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Organizing creativity

I like to knit because it’s an incredibly creative process – creative in the full sense of the word.  I create something when I knit and I get to decide just how this new thing will look.  I choose the color, texture and quality of the yarn, the size of the needles, the pattern – or lack of pattern.  The tension with which I hold the yarn helps determine just how big or small, tight or loose the final product will be.

And yet I knit only squares.  Lots and lots of squares.  Many friends have questioned this over the years – why not try socks?  A sweater?  My answer: I just don’t want to – it’s too messy.  I like the organized creativity of my squares.  I like that I can try out lots of new things in a short amount of time – instead of being stuck with the same unfinished green sweater for a decade.  And I’m practical.  I don’t think I’d wear any clothing I knitted, but I’m always happy to have a blanket around.  Knitting squares allows me to be part of a creative process on my own, part-time, practical, organized terms.

Of course, after two years of sitting at a computer full-time, I can’t knit for long these days.  My fingers start to ache, my hands cramp up, and I begin worrying I’ll develop arthritis before I’m even 30.  It’s meant giving up the long evenings watching movies and sitting on the couch with my knitting; my hands just hurt too much to do that anymore.  And I’ve had to simplify the patterns I use so that they’re easy to pick back up from anywhere, even if I’m only adding 2-3 rows at a time.  I’ve had to adjust my knitting to fit my body, but I’m slowly finding ways to keep doing what I enjoy.

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