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Knitting 101

It’s officially the new year and I already did a new thing, look at me, all “expanding my horizons, taking risks, and challenging myself”! I taught a leather jewelry class, or rather I got the opportunity to hang out with some cool ladies and help them make some fine leather jewelry. My good friends, Karen and Tanya, (they aren’t comfortable when I call them my best friends, but they’ll get there) at Dandelions and Rust invited me to host an evening of leather crafts and a little bit of wine. I would like to declare the evening an official success and if you missed it, I will be hosting another one on March 6! I really loved seeing what people created and how they put their own flair on things. Selfishly it was awesome because they gave me ideas for my own work. See photos.


In other news, I’ve been getting my knit on recently, making cowls (listed on this website - did I mention that this blog will fully support the shameless self-promotion of my fledgling business??) and it’s got me all nostalgic for my extreme knitting days as a Peace Corps volunteer. I spent two years of my mid-twenties living in a rural Malawian village on the dime of our fine federal government. Much like my current job, my duties as a Peace Corps volunteer were loosely defined. As a result of the laissez faire nature of my work, the early evenings, and the lack of distracting electronics I did some arts and crafts in my spare time. Knitting and sewing were two readily available activities, although I’m pretty sure my eyesight suffered significantly while knitting and purling in the candlelight.


My mom came to visit and spend time with me pretty early on in my “tour” and I asked her to bring me some knitting needles. While there, she taught me to knit and I ended up doing a lot of knitting for the rest of my service. Knitting wasn’t a foreign concept in Malawi, many of the women knit - usually baby sweaters and booties but knitting needles were scarce. In fact, I never saw a pair for sale, anywhere in Malawi. But oh those resourceful Malawian ladies, did they let a little thing like no knitting needles stop them, hell no! So what did they do, Sarah? I assume you ask, well let me tell you - they used fucking bicycle spokes! Now I don’t know if y’all knit or know anything about knitting but a bicycle spoke has a very small circumference and therefore when using them to knit you get a very small stitch which in-turn means that to knit an entire sweater, even for a baby, it is gonna take you a hot minute.


The beauty of Malawi, and I suspect other developing nations, is that the idea of rushing, unlike knitting, is very foreign; being “busy”, or late, or on time are very Western notions. Malawians, primarily subsistence farmers, just did their thing. They needed to feed their families, of course, but beyond that there wasn’t a lot of “doing” there was much more just “being”. IT WAS SPECTACULAR but also an adjustment, it challenged my notions of what success and productivity looked like. A typical “meeting” scheduled for 10:00 in the morning, might get started around 1:00pm but probably closer to 2:00pm. It drove me crazy at first but then as I settled into a more relaxed approach to life, I realized that “we” were (and are) the fools - running around like what we do is so important and filling our days with excessive amounts of excess is such a strange way to live. Let’s just slow it down a little, people, okay? By people I mean me, I need to stop and breathe just a little more in my life, I swear I’m not lecturing you:)


Speaking of my Malawian craft sessions, and in the interest of full disclosure, I started a quilt while I was there and nearly finished it - like three squares left nearly finished it. I brought the project home with the best of intentions...but now, nearly 14 years after my return it still sits. Unfinished. A blaring reminder of my “start a project with the best of intentions, go hard for a minute, and then abandon all interest” nature. But here is the beauty of this blog, I am saying “out loud (in writing)” that I am going to finish this mother-fucking quilt before the end of this year. That’s right you heard it I will finish the quilt and I will post a picture to prove it, if I don’t...I will donate $100 to a charity of one of y’alls choosing - how’s that for accountability?


But back to knitting. It is a pretty perfect winter activity, you can do it while binge watching the new season of The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel (insert your most recent binge here) and you still feel productive. I have a ton of other projects I could (and should) be working on but it’s so dark and cold, knitting seems so “right now”. Speaking of The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, if you have not seen this excellent show on Amazon may I seriously recommend that you waste no time in getting started. There are now three seasons and they are all fabulous, I love it.


Okay, that’s all for the knitting installment of this blog...someone told me this week where the word blog came from but for the life of me I can’t remember, log is definitely part of it. Stay tuned for next time for my thoughts on “Damp January” and my out loud (in writing) commitment to start running again (Boilermaker here I come!).


-Sarah



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