just loaded up the shop with 40+ skeins of my very favorite worsted-weight yarn: my Targhee Sweater, which is 220 yards (100g) of non-superwash Targhee wool, which is grown and spun domestically here in the U.S. It’s next-to-skin soft, and beautiful at gauges between 16 and 20 sts per 4 inches. I include this hat pattern (👆🏻 Blossom) with every skein, as a great way to audition the yarn for a future sweater.
Here’s just some of what’s in the shop:
A well-wish for you
We are changing all the time. It might be in small, almost imperceptible ways, or you might be in one of those huge periods of seismic life up-rooting and re-rooting. Where-ever you find yourself today, I hope that you will have a quiet moment to knit something soothing. I hope that you will be able to spend time in ways that nourish you. I hope that you will feel seen and loved, for all that you are in this most current version of yourself.
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So true! Thank you!
Lovely thoughts. Thank you for sharing. This was just what I needed this Monday morning. ❤️