Back before I had twin babies, crafting used to be a mainstay of my life. Since childhood, I've been more of the type to sit quietly with a handmade project than one who needs to keep moving. I have wished to be more inclined to physical activity, but I'm just not! I'm not a picky crafter, either; at different times, I've been into calligraphy, fimo, knitting, quilting, glass etching, photography, paper craft, gocco and more.
When I got pregnant, I imagined that I'd be full of creative energy, spending my time knitting tons of beautiful garments, piecing lovely quilts, and stitching together fun and inventive toys. I was surprised to experience those eight months as a complete drain of creative inspiration. Even while I was on bedrest in the hospital, I couldn't bring myself to work on anything. It was definitely not what I expected, but I was recently comforted to find out that my experience wasn't unique. For the life of me, I can't find the post, but Totally Smitten Mama recently shared that pregnancy sapped her of creative juice, as well.
Now that I'm a mama, creative projects have taken on a new meaning for me. No longer can I sit in front of the tv for hours with a sweater, or let my mind wander during meetings and sketch new designs for silk screens. Lately, I have honored that creativity by cooking. My sister and I have been trading off time in the kitchen, and making supper really has become a creative and enjoyable process for me when I can, while the meals are relatively simple. Otherwise, the boys demand that I stay present to the moment, and even when they are both napping at the same time in the car, I can't always count on being able to do something as simple as knit, because I usually have to keep the car moving in order for them to stay asleep. Still, car nap time has become my best opportunity, and a couple of weeks ago, I decided to start a new project - a baby vest.
I altered the pattern to knit it in the round until splitting it for the arm holes and v-neck. I couldn't find two needle sizes, so I ditched the garter stitch bottom in favor of a 2x2 rib. I knit happily in 5 or 20-minute increments, whatever came my way. and I was quite satisfied with having needles and beautiful yarn in my hands once again. Until I reached the part where I had to split the knitting to create a front and back. At that point, as in all of my knitting from the past year, I stalled. It's been sitting untouched in the car for the past week.
This is the cruel fate suffered by all of my projects lately: as soon as they require me to pay attention, to count rows, to think strategically (as in the case of the vision board I was making to celebrate the new Aries moon in March), they languish.
And so it was with some real joy that today Laurie and I went over to Twisted in NE Portland, and I bought some simple wool yarn for a baby blanket. Back and forth, knit and purl. No counting, no decreasing, no sleeves or stitch markers or changing needle size. Just a good old boring knit - the kind of knitting that would have driven me mad before kids. Not only do I get to have this simple project to work on, it also makes me happy that I will be knitting for one of my (many) pregnant friends.
I still want to finish the vest I started, and knit a second one in the same size so that both of the boys can wear them at the same time, and I am pretty sure I can pull it off. For now, though, I'm just glad to have something crafty to work on a little bit every day.
ps: that cute knitting otter t'shirt is an original silk screen design by my sister!