Process and Projects

Reflecting on Quiet

I’m 32 years old, so maybe it’s strange that until I had my wisdom teeth removed last year I never spent any time thinking about silence. It was only the haze of a days’ long ache in my jaw and ears while I dragged myself to and from work on screeching, shrieking subway trains that made me realize: right now there is nowhere I can go to be in silence. Or even near-silence. I live in Manhattan: my apartment walls are thin, people are always in the streets playing music, public spaces are crowded, public transportation is crowded and noisy, coffee shops are less of a refuge than a hunger-games-style fight to get your caffeine and carbs. It’s loud here.

Add to this the fact that I gain energy from being around other people. I think it’s an extrovert thing. I never feel like I need the “alone time” or “recharging time” I hear some of my friends mention. I feel like I’m my brightest, smartest, most creative, sparkliest self when I’m around other people. I live alone, so I tend to fill the silences with podcasts, audio books, opera recordings - anything that brings the energy of other people into my space. This Christmas, I “stole” a water-resistant bluetooth speaker during my family’s “sneaky Santa” gift exchange: I needed it to solve the problem of not being able to hear podcasts over the sound of a shower or hairdryer.

I always hear people talk about the value of quiet self-reflection, so this year I made it one of my new years resolutions to carve out more quiet time, even if I can’t achieve actual silence anywhere in Manhattan. Time away from podcasts and audio books and opera recordings. Like any good knitter, I’m trying to use knitting as a bridge to a calmer, quieter place for my own thoughts. So far it’s a struggle! I just finished working on the second prototype for a new mittens design and was able to get into a nice rhythm while working on them. I’m finding it’s easier to get into that place when working on the short rounds of a small project, rather than the long rows of a shawl or sweater.

I’ll be interested to see where this goes and whether I learn anything new about myself.

Happy knitting, knitters.

Winter Knitting in the Heat

Whew! - these past two weeks certainly have been scorching hot in the northeast! A cold snap the final week of August faked me out and the subsequent heat wave caught me hauling out blankets and packing away my summer clothes. So here I sit with the air conditioner blasting, knitting snowflakes into a sweater that - true to its name - is making me sweat just pooled up in my lap. 

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Endless Sweater, Part 2

It probably makes me an unusual knitter that I never have WIPs sitting around that I intend to finish. My abandoned projects are either irretrievably flawed, never to be resumed, or they nag at me so aggressively once set down that I feel compelled to pick them back up. 

When I wrote my first post about the endless sweater I've been designing (or attempting to design), I planned to hibernate it for a while and come back with fresh eyes in a couple of months. That probably would actually have happened, had I not posted my progress on one of Yarnbox's Ravelry boards and asked for input on how I should remake the sleeves. Suggestions abounded (such a friendly group!) and one in particular got into my head. Once the idea was planted it wouldn't leave me alone.

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And Sometimes, Friends, You're Just Stuck

And Sometimes, Friends, You're Just Stuck

A few months ago, I started working on a pullover with no particular design in mind. I had four skeins of Ancient Arts 3-ply fingering/sock in Irish Linen and it was lovely and soft and all I could think of was how nice it would be to snuggle into a big cozy pullover this winter. I cast on in a simple stitch and whipped up an oversized front and back that are every bit as soft and warm as could be desired. And then the sleeves happened.

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