One of the best things about the knitting community at large is our willingness to share our knit stories. I love hearing knitters (and makers in general) talk passionately about why they love their craft. So I asked Sarah, the mind behind @TheNaptimeKnitter, what knitting added to her life she was happy to share her story as follows:
I have never been a crafty person. Crafts just did not come easy to me. On the other hand, my mother was extremely talented when it came to crafts. I cannot think of one thing that my mom wasn’t good at. As a child, my mom tried to teach me to crochet repeatedly, but I just could not understand the concept of turning my work after making the foundation chain. (And yes, I know just how ridiculous that sounds.) Then, in late 2013, I decided I wanted to learn how to knit. The reason I even decided I wanted to knit is actually kind of funny. I was browsing Pinterest one day and I saw a pattern for a scarf, well a cowl, but I didn’t know that then. My mom had really gotten into knitting over the past couple of years so I asked if she would make me the scarf. She said no.
To be fair, my mom had plenty of other things to knit. I’m not sure she had even finished a project at that point, so I was asking for a lot. However, she did tell me that she would teach me how to knit. At first I declined, but I really wanted that scarf! So a couple of weeks later, I asked if she would teach me and of course, she agreed.
“I picked up knitting fairly quickly which came as a surprise to everyone. I’m not sure anyone in my family ever thought that I would be able to do some sort of craft, but I did!”
When I first started knitting, I figured that I would learn just enough to be able to make this scarf and be done with it. I picked up knitting fairly quickly which came as a surprise to everyone. I’m not sure anyone in my family ever thought that I would be able to do some sort of craft, but I did! So you can imagine their surprise when I actually stuck with it! The first thing I made wasn’t actually a scarf though. I decided to start just a little smaller, so I made a garter stitch headband. I was so proud of it and I wore it everywhere. I look back at a few of those pictures now and wonder what the heck I was thinking. It’s not hideous, but it definitely wasn’t my best look either.
I continued to knit a couple other things and made my friend a matching headband for Christmas, which I never gave to her, thank goodness. Then in 2014, I learned I was pregnant. Morning sickness was rough on me and I just kind of quit knitting. I look back at this and think, “Dang it, Sarah! That was prime knitting time!” However, when my daughter was about a year old, I did pick up the needles again and I haven’t really put them down since.
“…for now I really want to focus on my wellbeing, my family, and what I call my year of selfish knitting”
In 2017, my mom and I decided to become indie yarn dyers and we opened an Etsy store. I started dyeing yarn as a hobby for myself. With a small child at home, I felt like I needed something that would make me feel more useful and valued in my life as a stay-at-home mom. I loved knitting, but dyeing seemed to give me a little bit more purpose. I loved when customers would send their pictures to us and I would get to see a finished object made with our yarn. Unfortunately, I decided just recently that I am no longer going to dye yarn. Although I miss dyeing yarn, I really don’t miss the stress that comes with it. I really admire the indie dyers that make this their full time job because it is hard work! There is so much more that goes into an indie yarn dyeing business than just dyeing yarn and honestly, dyeing yarn is the task that I spent the least amount of time on. What started as a side hobby for me became more of a stressor that left me frustrated and exhausted. For me, it wasn’t worth these feelings of guilt that I wasn’t doing enough as a mom and so I let it go. It was hard and sometimes I regret it, but ultimately I believe I made the right choice. However, there is still a silver lining. My mom has continued with the shop and I am still able to dye some skeins for myself when I want to. It’s possible that I will dye yarn again in the future, but for now I really want to focus on my wellbeing, my family, and what I call my year of selfish knitting.
I tend to gift the majority of my finished objects. It’s not because I don’t like them, but because I enjoy making items more than I care about using them. Don’t get me wrong, I love to wear the few hand knit items that I do own; however, the truth is that I really don’t need a million shawls or hats. However, late last year I noticed I only own two of my hand knit items and as a knitter that just isn’t acceptable! Thus, my Year of Selfish Knitting was born.
This year, I am spending my knitting time working on things for me. I put together a list of projects at the end of last year that I wanted to complete this year and nearly every project I chose was something for myself. In January, I finished my first item off that list – a pair of socks. I had never knit socks before, but now I am addicted! Currently, I am working on a sweater and as soon as it is done I plan on casting on to a Find Your Fade shawl that I have wanted to knit ever since the pattern came out.
“I honestly never thought that I would inspire anyone to learn how to knit and I really had no idea of the impact that knitting would have on my life.”
When I first began knitting, I started a separate Instagram account because I didn’t want to bore my friends and family with my projects. I didn’t even tell anyone that I was making the account. Some of my friends and family have since found the account on their own and followed me. Most of them didn’t even know I knew how to knit. Since their discovery, I’ve had several people ask me to teach them. I knit a baby blanket this past year for my nephew and after the baby shower I got a text from my husband’s cousin saying that she had stopped at the craft store to grab some needles and yarn so she could learn to knit. I honestly never thought that I would inspire anyone to learn how to knit and I really had no idea of the impact that knitting would have on my life.
It probably sounds a little funny when I say that knitting has changed my life, but I think other knitters will definitely understand. Knitting is not a hobby for impatient individuals. Handmade clothing, especially knitwear, takes time. I read somewhere that it can take 30-40 hours to knit a sweater. Of course, smaller items can be knit more quickly, but they still take hours. Knitting has taught me patience and persistence in more ways than I can count. It became a hobby for me, but also a way to relieve stress. If I am having a bad day, sometimes I will just pull out my latest project for a few minutes and I instantly feel better. I cannot imagine what my life would be like now if I didn’t knit. I would probably spend a lot more time bored out of my mind. I love the challenge of learning new skills and I can’t wait to see where knitting will take me next. Oh, and if you’re wondering, I never did make that scarf. ~ Sarah, The Naptime Knitter
I have to say, this inspired me so much that I want to challenge myself and anyone who would like to join me to make 2018 the Year of Selfish Knitting. Use #2018SelfishKnitting to share your selfish WIPs and finished objects. Let’s celebrate this together!
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