Why I Started Knitting

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Marian Progress by Jeni Baker
Marian Progress, a photo by Jeni Baker on Flickr.
On Sunday we drove back to Wisconsin after a week away visiting family.  I was able to spend over a week in Ohio, relaxing, thrifting, and crafting.  Work can't always be put on hold, so we stitched up a quilt top in between all the fun.  There was lots of good eating, and we managed to get through most of the Harry Potter movies.  But, there will be other posts about all the things we were up to.  This post is about knitting.

(Marian progress, on Ravelry here)

Studio Knit in Medina, OH by Jeni Baker
Studio Knit in Medina, OH, a photo by Jeni Baker on Flickr.
While I was home, we decided to stop into a little yarn store in Medina called Studio Knit.  It was just something to do more than anything else.  We were about to leave empty handed when we spotted some really beautiful yarn, Malabrigo Rasta in Azul Profundo.  My Mom and I each got a skein and a free pattern to go with it, the Red Rasta Cowl. We went home and knit up our cowls in less than 24 hours.  This spurred a week long knitting frenzy.  We went out for more yarn and started new projects.

Finished Twisted Cowl by Jeni Baker
Finished Twisted Cowl, a photo by Jeni Baker on Flickr.
I've never been much of a knitter, and I've tried to get into it more than once.  My honey cowl has been half-finished for well over a year and a half.  I was never able to gain momentum.  Part of the reason is the projects I chose, but part of the reason is timing.  Now, more than ever, I need knitting.  I need an outlet, a way to relax.  For a long time, that outlet was sewing.  I'd unwind by stitching up bags, quilts, and garments, just because.

(Finished Twisted Cowl, on Ravelry here)

Finished Rasta Cowl by Jeni Baker
Finished Rasta Cowl, a photo by Jeni Baker on Flickr.
But now, it feels different.  Now, sewing is much more a part of my livelihood than it ever was.  Constantly having sewing projects and deadlines for work, makes it hard to feel like doing a lot of sewing for fun.  I'm still making things for myself and sewing things just because, but for now, it's not the same.  When I sit down to sew something, all I can think about are all the things I should be sewing.  Thinking about how I can work a project into a pattern or a blog post.

(Finished Red Rasta Cowl, on Ravelry here

Finished Hannah Hat by Jeni Baker
Finished Hannah Hat, a photo by Jeni Baker on Flickr.
I've been struggling to find something to fill that void, because I still love to craft, especially to relax.  I'm not much for embroidery, and even that can be worked into my sewing.  This is where knitting comes into play.  I've been knitting again for a week now, and I've started and finished three projects and cast on another last night.  It's the perfect relaxing craft because it has nothing to do with fabric or sewing and I can do it while traveling and in front of the tv.

(Finished Hannah Hat, on Ravelry here

Hannah Hat in Progress by Jeni Baker
Hannah Hat in Progress, a photo by Jeni Baker on Flickr.
I've been given a lot of amazing opportunities and I'm thankful for that, but it's also been hard.  Any change, good or bad, takes adjusting to. That's why now more than ever I need a good way to relax.  Don't get me wrong, I still love sewing.  There's still nothing better than pulling a finished quilt out of the dryer. 

I hope you won't mind the occasional knitting talk around here. I'll be back to chat more about a few of my finished projects soon.  I'm hoping to keep right on going, getting closer and closer to my dream knit, a pair of Fiddlehead Mittens.

Thanks for listening, as always!

42 comments :

  1. Doing what you love as all or part of your livelihood can be a mixed blessing. I'm glad you have found something creative and relaxing that doesn't bring guilt pangs.

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  2. I know EXACTLY how you feel! I love to sew but now that I derive a portion of my income from sewing and quilting, it just isn't as much fun as it used to be. I crochet for fun and because it just seems so much easier to complete a project.

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  3. I love a bit of knitting talk! I seem to always have lots of different projects on the go, knitting, crochet, sewing, embroidery... I like the variety :) x

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  4. You go girl! I have many other projects going while I sew too! Knitting (though I only know how to purl and knit so I only make scarves) cross stitch, painting and the list goes on. It's nice to have something you can do to relax. Can't wait to see more of your knit projects.

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  5. I'm happy hear about your knitting talk! I'm always so envious of knitters and crocheter's, I just can't seem to master the skill. Glad you've found another creative outlet Jeni :) xo

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  6. I love that you are knitting now! I have been knitting since I was seven and I actually started sewing when I wanted something different then knitting! Wait until you try socks, they are beyond addictive! Can't wait to read more about how you are liking it =) It is always fun to see budding beginners fall more in love with it, I have been trying to get my friends to knit for years! I have no doubt your favorite part will be stashing, there are so many different kinds of yarns out there =) good luck with it!

