I love to knit. Amateurishly and at a snail’s pace, I sometimes feel a pull to keep my hands moving while my mind kinda drifts to the quiet places that don’t necessarily exist in my house. It’s in this way that I’ve worked on a blanket for over two years. In this last spurt of creating, I realized the draw and my love for it is a bit like how I ended up writing books.
One morning, I woke up with the notion of learning something new. I got to the craft store, and bought a how-to kit. Honestly, online tutorials helped more than some of the book’s awkward diagrams at first. And after a few practice runs, I set about making my children’s blankets. It took so long! Months upon months piled up where I knitted 4 x 6 patches because I thought that would be cute. After they were done, I realized I now needed to figure out how to piece it all together. I didn’t have a sewing machine at the time, so I hand-stitched them. I didn’t stop though. Nooo. In fact, I made another one. I kept going, little by little, learning new tricks along the way because I really loved both the act and the end product.
I make so many mistakes. Sometimes my fingers loop the loops without my eyes ever really seeing what they’re doing. Until it’s too late, and I’ve gone on for rows. Then the cost of unraveling all that work is too great. And I think, meh, no one will notice those few off-rows when the whole thing is done.
My process for new manuscripts is similar. I catch a spark, read a lot, and then after a while, set off doing the work. By then, I usually have a shape or a theme that’s really sticking out as something I want to accomplish this time around. The major difference being that I’m so much easier on my knitting self than my writing self. In writing, even within a beginning draft, if a bit of dialogue seems out of character, or my critique partners aren’t understanding a motive, my progress can totally shut down. I either stop, or begin the unravel to get back to the beginning of the mistake and fix it. But maybe, I could take a lesson from my blankets and just keep going. The knit/write comparison ends here. With writing the work needs to be layered, and I can fix anything along the way so long as I don’t stop the process. I get one shot when I’m knitting though, so I don’t even try to make it perfect. It’s just never going to happen. But spoiler, neither is my writing. Knitting me should create a totally imperfect scarf for writer me, so I can wrap myself up in it and re-effing-lax.