Wednesday, February 10, 2016
thoughts on slow crafting
This post has been floating around in my brain for some time now, as I've found myself and my crafting priorities slowly shifting and morphing, as my focus has moved unmistakably to the process of crafting and not just the finished object.
When I first started knitting, I used the wool & needles I inherited from various family members. I bought cheap, chunky yarn from my local craft store and gravitated towards projects that I could finish quite quickly- hello cowls! Seriously, I made so many cowls when I first started out. I used to feel quite overwhelmed by the desire to make all the things, to learn all the crafts. I wanted to try my hand at everything, only problem was, of course, time.
I stayed in this place with my knitting for several years. My first sweater was knit with big needles and chunky yarn, not because that was what I particularly wanted to have in my wardrobe but because it was just the place I was at in my journey. And I just want to state, for the record that in my opinion there is nothing wrong with this. I still love to make cowls and I'm sure I'm not alone in dreaming about all the chunky wool knitting kits from We Are Knitters popping up on Instagram these days. Sometimes what we need is a good quick project.
But slowly, my priorities began to change. I started making socks- something that no matter how you approach it just takes time. I learned about swatching and blocking and surprised myself with the extreme desire to embrace them as a part of my process, regardless of the extra time involved. I stopped worrying about how many FO's I could get off my needles and just settled in to enjoy the long stretches of knitting required for fingering weight sweaters, socks, and baby blankets.
And I've found that as my focus has shifted, so have my knitting goals and the projects I pick. I'm no longer afraid to invest the time into a challenging project, and I'm not concerned by how long it takes me to finish something. After all, this is my hobby. And I don't owe anybody anything.
One side effect to this slower approach to my knitting life, has been that I've felt less pressure to try my hand at every craft. I used to be of the mindset that if I wanted new pillows for the couch, I should sew them myself. Or if I wanted some sort of wall hanging for my apartment, I should learn to weave and make it myself. As I've grown more comfortable in my craft, I find that I want to spend my time making things that I love to make. And I don't hesitate to accept the handmade gifts of others, or to buy handmade from other makers, crafters and artists. Of course, there is still the occasional impulse to start a weaving, or pick up a sewing project or two, but the pressure is gone. I feel much more free to spend my precious crafting time doing what I love, not what is trendy or what I think I should be doing.
I've found this mindset slowly seeping into other aspects of my life as well. I've reduced the amount of posts I share here on the blog, and though I love sharing monthly quotes or the occasional recipe, I'm finding that the posts that really resonate with me, the ones I gravitate towards writing more and more, are the ones that take a little more time and words to put together. It's interesting to me that I feel like this, in a time when many people seem to be giving up blogging and turning to outlets like Instagram or Pinterest that are an even quicker way of sharing scrollable information. I don't know, I guess I just hope that there is still space somewhere for small humble blogs filled with the small humble words of genuine individuals sharing their lives and thoughts and creative processes.
Anyways, this is basically a long ramble. If you have any thoughts at all on this topic I'd love to hear them!