As a child, a trip to the yarn store was the best outing ever. Mind you, I am nearly 50, and it still is! Back then, I was allowed to be buy enough yarn for only one project. It didn’t matter how long the project took; every stitch was worked in enjoyment and appreciation of the fibre. I often stopped knitting or crocheting, just to admire what was happening. I can still hear my mother’s voice: “Stop looking at it and stop counting the rows! You are never going to get done!”
Today, I have a stash. A huge stash. I don’t visit the yarn store often, but when I do, I normally spend way more than I should. In my stash are very special yarns, many of them gifts. All natural fibre. Some utterly exquisite and damn expensive. So much so that I haven’t had the courage to use it. I have been looking at them, patting them, fondling them, talking to them, but I haven’t yet used any of my really special yarns.
At the beginning of 2019, I decided that this year, was my stash year. I don’t want to buy any of the yarns available locally, until I have used my stash. Yeah laugh at me. I know this is crazy. We have a trip to New Zealand this year, and I am most definitely going to buy yarn there. But not in South Africa. Not this year. I hope I can make it.
I started the stash busting with two ombre stacks. And then I realised the problem is bigger than I thought. There wasn’t anything extremely special about these yarns, they were just in my stash. But it was hard to take them out and use them! I am a hoarder! A yarn hoarder! I actually like having crates full of yarn, that I take out ever so often, just to arrange them differently and pack them away again. This is a problem! A problem I have to overcome. I only have so much space! The two shawls I made from these gave me that amazing sense of achievement again. I am sure you know what I am referring to. It is that warm and fuzzy feeling of pride when you are done knitting or crocheting, all the ends have been woven away, and you look at your own creativity in absolute wonder. Yes. That feeling.
Colourspun Ombre Stack: 6x50g cotton, dyed in an ombre by Dana Biddle.
The pattern is available HERE.
This photo was taken right after I was finished. It wasn’t washed and it wasn’t blocked. I was too excited!
The second shawl was started in the same way, but continued in granny stripes with only the last four rows being worked solid to form a border.
Yesterday I took out the first of my special yarns. Three 50g hanks of Manos del Uruguay Silk Blend in a colour-way called Woodlands. It is a lofty, single spun, double knit yarn, of 70% Merino and 30% Silk. The colours are so vibrant, I can’t stop looking at it.
Early morning cuddles…
After hours on Pinterest and Ravelry, I finally decided to just wing it. I want a cowl and a hat. I could not find any pattern specific to this yarn, so I am just enjoying myself.
With a variegated yarn this vibrant, any fancy stitch pattern will disappear. After some playing and frogging yesterday, I decided to do double moss stitch. Simple but beautiful!
Early this morning, I was knitting in bed, with Remus as company. He is such a good partner. He never attempts to steal my yarn. Unfortunately, he is a very bad partner when I try to spin yarn; he constantly bites at the wheel to stop it from moving.
So while I were knitting mindlessly this morning, I caught myself thinking about the next project already. Which yarn will I use next? What will I make next? At that moment, I realised my train of thought is wrong, very wrong. That feeling of achievement when a project is done, can become very addictive. Although it seems innocent at first, I will steal my joy. The joy of creating. The joy of admiring. The joy of mindfulness.
It isn’t, and never should be, about the finish line. It always was, still is, and always should be, about the joy of the journey. It is therapy, not a race. Not a race against time nor a race against friends or myself. My creativity always sustained me when times were tough. I call my crafting “a broom for my brain”. While I am crafting, I think. I figure out what is bothering me and why. I think of solutions to problems. Sometimes my thoughts wonder to dear people far away and my thoughts turn to prayers.
Just like me, you shouldn’t fall into the trap of racing towards the finish line. Creativity takes time and it certainly deserves time. If we race, we won’t use the interesting stitch patterns and advanced techniques. We will go for the fastest and easiest instead. And I guarantee you, when you are done with something made like that, you will enjoy the feeling of achievement for a little while, and then it will be replaced with slight resentment, if not full resentment. Why do you think many crafters make things, but they never wear them? They don’t feel good about the item, because deep down, they know, that item didn’t get the best effort. The items ends up in a drawer somewhere and eventually finds its way to a church or a thrift shop. How sad.
I am slowing down. No more chasing towards the finish line. No more working like a maniac towards a deadline either. I want to enjoy my craft again. I want to sit in childish wonder, staring at something not yet finished. I want to get lost in a wonder world of thoughts while my fingers move.
Mindful creations. That is what I will make in 2019.