So-called “selfish” knitting

DISCLAIMER: I disagree that knitting for yourself is, in any way, selfish.

NaNoWriMo ends in 10 days, which has got Matt and I both a little frantic. Though that’s probably also due to lack of a good night’s sleep in over a month.

Even so, I am using precious writing energy juices to challenge this idea of “selfish knitting” that seems to be cropping up everywhere. I’m not sure how it started, but I’ve heard about it both on The Knitmore Girls and Knit Knit Cafe. From what I remember, it sounds like the original idea was proposed as a “good” thing. As in, we should take the time to do some “selfish knitting” during the crazy holiday season. Both the Knitmores and Abby of KKC found this term to be offensive, and so do I.

Last night I finally finished my mom’s Christmas present, which was the last of the items I’m making for the holidays. Once they’ve opened them, I promise to post photos, but for now it must remain a surprise for my parents and sisters. It was a relief to finish it, as it had taken me longer than expected, and I felt an overwhelming urge to immediately cast on something for myself.

Listening to Abby get so worked up today made me feel inclined to share my thoughts on the matter. It takes time and money to finish a knitted item. I love making gifts for other people, but it can also get exhausting, often because I’m the kind of person to put a lot of pressure on myself. Many experienced knitters stop knitting for others, knowing that more often than not gifts that have taken hours to make will not be properly appreciated or cared for.

I think that’s part of why I’m enjoying my Rock Coast cardigan so much. I’ve run out of yarn at the moment, so I need to wait until the weekend to stock up and get back to it, but I’ve finished the body and one sleeve.

Rocky Coast Cardigan in progress

Rocky Coast Cardigan in progress

Last night I did a little writing, and then wound up a skein of Malabrigo sock in the Solis colorway, to be combined with my already wound Ivy ball to create a Daybreak shawl for myself.

For my Daybreak

For my Daybreak

What I’ve realized in the process of making so many items for others lately (with many projects for friends and one for my sister still on order), is that I don’t mind as long as I simultaneously have a project on the needles for myself that I really enjoy.

I read this article today (23 things women should stop doing), and I think this all ties into the same thing. Why is it that when women do something for themselves, it’s considered selfish?

It’s not even a men vs. women thing, it’s a society vs. women thing. We perpetuate this idea that women should be selfless all of the time, conditioning which starts practically from birth. “Boys will be boys” aka “boys can do whatever they like all of the time with no regard for consequences” is a terrible clichΓ©.

I say do things for yourself, whether it’s crafting, taking time to spend on your own, or just a bit of R&R, YOU ARE NOT SELFISH, you’re human and it’s healthy.

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Attack of the yarn monster

Lately I’ve been listening to The Knitmore Girls podcast. They are a mother-daughter team who post a new episode every week. There are around 250 episodes to date, so it’s been fun slowly catching up on years of knitting stories with them. I’m still listening to podcasts to and from work, on my lunch break, and sometimes while I knit in the evenings. Gigi and Jasmin break their episodes into familiar segments, and my favorite is When knitting attacks!

It’s great to hear about the struggles of other knitters. I find I learn a lot from segments like these in this and in other podcasts. It’s nice to know even the best knitters run into trouble just like the rest of us. Plus there’s the small mercy that this horror isn’t currently befalling you.

I was victim of a knit attack last night, but first I’ll set the scene for you. Yesterday afternoon my four lovely skeins of Malabrigo sock finally came in the mail at the office and I was THRILLED. (I say “finally,” when in reality it only took a week.) Purlwise even included a gorgeous little sample of Cascade silk in a lovely orange-peachy color. I have to say I was tickled.

When I got home I finished the hexipuff I’d been working on during the bus ride. Matt and I heated up leftovers from the night before and then I pulled out my beautiful skeins to admire and show him. We agreed on a favorite, and I resolved to wind up each ball before finishing Harold.

Harold just needs a face!

Harold just needs a face!

Little did I know I wouldn’t get past the first skein. I carefully removed the string and tag holding it together and located the end. My plan was to untwist the skein and hang it from my arm as I quickly balled it up.

