The journey of a thousand yarn miles begins with a single stitch.
I love everything about the New Year – everything. It’s full of possibilities. Full of new adventures. It’s a clean slate – a chance to start over, try again and get it right. Whatever it is.
I’m primarily a product knitter – meaning that I strive for the end result. I knit for the sweater, the scarf, the mittens. I knit for the chance to wear something. Sure, I knit out of obsessive compulsion to be constantly moving my hands (and because I’m hopelessly addicted), but ultimately I’m always aiming for the result. I like to check off boxes on my to-do list (Cha-ching! Completed!).
This year I want to do something different. I want to knit for the mileage – for the process. This doesn’t mean I’m not going to strive for results – that’s just part of who I am – but I want to take notice of the hours, the days and the weeks of knitting that take place along the way. I want to highlight and celebrate the journey. And I want to quantify it – because so often we discredit our own achievements when we can’t quantify them (or at least I do). There have been weeks – so many weeks – that I’ve knit like a maniac, only to end up frogging everything I touched. Those weeks felt like failures. But why? Just because I didn’t succeed at something I set out to do, doesn’t mean I failed. It means I did the work. I showed up. And I get to keep showing up, keep working, until I get it right. I should be celebrating that mindset instead of beating myself up about it.
I’m going to use the hashtag #knittingmiles to focus on my fiber experience from day 1 to day 365 of 2017. Each week I’m going to check in with myself and with you to celebrate the “miles” (through yardage) as a way to pause and acknowledge the yarn sliding through my fingers, whether or not I’ve finished something that week. If I start over, frog a whole sweater, whatever – I’m keeping those stitches in my collective celebration of the process. Those are the moments I need it most.
If you sometimes struggle to acknowledge your own progress, or forget to enjoy the journey, I want to invite you to join me this year in celebrating your #knittingmiles or #crochetmiles (or #sewingmiles). This isn’t about bragging rights. I think it’s really important to make that clear, because it’s easy to feel like we have to keep up or be better than, and we don’t. We don’t even have to do better than we did last week. There is absolutely no comparison allowed in this adventure – this is for us to acknowledge the process, and to quantify it in a way that allows us to celebrate every stitch. This is “I traveled these fiber miles with my needles, and we learned a few things, shed a few tears, celebrated a few successes and/or comforted each other in a few defeats. But we did it! And we’ll be back at it again tomorrow.” Sometimes we have a gorgeous scarf to post on social media and sometimes we don’t. Sometimes all we can do is say, I knit some mileage this week and kudos to me. Sharing progress on social media is just a tool for keeping ourselves accountable, to remind us to keep at it, keep focusing on the process and stop fretting if we haven’t arrived yet.
- Use the #knittingmiles or #crochetmiles hashtags on social media (especially Instagram) to post your participation. Plan on posting once a week (I’m going to post on Sundays, but you post whenever you like!).
- Find a jar/box/whatever to keep your yarn labels and ball bands throughout the year. This your personal, individual scrapbook of your fiber journey for 2017. If you want, you can even scribble the date on each ball band when you drop it into the collection. For those who give away or sell much of what they make, this is a way to keep a tangible memory of your hard work.
- Use a chalkboard, marker board or even just a piece of paper, and every Sunday add up the yardage you knit or crocheted that week, adding it to the cumulative total. If you frogged a whole skein of something and then re-knit (or re-crocheted) it, count both trips through the skein and add it to your total. Jot down your updated “mileage” and post it on social media with a little high five to yourself. If you knit two yards that week, or zero yards that week – it doesn’t matter. This isn’t about how many – it’s about showing up, week after week, and seeing how far you’ve come by the end of the year. Some weeks are not stellar for any of us but we still love what we do, right? (Note that mine is a homemade chalkboard decorated with wine corks … because, um, wine.)
- This is not a competition. I repeat – this is not a competition. Not only are we not competing with each other, but we’re not even competing against ourselves. It doesn’t matter how many yards we knit each week – what matters is that we stop and notice, and that we share with others in an effort to spread the vision of celebrating the process. This is a chance to remind ourselves that we love being fiber artists – and we are going to pause each week just long enough to say, “This week, I traveled this many ‘miles’ with my knitting/crochet and it brought me peace.”
- Let’s cheer for each other along the way! Search the hastags and high five our friends who are celebrating the process with us.
- At the end of the year, let’s tally our yards into miles and see how far we traveled!
- Ready, set … go!
Happy knitting, sweet ones!