I’m a maker. Making is one of my favorite ways to relax, to pray, to bring things to life. I come by it honestly. I first learned to knit when my mother would let me cast on a project if she were working on one, but I remember more of her finished objects (FO’s for the knitterly reader) than time spent knitting with her. My allotment of yarn generally made it into other shapes. My love for making families of yarn dolls became akin to peopling worlds.
Recently I acquired my mother’s Hope Chest, and serendipitously it had her knitting in it, which was even more special because she didn’t knit a lot, so, to find her stash with two partially finished projects was glorious to me. I found mittens she must have been making for one of my brothers (a really long time ago!) – one utterly perfect and the other in progress. I made up a story as soon as I saw it that it must have been for Eric, four years my senior, and that having two boys at home probably put an end to knitting for fun. Apparently she didn’t give it up, however, because one of her favorite stories about me was that she wanted a little girl so badly when she was pregnant for #3 that she took to knitting pink things – that she, in effect, knitted me PINK as I grew inside her.
I really think my love of making scratches an itch that I can’t identify until after I’ve lost myself in a project. Knitting is one thing that some find hard to understand because it seems impractical to make a sweater or fingerless mittens or a shawl that is inexpensive and convenient to buy. Why bother? But making is more about the act of creation than it is about the product. If you love making cookies even if everyone else eats them, you’re a maker. If you pull out the power tools on a sunny day and build furniture in the driveway, you’re a maker.
This morning I was texting with my west coast buddy, Lori, who is always making amazing things, and I she shared the wealth with me about the secret to great color work gleaned from someone she follows on Instagram.
Great tip to knit stranded items with the inside out to give the floats better tension and slightly more ease. Duh. Brilliant. Feeling me some Latvian mittens. – Lori
This is how these things germinate. Someone’s great idea threads the loom for your personal magic carpet to making-heaven.
What does making have to do with frailty? To embark on any creative endeavor, and I’ve tried many, I must believe that I will either be able to finish it, or that I will find the proper help just in time. Otherwise, I just shame myself out of it. This year I have been on a mission to make things every day, or at lease engage daily in part of a project, and there have been lots of little failures. I don’t have the patience yet for ink lettering or stamp carving. I have however successfully taught myself book making and dabbled in web design. I’ve become a regular yogurt maker, and scripture journaler. All because I set out to do something on a regular basis for creativity’s sake. Not for sale. Not to get to be an expert at it. Just for joy. And that truly is the heart of making.
P.S. My oldest daughter Emily seems to have acquired the making gene, as well. Everyone benefits when makers let themselves make.
P.P.S. For a great read on letting your self make things, please go and get Make It Mighty Ugly by Kim Werker. She midwifes courage with the best of them! Also check out others who are taking her lead and trying out the challenge known as #yearofmaking on Instagram, and wherever hashtags are searchable.
P.P.P.S. Go make something. Come back and tell me about it.