Tuesday, February 21, 2012


For many years now, I've been working on health. This work came, as it almost always does, from being unhealthy.

Health isn't an instantaneous switch. It is a gradual understanding built over a lifetime. It is learning to adjust and heal your body as best you can when inevitable problems crop up. It's biology. Ultimately, it is taking care of yourself. Health-care providers of any type can go only so far.

And that's where the going gets rough. It often goes against the grain to take care of ourselves. Sometimes it means resting when we're not sick. It means feeling empowered to say no to sugar and cheesypoofs (when you never really wanted them anyway).

It means getting out and moving, which I still do not do.

I'm working on thinking about that.

The point is, anything you do takes a long, long time to develop. There's no endpoint. Expertise is always cultivated, and it shifts with your current knowledge and the knowledge of the people in the world around you.

In the end, however, when things work the right way, they just kind of click into place. Right now I'm eating better than I ever have--and the food is the best food I have ever eaten in my life. I look forward to meals and snacks. Brown rice with ghee and sea salt, fresh avocados, raspberries, and blueberries--what could be more delicious?

The same is true of crafting. It always starts out rocky, and you don't understand what you're doing. Gradually, you accumulate expertise: You know what the instructions in the patterns mean, and you can execute skills without a blink. "Slip, slip, knit"? Bring it on, baby.

In the meantime, however, as you learn, there is the struggle--going to the Local Yarn Shop again and again with questions, searching through technique books, surfing YouTube. It gets embarrassing sometimes.

Owning a LYS, I have watched the struggle many times--and that includes my own struggles with reading instructions. I have to say that I have always had a soft spot in my heart for the distressed knitter trying to figure out what the pattern is saying. From the very beginning, it drove me into writing patterns.

At this point, writing patterns is in my blood. I know how to explain knitting. And I love to explain it so that knitters understand. I want my patterns to make knitting feel healthy to the knitter--he or she might be learning new skills, but there is no struggle with things that need not be a struggle. No one wants to puzzle out decreases in rows; we all just want to knit.

In my patterns, I try to explain why you are doing what you are doing, so that when you get to a pattern that is a bit more ... shall we say ... pithy, you know what to do.

I want to show you why you might want to make certain choices. That way, when you get to a pattern without options, and the instructions aren't working, you know how to forge ahead on your own. And, in the end, if you don't follow my advice because you want to do something differently to make it work better for you, then fine. It's knitting.

Knitting should not be something that raises your blood pressure. You can go to work for that. If you are knitting with patterns that make knitting a pleasure, then the knitting is not frustrating and stressful, but healthy and fun, like eating a bowl of blueberries. And that's the whole point. Knitting: It's supposed to be fun.

1 comment:

  1. And your patterns do exactly that...make it fun because it is clear and thus easy. I am currently finishing up a pair of birthday socks (in my family, you get a pair of hand knit socks on your birthday) and am using my well worn copy of your toe up sock pattern, the one I got when I took your sock class years ago. The comfortable friend has guided me through, at this point, dozens of socks!