“When I’m 64……”
I am an emotional knitter. I knit only to explore and assuage thoughts, ideas or emotions that run through my days. The texture, colour and energy of a yarn calls me to knit. I’ll see a stitch, a pattern, a colour contrast and patterns begin forming in my head.
This last week was my birthday week and all the good and troublesome thoughts and feelings of a 64th birthday arose. It is no longer “When I’m 64”, I am. I spent time looking at my beliefs about aging, what my expectations of my 60’s are and how I can fully explore and engage in this time of my life.
My life now is pretty damn fine. I live with a man I love and respect, we share children, grand and great grandchildren. We are financially sound. I do work every day, that I love. I spend time with people I like and health is abundant. Still, I wonder and sometimes weep for the world and for me.
This week as I organized and connected with yarns, patterns, and needles at the Twistedpurl, a pattern showed up. Printed, probably in the 1970’s, maybe ‘60s, this pattern had a lovely drawing of a little girl in a sweater coat, bell bottom pants and good haircut. Instantly I wanted to knit this little girl.
So, this week I knit the 6-year-old girl in me. The innocent, joyful, openeyed girl who luckily came into a family and world where being educated, free, creative, healthy and empowered to make a difference in the world were the values given importance.
I choose Noro’s Ito yarn to knit the sweater with. Beautiful, woolly and spun in the colours of nature. It is a light worsted weight yarn. I use a 4.5 mm needle for the whole sweater. The pattern is knit top down, and filled with simple, knit/purl embellishment. The sweater embodies the sophisticated earthiness of my childhood, where men and women lived from the earth and dressed in clean, good clothes for dinner.
As soon as the yarn was chosen, I cast on. The instructions were: Starting at outer edge of Collar cast on loosely 64 sts. (Both Sizes). With those instructions I knew for sure that I was meant to knit this sweater. The little girl in me would have loved this sweater. I began knitting with the frenzy that sometimes happens with yarn. All of the free moments of the next couple of days were filled with need to get back to the pattern.
Then as the frenzy lifted, I found that I had 40 stitches too many on the needles. It is always interesting when this happens for me. Do I bother unravelling or do I just adjust the rest of pattern? I don’t unravel easily for I am not really committed to someone else’s written pattern. I am actually only really committed to my life pattern. So, I stopped knitting the sweater and I am in the process of deciding the next move. If I unravel, I know that I will create the pattern as written. If I carry on, I will have knitted something totally different. The question always for me is, if I follow the beliefs that were written and given to me am I really creating or am I just being someone else’s vision of a six-year-old or for that matter 64.
As I consider my next move, I have been knitting the arms to The Wilderness Sweater. A very traditional pattern, knit from the bottom up in the round with simple colour work bands. I look forward to completing this sweater, definitely a sweater for my 64th year.
All of the projects I create speak to and from an emotional place in my being. The power of the knitting experience is allowing the process to illuminate and heal. This is what I have come to know and call Conscious Knitting. As we participate in the creative process much of ourselves is laid bare. The beliefs, emotions and habits of a life time show up as we take on ever more difficult challenging patterns. It is truly an amazing gift for suddenly there is only just your patterns and you are free to explore.
Here’s to the joy of Conscious Knitting.