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Be Nice to Yourself

I tried to think of some insightful-sounding title, but that's really all I've got--you should be nice to yourself.  It's really easy to get overwhelmed and stressed this time of year because there are end-of-the-year work things, Christmas gatherings, possibly graduations, extra cooking, extra shopping, extra traffic, and a list of things you have to do and an even longer list of things you want to make before the almighty 25th gets here. 

(Or the 21st, if you're one of those end-of-the-world types.  But if you are, you're probably not that concerned about your holiday presents.  Good for you!)

So be nice to yourself!  You're doing the best you can with what you've got.  I know it's incredibly distressing when you truly want to make something and time just won't let you.

Those adorable crocheted owl ornaments I wanted to give to family and friends with Christmas cards?  Not happening. 

In fact, Christmas cards?  Not happening until this weekend.  I'm behind this year.

And you know my goal of Knooking something as simple as a dishcloth?  KILLING ME.

I had intended to make a bundle of dishcloths for my mom's birthday (last week), and then I would knit her a shawl for Christmas.  Colorful dishcloths with interesting patterns seemed like a great birthday present, and a shawl seemed like a more thoughtful and holiday-appropriate project because it would take a little more time.  Right? 


Here's the thing.  This washcloth:

took almost as long to make as this shawl:

There are a bunch of reasons for this, the most obvious being that I am a knitter.  I've been doing it forever, and I'm comfortable with it and my hands know what to do.  That shawl doesn't really have a pattern, because I was a little too tired for patterns last week.  So I modified a version of another pattern, and just knitted in stockinette stitch.  I increased one stitch at each end of all the right-side rows.  I basically knitted a giant triangle.

I enjoy Knooking.  I really and truly do.  I think it's fantastic and weirdly creative, and I do want to try more with it--especially more small in-the-round projects.  But it's new to me.  It feels weird because I know how to crochet and knit (even though I hold the needle wrong in both of those things, and I'm most comfortable holding my Knook wrong as well.  Sad but true) and Knooking is like both of those things, except that it's not. My hands are telling me how to do one thing, and the pattern books tell me to do another, and my brain is trying to figure out how to make it work.

So after I made ONE dishcloth in a week and a half, I realized I was going to need to switch the projects.  And so I knitted up a shawl (after a few mess-ups and unravelings) in about 5 days.  This was with some getting up early and staying up late, but it was still faster than Knooking. 

Part of me wants to act like I'm a big dang deal for knitting a triangle in a few days.  The more logical part of me knows that I'd better try to keep someone from feeling like crap just because they're not immediately amazing at trying some new skill.  Because I think that's what gets most people.  They try crocheting and because they can't immediately make doilies, they think they're bad at it and never touch it again.  Or they pick up knitting, and their stitches are uneven and they just don't feel as intuitive as their friends look (key word there.  Not "as intuitive as their friends are") when they knit and so they think they suck and they quit.  Which is so sad! 

I think yarncrafting is fun.  I think handmade items are beautiful.  Knitting at the end of the day makes me happier than just about any other activity.  It falls right after giving my daughter a bath, and getting a shoulder rub.  I love it.  Some people might not.  For some people, it's stressful.  It's not fun, it's not interesting, and it's not something they want to do.  And that's fine!  But I'd rather someone try and decide s/he doesn't like it than try and hate it because s/he's not immediately great at it.

All of that is easy to forget when you're worn out.  And I've been really worn out.  It happens.  I knew I wouldn't be planning to give many Knooked gifts this year because it's still a very new thing for me, but I thought I'd at least be able to handle a few dishcloths.  But I wasn't, and it irritated me.  But then I finished the shawl (late, which really irritated me because I didn't change plans in time to give it to my mom on her real birthday) and my mom loved it.

My mom is truly one of my favorite people to make things for.  She freaked out over the shawl.  I showed her two ways to wear it and we immediately discussed washing instructions.  She primped in front of my bathroom mirror, styling and re-styling it.  She tried wearing it under her coat and over her coat and started naming off shirts she could wear it with and, finally, she took a phone pic of herself and sent it to my sisters before 8 o'clock in the morning because she had to show it off.  It was super ridiculous and it really made my day.

(Also, my mom is that nice lady who comments on several of my posts.  You may have already guessed this, but she's incredibly supportive.)

It was nice to have a reminder that I'm awesome.  I'm just not awesome at Knooking--yet.  I know that sounds a bit vain, but if I'm not nice to myself then I get discouraged.  When I get discouraged, I don't make as many things.  When I don't make as many things, I'm not as happy as I am when I do.  And on and on and on.  Since it's so easy to get stressed and discouraged right now, I figured at least some of y'all needed the pick-me-up as  much as I do.

So: You're awesome.  You're doing your best and you're trying new things and you're super impressive at stuff.  You are, really and truly, awesome.  You're just maybe not-awesome at that new thing you're doing. 


Give yourself time, be nice to yourself, and get back to it.  Have a great weekend, awesome person.  Good luck with those skills of yours.  I bet they're awesome.  

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