As Grit likes to point out to me several times a week, this has not been the most efficient way of making a jumper. It’s taken bloody ages. But that’s okay, because it’s all about the journey, not the destination. Or at least that’s what I tell myself.
I started making granny squares just as the weather was turning. We had recently moved into a new flat – our very first home as a couple! – and I celebrated by buying a lot of paintbox yarn.
Making lots of little squares made this project very portable, which was fantastic, as it meant I got a lot of them made on the move.
In October we went to Amsterdam for Grit’s Graduation, and I crocheted to ward of a panic attack before the ceremony started. The next day I started back at university for the year, and I made squares on the train to Bristol and during lectures.
Making squares helped calm my anxiety at a number of different conferences, including the one pictured above. It got me through evenings alone while Grit was wushu training in London. It also have me an easy thing to do during Wednesday nights with the Drunken Knitwits.
In September the charity that I work for kind of hired me out as a consultant for the NHS. Moving from a small organisation – where I am effectively the entire campaigns, policy, and communications department rolled into one – to a large one, with unfamiliar rules and hierarchies and oh my goodness so many acronyms, was both fascinating and frustrating.
I spent some time hiding in the toilets, and a lot of time waiting for people to turn up for meetings. I’m not sure I single meeting I was invited to actually started on time, so I was glad of the days when I had yarn and a hook in my bag.
The pile of granny squares grew larger and larger. By this time I knew I wanted to make a jumper, but I wasn’t sure how I was going to do it. I took this photo at the Oxford Drunken Knitwit’s winter retreat – a glorious two days of crafts, food, alcohol, and a hot tub in Herefordshire – when I started sewing it together.
I later dismanted the neckline that I’d crocheted at the retreat. Usually when I’m not 100% happy with something I put it to the back of my mind and move onto a new project. I have a wardrobe full of jumpers and cardigans that I feel “meh” about because it felt like a waste of time to unravel and start again. But I’m coming round to the idea that it’s more of a waste to continue putting time and effort into something that doesn’t bring me joy.
It’s been good for me to reflect, unravel, and re-do things until I’m happy with them. I feel as though this is a good lesson for life: don’t be afraid to change your mind or admit that something isn’t working out.
It’s also been good for me to take my time with a project, because as anyone who has ever spent any time with me will know, I am very impatient. I want things to be great right away, and if they aren’t then I want to fix them immediately.
It’s hardly a co-incidence that alongside making this jumper Grit and I have been going to therapy as a couple. I’m starting to appreciate that things that aren’t great often don’t have simple solutions. Or if they do, they’re probably the wrong ones.
I’ve also been reading Sarah Corbett’s book – How to be a Craftivist: The Art of Gentle Protest – and thinking about how my impatience is leaving me burnt out and angry, not just in my relationships, but in my work and my activism.
So I’m not rushing to finish this jumper – especially not so I can hurry up publish the blog post about it already. It’s cool to leave things unfinished (deep breaths, I can do this) and to slow down and to think and reflect.
Besides, I have Star Wars characters that I want to make.