January 13, 2012

The way a knitter does it

Yesterday slipped by me, almost entirely. I had coffee, I worked in the morning, I went to yoga, but with those notable exceptions, I slacked off with remarkable aplomb. (As a matter of fact, the only reason I went to yoga at the end of the day was so that I didn't have to deal with the total guilt of my slothful afternoon.) I've been accused by many people over the years, of not really being very good at relaxing.  When we were first together, Joe used to tell me to relax.  We'd sit down in the evening, and he'd stretch out with a movie or a book and just lie there.  Now, that might sound relaxing, but just the thought of it gave me the screaming heebie-jeebies.  I'd pull out my knitting, or my spinning wheel - and put that together with the movie or the book, and Joe would look at me with my work and say "Baby, why can't you just relax?" and I'd say I was, and he maintained that I had no idea what relaxing was, and that maybe I just didn't know how to do it. 

This difference means that while I relaxed yesterday afternoon, I had my wheel, I had my knitting, and during what I think of as an afternoon off, an afternoon of complete sloth, I left a broad swath of fibre in my wake.  

Those beautiful singles from the other day got plied, and I'm thrilled and delighted with how it turned out. The singles matched up almost perfectly.

On the way into and out of the main stretches of colour, there's a little beautiful mingling, and I'm quite taken with the whole thing. The roving was 60% merino, 20% yak, and 20% silk, and each of those lends a different quality to the skein.   The silk gives it a subtle shine and beautiful drape, the yak contributes a little halo and wonderful softness, and the merino brings its characteristic smooshy bounce.  I believed I was spinning this as a gift, but last night I thought of knitting it lengthwise into a scarf, making the most of those stripes. (I've not yet decided to keep it.  I'm toying with giving it away but insisting it be knit into a lengthwise scarf, but I'm wondering if that might not be a tiny bit pushy.)

When that was plied and washed and drying, I did my mandatory daily repeat on the baby blanket (details forthcoming) and then had another mitten spasm. 

I'm still a little obsessed with thinking up ways to knit these, they're so fast and so fun and...

and now that our snow has finally arrived - I see no reason to really stop.  My mitten basket will be properly full when I'm done.  Warm hands for everyone. (Yes, by the way, there will be a pattern, and soon, and thank you for asking for it.)

I've almost finished a sock, and I nailed a few rows on the vest and... I think I'm starting to understand why what I think of as a relaxing afternoon doing nothing might be confusing to some. While it has taken me a long time to puzzle it out,  I think now that for a lot of people "relax" means "do nothing" and for me, it means "do what you like." The end result is that people are forever telling me to relax, and I'm forever saying that I already am, and then they're forever sighing and shaking their heads a little sadly, because I just "don't know how to relax" and am clearly destined to a lifetime of relentless, exhausting activity.

I've been reflecting a lot on this, and I believe now that this is another knitter/maker thing, that people who are makers  have an active relaxation that doesn't look relaxing to non-knitters - but I suppose it could really be that I only think I'm relaxed but I'm not, so I'm asking around.  Have you been told that you don't know how to relax?  Has someone told you that you should relax, when you already are relaxing? Do the non-knitter/makers in your life think that relaxing means doing nothing?  Have you heard - while you were already relaxing, that you should work on learning how to do it better?  Do you think you really don't know how - or do you think they just don't recognize it the way you do it, because it has no resonance for them? 

I'll just relax here while you think about it.  I'm doing another mitten.

Posted by Stephanie at January 13, 2012 1:34 PM