Take up Space

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I finished reading Clara Parke’s newest book, A Stash of One’s Own: Knitters on Loving, Living with, and Letting go of Yarn. It’s a sweet collection of stories and essays by knitters dealing with their “issues” around stashing yarn.

The sentence above was in the last chapter of the book. Sitting there, just waiting to kick in my ocular incontinence. (Thanks, Bristol!) It nearly brought me to an ugly cry as I tried to explain myself to my DH. Why did a book about yarn make me cry?

At camp this summer (Medomak Fiber Arts Retreat), I heard my newest favorite designer, Bristol Ivy, give me permission to take up space. To claim a space that is comfortably and happily all mine. I don’t have to be pretty or well-mannered there. I don’t have to live up to anyone else’s expectations there, nor do I have to think about any societal rules about women (watch your weight, wear makeup, be attractive, speak sweetly, keep the house clean, cut the kids’ fingernails, don’t wear black, children are to be seen and not heard, you don’t need to know how to handle money, your husband will do that, etc.).

Hearing this was life changing for me. I grew up taking up very little space. My parents’ expectations were high but extraordinarily limited. I was taught to iron, sew and be a “good girl” with the idea that, one day, if I was lucky, I would gain a husband and a middle name. That was the reason that I went to college, too. Not to get a good education and grow as an individual but to find a husband. (The now-60-year-old me is groaning today!)

When I divorced my first husband, I continued in therapy with a series of wonderful women who helped me to identify what was important to me and to begin working on who I am today. Who I want to be. I have enjoyed the process of getting to know myself.

The idea of taking up space, however, was brand spanking new and threw open an entirely new door of personal development and a new way of thinking about my place in the world. AND it made me cry. It touched my soul to be given permission (so to speak) to take up space. To be myself, to dress as it pleases me, to speak my mind and to know that I am lovable and loved even as I am myself. To manage my own money and to buy things for myself and others. It was so incredibly powerful to hear that message and I’ve pondered (and will continue to ponder) that idea and how it applies to me and how to bring it into my daily life.

Today, when I saw the sentence above that says that women are expected to take up as little space as possible, it hit me again. Ocular Incontinence. (When I am brought to tears talking about something, I’ve learned, it’s a deep truth for me. I’ve hit the nail on the proverbial head. I am so grateful for the reminder that I have every right to take up space. And not just with my stashed yarn, either.

I have an extensive stash of yarn and two rooms in our home to use in any way that I wish. My DH is supportive of my creative endeavors (I have never hidden my yarn purchases from anybody.) I own my knitting and the supplies that I need to make it happen and I’ve always been unapologetic about it. I’ve been smart about it, too. Never would I be irresponsible and when I can’t really afford it, I head to my stash instead of my LYS. Finding a balance and being responsible are important parts of who I am. Who I have always been. But apart from my yarn, this reminds me to look at other ways that I take up space, to make some new boundaries in my life so that my time to create is sacred. Time with my wonderful, handsome DH is sacred. Time with my children and family is sacred. I want to have time to spend with all of them, and my friends, too.

So, today I put on my crazy flowered leggings and my cotton weird-edged tunic/dress and I am taking up space. I am worthy. I am loved.

 

Still Learning!

I may be creeping toward “old” but I am still learning every day. The lesson that I am learning right now is self-care. I’ve spent the majority of my life taking care of others; my children, my (now ex-) husband, my work, the kids at school, my dogs. You get the drift. I know that the old airplane adage is true. You have to put your own oxygen mask on before you help others… I’ve just never been very good at it. Today, my body has given me no choice. I have to stop and take care of myself.

I’ve taken myself to two urgent care offices in the last week and am not sure that I won’t be visiting my primary care physician before tomorrow ends. I have way more prescriptions than I’ve ever had on my kitchen counter. And I’m not all better in less than 24 hours. I just keep trying to remember to be patient. I’m really such a lucky girl to be as healthy as I am. Need I add the caveat, “at my age”?

Yup, they're all mine!

Yup, they’re all mine!

So, you ask, what are you doing to take care of yourself today? I am working hard to stay still. I’m working on my test knitting project. This is the first time I’ve done any test knitting and I’m excited and anxious about it. I know I know how to knit and have knitted for other people before. But I’ve never knitted a sample for a new book before. So, I’m learning to be more confident. It’s only a pair of mittens for heaven’s sake! So, that’s my big project today. To take one stitch at a time and get ‘er done! I know I can do it (and I’m excited to be offered the opportunity!) Every new knitting experience that I take on makes me grow as a knitter and as a person, too. I learn more about myself and gain confidence with each new attempt.

My pattern is called “Fannar” and it is being stitched up in Cascade 220 on my US #8 needles. I’ll share more as it is allowed. For now, this project is being kept in the project bag! 🙂

My Cooperative Press Test Knit Project … just starting!

My Cooperative Press Test Knit Project … just starting!

So, for today, I’m managing many more medicines than I am accustomed to and I’m working on a project that is challenging my knitting boundaries … and will expand them without a doubt! I’ve helped to fund an Annie Modesitt book, History on Two Needles Exploring Art History Through Modern Hand Knits and now I’m knitting samples for Shannon Okey’s new book, Frozen: Aurora Borealis Mittens, due out “soon”.

Gone knitting!

CYC Certified Knitting Teacher

I passed my second level of knitting certification and will soon have my certificate and pin to prove that I am a certified knitting teacher! A step up from Certified Knitting Instructor! Yay, me!

It’s amazing to think about spending an hour on the phone talking about knitting and designing knitwear with a stranger, but that’s what the process was. My master teacher, Edie Eckman, received my packet of materials (close to the end of the time frame that I had to complete the work) and reviewed it and we had a lovely chat about my work.

I had not tried several of the techniques that I had to knit swatches for – but I feel as though I am at a place in my knitting career where I am rather fearless and can try anything. Most everything I try, I can do. And I can do it well enough to teach it to someone else. Whether or not I will choose to do a lot of knitting (intarsia and mosaic and fair isle) in some of these styles (?) remains to be seen. But I feel comfortable enough with them.

I would, come to think of it, like to make a pair of fair isle mittens or a hat … some garment to use this technique as I think it’s remarkably pretty. I have a sweater pattern to make for my niece that will give me a chance to try it, too.

So, the Certified Knitting Instructor has grown into the Certified Knitting Teacher … now I have to decide whether to attempt the next level or if I’ll do the Knitting Guild’s Master Knitting. I need to keep learning and stretching in order to grow in my craft. It’s wonderful to that I have choices to invest in for myself.

Gone knitting!

Soon to be Certified Teacher!

Soon to be Certified Teacher!