Friday, April 24, 2009

creative outlets

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!


  1. Love babies with yarn. love it. :)

  2. I was the same way. Then around 18 months I could slowly do more because the girls would play and sit with me while I knit. I recently gave them some yarn of their own to play with (bits and pieces of wool) and cut as they wish, made up collage boxes and I'm working on creating scrapbooking kits so that we can all grab our kits and scrapbook at the kitchen table. As amazing as it seems, the time will come.

  3. Hi Celeste,

    Cute Pictures and thanks for sharing.

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