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  7. I feel the same way. we all need an outlet that's just relaxing and soothing. for me, i think it's handspinning. i can zone out and get into a groove in a way that i can't with other crafts.

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  8. I too have taken up knitting. And for the very same reason. I am very much a beginner, but I love the peaceful feeling it gives me when I can sit and just knit. My quilting has been on hiatus since my wrist surgery, but the knitting is working well. Just need to learn how to make new stitches and read patterns. I'd love to hear more about your knitting adventure :-)

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  9. The need to do something different from the things we do every day is so important. Knitting is that calming thing for me also. More than one creative outlet is a blessing in the long run. A bit of knitting talk won't be minded at all. :) Love the yarn you chose for your quick projects. :)

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  10. Ditto, ditto! I obviously don't have as many sewing-related deadlines, but I take quilting quite seriously right now. I took up knitting about a year ago and I sew during the day, knit in the evenings. I'm glad you've found a way to make and relax at the same time. Please keep sharing your knits! I am always looking for a fun new project, and you have amazing taste in yarn. :)

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  11. Knitting and crocheting are more social for me since I do them in the family room while watching TV with hubby and out with friends. Being in the sewing room is much more solitary. Love your fall hued cowl and the beautiful stitch pattern in it!

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  12. Knitting is fantastic! Especially smaller project as cowls or hat or mittens are so quickly put together - very motivating :-)The color of your twisted cowl is lovely!

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  13. My Gram was the knitter of our family... with my last child I was on bed rest forever! and going stir-crazy.. my Gram came over with yarn, a self made starter kit and her old book and taught me to knit to keep my mind busy and my belly still.
    My daughter got the homeliest afghan ever! Luckily my knitting skills have improved, because I'm still at it!

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  14. You have mad knitting skills, lady! I have a friend who is a wonderful knitter and I'm tempted to have her teach me. But I keep thinking I'll spread myself too thin if I try to take that up, as well as quilting. But one of the really nice things about knitting is how portable it is (I'm thinking long car trips and out-of-towners). For now I'll be happy to admire your projects, eagerly awaiting the Fiddlehead Mittens.

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  15. I always joke that I am bipolar about knitting and sewing. I swing from one extreme to the other, and I always need one to relieve me from burnout with the other. They are so similar yet so different at the same time, and they really complement each other. I think that knitting helps me to be more patient with sewing (since it usually takes so much long to knit, say, a sweater, than to sew a blouse), and sewing helps me to understand the construction of knitted garments. Good on you for finding an outlet!

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  16. I've been knitting for about a year now (love it!) and have been recently inspired to start sewing...it's always good to have a variety of crafts to keep you hands busy and mind calm! Love your work :)

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  17. Lovely knits! You picked a great yarn--I love Malabrigo. I can relate to the need to make things that are non-work-related. I teach a lot of classes at my local yarn/fabric shop and knitting is the one thing I rarely teach there (though, ironically, I will be teaching a knitting class tonight) so it feels like something I just do for myself for fun. It is good to have something different to make for fun. Enjoy your knitting!

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  18. Lovely job on the knits. I find I relax much more knitting than quilting. I think its because I knit so slowly and I sew like a lunatic on a speedway.

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  19. I knit (and spin) more than I quilt, so I love seeing the knitting.

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  20. Look at your pretty little self in that Hannah hat! Such a pretty blue, too :)

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  21. YAY!! So excited that you're knitting! Wahoo! This makes me so happy! we'll get you in one of our knit alongs before ya know it...lol. They are sooo fun.

    I'm so thrilled you made my hat and again - you looked stunning in it xoxox

    Happy knitting m'dear :)

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  22. I totally get how you feel!! I need a relaxing craft, knitting is usually the go to these days (grad school with a 6 month old leaves no energy for sewing it seems). Hats are my go to easy knit, you should check out the Be Lovin pattern, it's my current favorite (but shorted the height by an inch).

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  23. I knit all the time, have for many many years now, although quilting has cut into the knitting time some. I love to hear about your knitting.

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  24. This was so well-written and I understand what you mean so well. I love your hat. It makes me want to learn to knit, too.

