When I had to retire from ballroom dancing in 2012 due to a career-ending injury, I was devastated. Twenty-five. I was twenty-five. I was kicked off the dance floor a dozen years too early, shortly after winning my first American Smooth champion title.
I pretty much spent the first year adjusting to life in the “normal” world: working from 9-5 (I’m a night owl – it’s still difficult to get to the office on time), no traveling on a weekly basis, a lack physical activity, and – most painfully – no avenue for my artistic expression.
As a creative being, not having an outlet was slowly causing my imagination to pool inside me, effectively drowning my soul. I needed to channel my artistic energy into something – anything – even if I couldn’t make a living at it so I could cultivate an inner equilibrium.
Finding the appropriate channel would create stability. I needed stability in order to gain clarity. I needed the clarity to gain focus. I needed the focus so I could start rebuilding my life.
This blog became the channel I needed, combining writing, knitting, and photography into one neat package. It’s also forced me to improve my skill level in all three arenas.
Having material to write about makes me accountable to progressing on my knitting. Capturing images I find acceptable to present to the world forced me to really learn about my camera as well as spend some time defining my photo editing eye. Writing? Looking back at some of my other posts, I can see the improvement.
Knitting and blogging allowed me to channel. I found stability. I found clarity. I gained focus.
With this new found internal balance, I could trust the decisions I was making about my life’s direction. In January, I decided to go back to school full time in order to obtain a Bachelor of Science in Management. The journey so far has been wild and successful.
I love learning and growing, so by extension I’ve readily enjoyed studying. Sometimes, the balance between a full time job, maintaining a household, and school can be overwhelming, but it’s difficult to beat the overall sense of accomplishment. That last bind-off stitch at the end of a large blanket project? It’s sort of like that feeling.
This last weekend was the very last of the Spring semester, and I spent 30 hours (and drank double my body weight in coffee) across Saturday and Sunday wrapping up my final essays and projects for the term. When I finally finished, I was excited to move onto other activities. By other activities I mean knitting.
The Inside Out Baby Blanket is done and ready to cuddle with baby Mylah. In the meantime, it’s been hanging around the house, keeping me company in the studio while I work on schoolwork and hanging out with the cats:
Of course, when I say it’s ready to cuddle with baby Mylah, what I mean is the stars have to align appropriately enough so I can be compelled to weave in these ends and throw it in a bath:
I will barter some of my best yarn if you’re in the Chicago area and get turned on by the idea of weaving in ends so much you’re willing to do it for me.
I’ve decided my next project is the Yarn Harlot’s Pretty Thing cowl. It’s been on my to-knit list for about five years, and the mink yarn I purchased at Stitches Midwest last year has been sitting around untapped for wayyyy too long. Of all the stash I hoarded at the event last August, I needed to return to it this year knowing at least once skein had been put to use.
So far, I’m done with the 16 set-up rows:
I have 300m of this stunningly soft, ruby red yarn. Since the pattern calls for 147m of yarn, I’ve made it a little longer. I also plan on adding an extra lace pattern repeat to even out the proportions; otherwise, it might look a little too thin for a cowl (I can’t believe I just said anything could be too thin).
This is the first accessory I intend on keeping for myself. I can’t wait to debut it this Fall.
I’m going to be knitting on this project all evening. I’ve given myself the evening off even though my new set of classes began today – I can’t pass up the opportunity to knit during a thunderstorm with a well-timed order of lavender candles from Amazon burning in the background.
I hope your Monday was magnificent, and your Monday evening has the potential to be as enchanting as mine.
Next week friends, we celebrate Tandem Knit’s one year anniversary. Thank you for support my outlet. You keep me grounded and centered, and I’m truly grateful for your support each and every single minute of every day.