A Project I Can Handle


2014 has been a hell of a year.

I don’t mean that the year has been bad, but it has been very full. Full of planes and trains, hotel rooms, conference panels, deadlines (more often missed than met, unfortunately), packing and unpacking, writing as much as I could as fast as I could, and a general sense that I was always running a day late and a dollar short. My goal for 2015 is to not be in triage mode all the time.

What 2014 was not full of was knitting. I tried. I started off strong with a pair of mittens in early January, but then put down the needles until late in the spring, when I cast on a Windward scarf and then quickly knit up a baby sweater as a shower gift as well. I worked on Windward into early July, knitting row after row during breaks from dissertation writing in an attempt to relax. But by the time I finished the scarf, I could no longer ignore the fact that I had knit and typed myself into a painful case of carpal tunnel syndrome. Since UC Irvine wasn’t going to give me a PhD in knitting, I abandoned that hobby in favor of binge-watching Friends during my dissertation breaks instead.

Even after I finished the dissertation, though, I didn’t pull out my yarn stash and pick a new project. My hands/wrists didn’t ache anymore, but my brain felt exhausted—too tired to select a yarn, decide on a pattern, and follow the instructions. I continued reading knitting blogs and perusing patterns on Ravelry throughout the fall, but my interest in actually knitting anything was zero.

My knitting motivation suddenly returned about two weeks ago, when I was at a conference where a couple of other participants were knitting during the sessions. I kept looking at their yarn and needles and at one point wondered if it would seem completely bizarre if I offered to take over from them for a few rows.

(I restrained myself from asking.)

But although my fingers were itching to knit and purl again, I still wasn’t really interested in embarking on anything big or complicated. I wanted to make something easy. Something fast. Something that would fit no matter what the size. Something I could complete before the end of the year, that I wouldn’t get bogged down in and carry over into 2015.

So as 2014 draws to a close, I’m making a dishrag. Really, that’s about all the knitting center in my brain can handle right now … but I have sock-making hopes for 2015.

P.S. As I uploaded the photo of the dishrag, I realized it rather appropriately resembles a brick wall—the perfect way to end a year in which I felt like I repeatedly ran into them.

2 thoughts on “A Project I Can Handle

  1. You will have a finished project in hand as the year draws to a close. How’s that for an accomplishment (in addition to the dissertation, that is) 😉 Sorry to read about the carpal tunnel syndrome! I can’t imagine how I would have finished my dissertation without knitting.

  2. Dear Maura, I thought this when I read this post the other day but neglected to write when I did. And my thought is/was that I hope that your brick walls all tumble down going forward. One thing I have learned with time and age (mostly age) is that it can’t be a brick wall unless I let it be. I still relearn that. Also, as I have mentioned to your mother countless times, we teach people how to treat us. I think Nora Ephron put it so well when she said that she wanted to be the heroine of her story and not the victim. And so, that is my New Year wish for you; namely, that you realize the determination of whether it is truly a brick wall and how to handle it, is within each of us. Much love, AG

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