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  25. I have found out that i enjoy sewing more when I am making something for someone as a gift than on commission. Gift making there is no pressure - but when you are getting paid for something, well it has to be perfect. Please share your knitting. I love it. And isn't Malabrigio fantastic! I love that yarn.
    xo jan@sewandsowfarm
    It is so hard to be inspired when you are feeling stressed!
    So Be Calm and Knit ON!

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  26. good to read your are knitting and finding relaxation in it. I no longer knit due to painful knuckles that knitting makes worse but I can still crochet and have started needle tatting which I am throughly enjoying, could not use a shuttle then found tutorials with a needle and find this relaxing.

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  27. Knitting is always a good thing and I'm happy to hear it is relaxing for you.
    I knit every day. Sewing and shuttle tatting are tied second.....creating living arts are calming.

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    1. ....creating living arts is calming....;)

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  28. Knitting is so relaxing, you should try crochet too, I love it even more and find it easier to manage. I understand how sewing for work can take the enjoyment from it a bit - I occasionally take commissions and then I stop because I like sewing to be fun and its often not when you have to hit deadlines.

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  29. I'm a knitting addict, too! I actually also got into spinning yarn and am an addict with that, too, haha! I live in WI... very cool to learn you live here also. :)

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  30. Don't mind at all! Knitting and sewing--two of my favorite things.

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  31. I know EXACTLY what you mean. I think that's why I'm enjoying my new hand applique project so much. With all of the pieces starched and edges turned ahead of time, it's very mindless and calming to stitch the little pieces in place by hand in front of the TV or in a restaurant or wherever I happen to be. And when I have sewing projects for clients (like the pillows upstairs in my sewing room that I've been procrastinating for over a week), having a hand sewing project gives me my own little "fix" when my sewing room feels more like a workspace than a play room.

    I've never tried knitting, but if I had a yarn store like that nearby I'm sure I would be sucked in!

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  32. Good for you! I'll bet lots of your readers knit too and will love some knitting posts.

    I knit simple things occasionally. I'm a bit afraid to do more as I think I'll get addicted just like I am to quilting. I don't think I can handle two addictions at once :)

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  33. Knitting ROCKS!! Glad you are having fun with that!

    Rasta is one of my favorite yarns, but I really felt limited because the skeins aren't huge. And since they are hand dyed, each skein feels totally different. My old yarn store said that you could alternate skeins by switching every other row, so I tried that and it totally worked! And I had arco iris, one of the most varied.

    Love your projects!!!

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  34. I know quite a few quilters who are also knitters. I find it to be good therapy and any issues I havre are quickly fixed by the wonderful ladies at Lambikins in Hamilton, OH.

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  35. I love your blog! And now, I'll ove it even more that you'll be bringing in yoru knitting. I'm a newbie knitter and I'm enjoying it for many of the same reasons you are. Try knitting some socks! Talk about addictions. Have fun and I can't wait for your knittingposts.

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  36. Oh geez Jeni, I love this post. Agree completely. I also like how much more "social" knitting can be than sewing, but I love your idea that it fills that purely creative "just for me" vibe that is hard to hang on to once you monetize.

    I wish I was a better knitter because I love doing it so much, but don't have much in the way of actual knitting knowhow! Blarg.

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  37. Good for you. I enjoy knitting because it is something I can do while I watch TV with my husband. We're together, we can talk, but I can "do" something at the same time. Same for in the car on trips. And I also like knitting while I sit through a dance class for my daughter. I love making something during downtime.

    Keep up knitting while you enjoy it and put it down when you don't. "Free time" or unwinding should be exactly that--you're free to do what you enjoy. :)

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  38. I'm delighted you have found knitting to fill your needs now. I have taught a lot of folks to knit... it is portable, tactile, as well as color & texture saturated... plus there is an explosion of creativity in the fiber arts world. And just as with quilting, the community is wonderful. We're so lucky where I live we have two nights each week where we have drop-in knitting in public groups... all ages, walks of life etc. I look forward to watching your blog for the inspiration you will bring to another wonderful art.

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  39. Lovely projects - the colours are so vibrant! :)
    You've mentioned exactly what I love about knitting - it can be such a nice escape, and is portable and perfect TV work! Glad you've tapped into the knitting world again :)

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  40. Your knitting news is delightful. I attempt a knitting project every once in awhile. I don't quite enjoy the same successes as you, but find encouragement in your post!

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  41. I'm right there with you darling! I picked up knitting again while doing my Masters because I needed something to do with my hands while in lecture - now it is a creative outlet outside of sewing, something that I do to relax that is just for me. And really, who are we joking, you can't quilt a hat, right (well, I guess you could, but it would be ugly)!

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