Time now is measured in before and after... before the first case of coronavirus was announced in the United States. Before higher education went remote and I started working from home. Before the governor's Executive Order to close businesses and parks, to stop medical procedures, and stay home. Before I knew how to sew a surgical mask. Before toilet paper, hand sanitizer, and bias tape were all precious commodities.
In February, before everything changed, I had started to work on a blog to chronicle a host of new knitting projects I'd started in the new year... but after the pandemic hit - I felt completely dissociated from the beforetimes projects. They didn't comfort me. I made mistakes. I felt frustrated. I second guessed my color and pattern choices. I lost my joy.
A natural break came, as I started to learn about making masks. I thought I should try to learn so I could make some for my family and possibly for local healthcare workers. It was hard - there was a lot of information out there and I got overwhelmed at first. Then I found what seemed to work and offered to make them for anyone on my Instagram who needed them. As I mailed them around the country, I got feedback that they were comfortable and the prints were appreciated. I got photos of friends, family, co-workers, and the co-workers of friends/family wearing the masks. I found a purpose for making that helped me feel less dissociated from craft... yet, mask making is draining too. It's worrisome - will these masks I am sending really protect the people I care about? What does the future hold?
I try to fight off the fear and anxiety when I am making them. I believe that the state of mind you are in when you create affects the creative process as well as the end result. Love in = love out... a better, more beautiful, more comforting, more effective thing being made. So it takes a lot of energy to hold a clear heart during the process.
Afterwards, when the sewing room is a mess, but the masks are sent.. I needed to find a comfort to myself... so I packed up all the beforetimes projects and picked what was calling to me... very simple knits in beautiful yarn that could be picked up for a row here and there, while watching TV or holding a conversation with my husband, without forgetting the pattern or the stitch count... nothing to write down or track... just the soothing rhythm of needles and yarn passing through my hands.
All this time, I wanted to write because we all have so much on our minds during the pandemic... but the half-done current knitting project post was haunting me. I gave myself permission to let those projects go for now and I am letting myself let the blog post go too...
Actually, I'm publishing it as it was with some extra notes added in italics & adding what I'm actually knitting now too.
Currently on the needles:
1.) a self-designed oversized cardigan with Date Night fingerling yarn from Onyx Fiber Arts... basically a giant rectangle of ribbing at the moment.
2.) A shawl inspired by the Adventurous Wrap with some lovely 100% merino single ply yarns from Star Seed Yarn... Marta is so thoughtful with her packages and always sends lovely treats like stitch markers and mini skeins... I realized I'd collected 4 of her mini-skeins, in addition to the full skein & mini combo I purchased in March... and got inspired to start a new project.
These colors and the luxurious squish of the single ply have been making my heart so happy.
Seriously... this time is bonkers. (I am so sick of work emails, news media, and commercials saying it's "unprecedented", so I'm calling it as it feels - totally crazy, overwhelming, insular, uncertain, anxiety-producing, and weird...)
Some people may find comfort during this time in finishing old WIPs or checking off every square of their Make Nine grid... for me, there has never been a better time to press pause and just make what my heart wants to make in the moment.
1. Nightshift Shawl with thrifted Alchemy Yarns and gifted Spincycle Yarns
(packed up on the needles for later - still want to finish this one)
2. ADVENTurous Wrap from A Knitter's Homestead 2019 Advent Calendar
(packed up, off the needles - may frog and use the yarn in a different project)
3. Drifter Shawl with Oink variagated MCN and Onyx Fiber Arts Leonore orange wool
(packed up, off the needles - may frog and use the yarn in a different project & make this pattern in a black and cream, instead)
4. Grotine Shawl with Onyx Fiber Arts MCN Sprinkle City
(frogged - I messed up the pattern something terrible and just decided to frog and try again later. I really like the pattern & the yarn, but my brain can't handle it right now.)
5. Kia Socks (free & awesome pattern!)
(just waiting just for kitchner stitching the toes together - but something is holding me back from this... like I'm saving them for when I need a quick win of a finished object. also it's too warm for wool socks now, anyway.)
A bit about me:
My grandmothers grew up in the Great Depression and their stories, skills, and resourcefulness made a beautiful mark on my heart. I am always making something, usually with fiber or textiles. I love scraps and reusing things and rescuing overlooked treasures. I think about a lot of things while I am making. Here is a record and, hopefully, a connection to the thread of my story.