Well that escalated quickly

Well that escalated quickly

I swear, within SECONDS, it was a crazy tangled mess. Plenty of it was hanging dutifully from my arm, but mostly it just went EVERYWHERE. I couldn’t believe it. Yet I somehow remained calm, mesmerized by my attraction to this gorgeous yarn.

Yards and yards to go

Yards and yards to go

This lovely skein of thin strong sock weight yarn is a whopping 440 yards long. Needless to say I was winding all night. About an hour in, Super-Size Me came on. I’d never seen it, so it was a good distraction as I weaved my growing yarn ball through the tangles.

Yarn monster! Run for your lives!

Yarn monster! Run for your lives!

The yarn monster remained sizable as I made slow and steady progress. The movie finished, and by the time I went to bed, Matt and I estimated that I’d spent about three and a half hours on it so far. I say “so far” because sadly, it’s not over. At one point I did come across the other end and got started on a ball from it.

One night's progress

One night’s progress

The night time lighting in our living room isn’t great, but when it’s finally all balled up I’ll try to get a good shot of the color. It’s just beautiful. Amazingly I only got frustrated when it was time to admit defeat and go to bed. I knew I wouldn’t want to wake up to this thing this morning.

Alas, the yarn monster is still waiting patiently for me in my office (the second bedroom). Matt just kept shaking his head at me in sympathy last night. Poor guy’s going to have to watch me suffer for a few more hours I’d imagine.

With the three remaining skeins, I OF COURSE am going to consult the gurus at my local yarn store and hope they have advice. I’m really hoping they’ll just wind it for me, so cross your fingers!

Poor Harold. Guy just wants a face and some ends woven in.

My strange addiction: Knitting podcasts

Before I dive into the meat of this post, I just wanted to announce that I did eventually get around to knitting the left fingerless mitten in the set I posted about last week. The second one looks a bit better than the first, but they are both so lovely and warm and I love the deep brown color. I’m excited to experiment with other designs in the future, but for now it’s on to other projects!

Brownie fingerless mittens

Brownie fingerless mittens

Over the past week or so, I have developed a strange new addiction: podcasts about knitting. I’m currently reading a book by craft business guru, Kari Chapin, which was recently gifted to me by my lovely and supportive friend Maria. She saw it while out and about and immediately thought of me. In the book (which I will review properly when I’m finished reading it) Kari suggests that podcasts are a great way to reach other crafters and promote your blog or business.

For those of you who haven’t listened to podcasts before, I HIGHLY recommend them. I first looked up a Kari-recommended podcast by Sister Diane of Craftypod. After listening to a few great episodes, I decided to search for knitting-specific podcasts. My favorite at the moment is by Alana of Never Not Knitting.

I cannot stop listening to podcasts. I’m listening on the bus, before I go to sleep, and even on my lunch break at work. Best of all, I’m listening while crafting. It puts me in such an inspired mindset, not to mention gives me dozens of new project ideas.

One thing Alana is working on has lit a fire under me, and I have since taken on my most exciting project yet: The beekeeper’s quilt. A monster project, which will easily take me a year to complete. I bought the pattern for about $5.50 on Ravelry from Tiny Owl Knits. Anyone wanting to take this on should proceed with caution, because as Alana warns: You WILL get addicted.

Pre-stuffed hexipuff

Pre-stuffed hexipuff

The quilt is made up of hundreds of little “hexipuffs” each knit in the round then stuffed. I have made seven squishy little guys so far. The first one I made had to be taken out and restarted three times. There were a few new skills to learn in the process, and I wasn’t used to working with needles this small. But I’m happy to report that I’m getting faster now, and I’m loving my cute little puffs.

Hexipuff awesome blossom

Hexipuff awesome blossom

I’ll keep you abreast of my progress on this massive undertaking. In the meantime I’m still sorting out which products to include on my Etsy shop, as well as figuring out which yarn to knit my headbands with since the yarn I’ve been loving is (to my devastation) not consistently stocked at my local craft store.