At the end of 2019, I was suddenly assailed by doubts. I think it was partly the time of year, and partly my first blogiversary that involuntarily made me look back and look ahead. Questions that went through my mind were: Where am I going with my knitting and my blog? Should I be going anywhere with my knitting and my blog? Shouldn’t I be doing something more important or useful?
Fortunately, I received some lovely comments that really helped me put things in perspective. Some of them said things along the lines of ‘giving people pleasure with your blog is worthwhile in itself.’ I’m really grateful for these remarks, because they reminded me of why I started blogging in the first place – the hope that some of the things that make me happy will make others happy too.
Others commented about the importance of asking questions and suggested that I could, perhaps, try some slightly more controversial writing. Thank you for all of those comments – they have given me food for thought.
Then, on December 30th 2019, De Volkskrant, a big national newspaper in the Netherlands, published an article about knitting that provided me with more food for thought. It was even introduced on the front page!
The article, entitled ‘Knitters are Finally Coming Out of the Closet’, was about a knitting group in Amsterdam. Here are some thought-provoking quotes:
- ‘Knitting isn’t just a hobby, it’s a way of life.’ (Is it? How?)
- ‘In Britain, Scandinavia or the Baltic states knitting has status. Here it is seen as a mere hobby, as something grannies do.’ (Do people in those countries really feel that knitting has status, or does it just look like that from the outside? And what’s wrong with grannies anyway?)
- ‘Coming out as a knitter was harder for me than coming out as a gay person.’ (I think/hope this means that it isn’t very hard for people to openly be themselves in this country. But why this huge embarrassment about knitting? Is it a typically Dutch phenomenon?)
- ‘The Netherlands do not really have a knitting tradition.’ (?)
- ‘If you have spent three entire weeks knitting a sweater, you aren’t going to discard it after one season.’ (This was about sustainability, of course, about not throwing things away thoughtlessly. An extremely important issue. But my first, unworthy thought was: Three weeks? An entire sweater in just THREE weeks?!? Further on in the article there is even someone who knits a sweater in two weeks. How?)
More question marks. Interesting.
In between al this pondering, family gatherings, meals with friends etcetera, I actually also managed to do some knitting. I finished a pair of fingerless mittens for our niece’s 17th Birthday. We chose the pattern and the yarn together.
After finishing the knitting and darning in the ends, I soaked and blocked the mittens.
I placed the damp mittens on two foam mats and pinned them into shape with ‘knit blockers’. These nifty tools look a little like combs and come in boxes of twenty blockers in two sizes.
This step is not essential, though. Before blocking, the cable was more or less hidden in a ‘ditch’ between two areas of stocking stitch. Blocking made the cable stand out better and the knitting look more even, which is nice for something meant as a gift. But when worn, the mittens will stretch and the cable will become visible anyway.
The pattern I used is Kujeillen, by Finnish designer Tiina Kuu. I asked Tiina what Kujeillen means and this is what she wrote:
‘Kuje’ could be described as a harmless prank or joke that has warm and positive vibes – ‘kuje’ makes you giggle! The form ‘kujeillen’ can be roughly translated as ‘pranking/joking’ – or ‘as a prank/joke in mind’ – keeping in mind that the action has absolutely no bad intentions.
Kuje was also the name of the LYS for which I originally designed the pattern, thus the name.
A fun knitting project with a fun name, Kujeillen is a free Ravelry pattern. Tiina has published lots of lovely patterns on Ravelry and also writes a blog. I can’t read Finnish, but enjoyed looking at the photos of her beautiful sock designs.
The mittens are long – they cover the little finger almost entirely. For myself I would have made them one repeat shorter, but the recipient thought they were nice and warm like this.
The yarn I used was less than one ball of Drops ‘Alpaca’. It is really soft, but next time I’d use a different yarn, because I think the nupps (bobbles) will ‘pop’ more in a bouncier sheep’s wool yarn.
There, my first FO (Finished Object) of 2020.
And that brings me to UFOs (UnFinished Objects).
While I was looking ahead, and thinking of where I’d like to go with my knitting, I could feel something bubbling in my belly, and it wasn’t the Christmas pudding. I mean figuratively, like new ideas. But that ‘something’ felt very vague and elusive. So I asked myself, ‘What is it that makes this so? What could help me to bring it more to the surface?’
And suddenly a small voice inside me said, ‘You need to make room for new things by finishing some old stuff.’ I immediately knew what this small voice was referring to – this collapsible crate filled with UFOs:
I have quite a few UFOs. That never really bothered me, but it is starting to bother me now, so now I’m going to do something about it.
I haven’t made any New Year’s resolutions since I was a teenager. For a long time they have felt like too much to add to my already crowded to-do list. But this year I’m happy to make this my New Year’s resolution:
In 2020, I’m going to either finish or frog all of my UFOs.
Just one New Year’s resolution. That should be doable, right?