It’s because of knitting. Before I made clothes, I never thought about them. In high school I just wore whatever. Maybe a a 60’s drop waist dress I’d find at Goodwill, or a kilt I’d get at the GI surplus, but usually baggy jeans and a t-shirt. There was no planning, no rationale. That’s the way I am and I like it.
Worrying over outfits seemed not only boring, but even a little wrong to me. I didn’t want to be part of my culture’s obsession with appearance. I was raised to think our beauty comes from the God who shaped us, just because He wanted to, not all the things we add to it. Focusing on the way I dressed was counter-intuitive. But here I am, writing post after post about sweaters, fit, pairings, etc. The high school girl inside of me has had her eyes rolled all the way back in her head for a couple of years now.
Of course I don’t have to explain myself to you. You are, most likely, just as obsessed with hand crafting things. Even if you’re not, I realize I owe no explanation for the thoughts I choose to share here. Still, there’s that girl in my head, tapping a Dr. Marten- ish boot in boredom, critiquing the length and content of such a post. She’s got a running commentary going through every FO shot, though she knows my obsession with making clothes isn’t so much about the clothing as it is the wanting to see how it’s done. I want to figure it out, see if I can do it, get the satisfaction of working with my hands, and then wear it like a badge. I think that’s why trying crochet was so satisfying. It was a very different process that satisfied my curiosity. She also knows that I crave the rhythmic clicking of needles, the steady work with my hands, and the conversation that grows around a group of women (and men) making stuff at the same time.
So there are a few actual human needs involved here: the need to learn, the need to make, and the need for community. I guess I also need to hold onto the feeling of the process by wearing the product. I get so much satisfaction out of putting on something I made. Whereas I once just wore tank tops and cut-offs all summer, I now have beautiful reminders of the creative process to wear over my wife-beaters. Classy, right?
Perhaps all this focus on creativity and using my hands seems wasted on something as trivial as a garment. Couldn’t that energy be channelled into something a bit more meaningful? (This is how that hard voice in my head sounds.) Maybe. But, Dude, I made children. I made family work, even when it was hard. I am raising them with my eyes completely open to who they are and who I am and was. I see the good and the weak. I hurt along with people, and I smile with people. I struggle and forgive. I breathe deep and ignore. I create good moments for people nearing the end of their lives on a regular basis. I choose sacrifice, like so many other people I craft along with, daily. I consider and consider and consider the heck out of life, death, family, Christ, and my place in all of it. I know there are lots of other people doing equally difficult things. Things that are independent of career, education, family status, and age. All of us desire to work hard, to be good at what we do, and live for something bigger than ourselves. And a few of us escape for a few minutes, or hours, a day into the narrowly focused world of garment crafting.
So, let me make my top, tank, or tee in the evening while the tv blares, okay?
That was all for my own benefit. I know you weren’t judging.
I’m making progress on my Hawt Sands, by Teresa Gregorio, for the TTTKAL each evening. It’s in hemp, which is freaking me out. It seemed so small, that I’ve ripped back and restarted, knitting a 33″ and expecting to get an inch worth of stretch when blocking. If it turns out larger than that, I’m okay with it. It is a cover-up kind of thing.
The intarsia- fair isle colorwork I’m doing isn’t stretching as much as the rest of the top when I yank on it. I’m hoping it won’t be tight after blocking. This would never be a problem for me in wool. I forced myself to knit it very loosely to avoid this, but I’m afraid it will be one of those after-blocking suspense moments. I’m finding Hempathy a worthy experiment, only it falls out of the ball and into a puddle of knots soooo easy. I don’t feel like I can take it off of my couch, so it’s a knit at night project only.
For my grandparents’ house and doctors’ offices, etc. I have the Fire Opal Tee. It’s in the robotic, memorization stage of knitting. But, I’m pleased to say, I’m about to shape the neck and be done.
There are so many great projects on the TTTKAL Pinterest board. This could keep me busy for years. That’s right, years, Girl-in-my-head!