Why does anyone make stuff?
Why does anyone make art, soup, music, or a sweater?
Well, for me it’s been JOYFUL to get back in touch with my inner knitter. My momma nudged me to knit again, so I did … with gusto last autumn. I’m not fast or prolific, but I’m knitting. Once I took it up again, I couldn’t believe I’d left it alone for so many decades. It feels like I’ve run in to an old friend from long, long ago. Hello, friend.
So, now I knit. I knit to heal . . . it’s healing on so many levels. The feel of natural fiber in my hands, as I weave it together with “sticks” to make fabric, literally connects me to plants and animals: sheep get haircuts and share their wool. Plants, like flax, literally give their all to become linen—bless their purple hearts. These plant or animal fibers are spun into yarn. I need this connection to plant and animal as I knit, especially on days when I’m too unwell to explore outside very far on a given day (except for my morning sit sip n be 🙂 ). God’s world is meant to be enjoyed firsthand, but on the days or hours I can’t, I knit.
I knit to connect. The soft, percussive rhythm of clicking needles makes me feel part of a worldwide orchestra of other knitters … surely we are an ensemble of countless knitters across the globe radiating quiet, percussive music from our many homes—a flea’s breath of hope. Such a peaceful melody.
I knit to convey love. If my intention is to knit with love, every time I throw the yarn for a stitch, or weave in loose ends (not as easy to love that part, but I try), it is done with love. Whoever wears what I make, me included, hopefully feels that love. It’s like yoga for the hands … it’s nice to begin with an “intention”.
I knit for the JOY of it!
I also knit to heighten my awareness of life’s essentials. Knitting has led me to the process of “essentialism” in my wardrobe and my home (as opposed to minimalism)–I now keep or create essential things that will last. Because I invest so much thought into choosing just the right fiber and pattern, this mindset helps me cull my closet of froufrou. Choices are an essential part of knitting, and that spills over into life. In essence you are choosing to spend a LOT of time to create something from beginning to end that you will wear time and again–something that becomes part of you in a way.
The first thing I made for myself had a way of overshadowing the majority of random clothes in my closet, like a radiant guest at a pot luck dinner. I didn’t mean to see things that way. It just WAS that way. I then knew what I wanted to keep and what to let go.
My gut feeling about essentialism became cemented through an essay by Margaret Everton in Kinfolk Magazine. The copy was a good find (forty percent off spring sale at Purl SoHo, yay). Everton suggested that, “The heart of essentialism isn’t about asking how little we can live with, but determining what we simply cannot live without.” When I read this I thought, “That’s what the many facets* of knitting are to me: essential”.
In fact, just today I’ve been paring down my closet and handwork room to the essentials (healing on many levels as well). I forbade myself from making one more thing until I’m done. My reward? I’ll knit my next sweater. I’ll knit to feel joy, connection, love and awareness. The sweater will be the soon-to-be staple for my autumn’s small, essential wardrobe. Allison, you know which Quince & Co. yarn I’ll be using.
P.S. *Please enjoy this beautiful, philosophical description of fiber, spinning, and the benefits of knitting … dexterity and empathy. The video was shared with me by a lovely friend after one of the most memorable conversations of my year, which took place in—just guess—a knitting shop. Thanks, Ali Pyper.