Creative Ebb & Flow ~ The Knit of Family Life (Yarn Along)

I have never joined Ginny's Yarn Along because I'm not much of a knitter. There is this project I'm doing (how's it going Mom?) but it's a slow go I tell you.

But this morning as I sat down to share these photos, and snippets of our family's creativity, I happended to remember it's Yarn Along linky day. The day where some of my internet friends and acquaintances (and a whole bunch of people I don't know) join together to share what they are knitting. A big knit fest I guess.

So I'm joining in too. Totally hadn't planned on it till just now but I do love the serendipity of it.

Technically, it's not my yarn along but my children's. I am knitting this dishcloth pattern from Simple Organic and finding it amazingly easy and... simple! (Yeah for that.) But I have no photos to share of that project.

I'm in the last throes (of agony?) with editing my e-book (so close to publishing now!) and working with my hands is the perfect antidote to the fact that my writing brain is nearly mush.

Last week I re-taught the kids how to knit and it was all the rage. We first learned to knit three years ago.

The kids fast and furious knitting pace from last week has slowed down somewhat now. They are like that in their creative pursuits. Cycling in and out of crafts and activities. Old things becoming new and favorite things getting shelved for a season.

My children's creativity naturally moves with this ebb and flow. Learning to do this myself is not always easy but is very necessary. It's simply the way of it and it does no good to fight it. Indeed, it wears us out if we do.

We cannot operate - creatively, physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually (pick your -ly) - at the same level, all the time. It's not natural. Especially not for the very cyclical half of the population known as "women".

You might be super productive one week (or in a certain life season) in a creative project or with the kid's homeschooling. Or cooking up a storm in the kitchen, reading a bunch of books, painting your living room, whatever. Then the wind blows a different way (often associated with an actual seasonal shift) and your body, your mind, your spirit needs to re-calibrate. Find a new rhythm.

Right now I'm not sure where I'm at in this cycle. The winter season here is long. We are not shifting to spring yet and won't be for another month but there are internal shifts happening anyway. A coming out of winter reflection and into spring readiness. Readiness for what?

Wow, that was unexpected. I honestly sat down to write about my kid's knitting and look where that went!

I do want to return to knitting though because that is what I actually wanted to write about this morning - knitting, not seasonal shifts. (But oh, those thoughts knew they would find a way to be expressed, sneaky little things!)

One of the things I love about knitting is not knitting itself but taking photos of yarn and stitches. Having some of that handiwork around last week to photograph was lovely.

Equally lovely (more lovely actually) was cooking lunch for my family while Damien read to us, the kids all knitting next to him on the couch. Moments like these are golden to me.

Our life together is full of work - both that which we love and some we don't. We are busy in our own tasks and projects, supporting each other however we can. Some days it seems we circle round and round each other, like a ball of yarn. Close, but going our own way and in sometimes seemingly different directions.

And other times it seems we're actually knit together - in our doing and our being. Being knit together and living those moments is the golden part.

But the actual process of being knit together - it hurts a bit.

If you are a knitter you know that yarn doesn't naturally fall into a weave. It must be pulled into place. Stretched over and under those needles. And even then it might want to go its own way and the whole thing might need to be "blocked", or even washed and felted, before it takes its true shape.

This has been a week of being knit together with my life partner. There has been some pain in that. Stretching always hurts. But I'm starting to see the pattern taking shape and it's beautiful and inspiring.

And it's worth it - being knit together instead of wrapped around.

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  • Monica Selby

    Monica Selby on March 7, 2012, 3:02 p.m.

    I know you didn't mean to go there, but I'm glad you wrote the part about life seasons/rhythms. That's a message I'm preaching to myself every single day right now.

    And the winter lasting another month there? Yeah, that's why I live in Tennessee. ;)


  • Heather

    Heather on March 7, 2012, 3:10 p.m.

    Great post! So glad your kids are enjoying knitting. My Emma (who is almost 4) is constantly begging me to teach her to knit. So far we have done finger knitting, but I'm not sure she is ready for 2 needles yet...although maybe she is :-)


  • Heather

    Heather on March 7, 2012, 3:15 p.m.

    The ebb and flow is so true. It is sometimes hard for me as I live in the desert, so my seasonal shifts are different from those in the north. This is the beautiful time of year when all you want to do is fling open the doors and set forth. No time for hibernation. Such a good reminder to remain and continue to knit together despite the challenges.


  • Michelle

    Michelle on March 7, 2012, 4:01 p.m.

    My goodness Renee but you have a way with words. I got my shampoo last week and gave a bar to my husband to try. Big shock, he loves it! Thanks for sending it. We are sure to have shampoo for a year but what to do after that??? ;)


  • Kika@embracingimperfection

    Kika@embracingimperfection on March 7, 2012, 4:54 p.m.

    Beautiful post, Renee, and what a great analogy. Love that you make mention of natural ebb & flow, too. My life feels much like a process of ebb and flow all the time. There are so many goals/values/good activities that I want as a regular part of our life but it can't all fit neatly into a little weekly routine. Some days baking and cooking beans and making granola (etc.) seems to take over life; another day I spend three hours on the phone with my sister who needs a safe place to talk and I don't seem to get much else done. But it is all good. And somehow, though life doesn't feel so neat and tidy and packaged as I used to be able to maintain it, we get everything necessary accomplished. And we, too, are being stretched.


  • Kathleen

    Kathleen on March 7, 2012, 5:02 p.m.

    I love this quote at the end:

    "This has been a week of being knit together with my life partner. There has been some pain in that. Stretching always hurts. But I'm starting to see the pattern taking shape and it's beautiful and inspiring."

    I've felt that way recently with my husband. Definitely a lot of stretching going on that is painful at times but worth it in the end. It is resulting in us being more gentle and kind to each other, trying to be more understanding and supportive in our individual and family goals.

    I love to knit and my 4 year old recently began knitting with a knitting tower. Lately we have been knitting together on the couch while my younger son takes his nap, often listening to Sparkle Stories, one of our new favorite quiet time activities. I am excited to try out the homemade knitting needles - I think he would love doing this once he is a bit older.


  • Karen

    Karen on March 7, 2012, 6:48 p.m.

    Since you asked - my shawl is now 23 inches up the centre row of "holes". The colour variations are so beautiful and I get such pleasure working on it. The downside: it's becoming quite cumbersome as a take-along project. We went to a house concert last week and really wanted to take it along but splaying it out and keeping everything close to my chair would have been tricky. Guess I'll have to start some dish cloths for knitting on the go. Love all the yarn photos.


  • Becky @ Sowing Little Seeds

    Becky @ Sowing Little Seeds on March 7, 2012, 8:16 p.m.

    I just realized why I have always (well, the past 2 years I've been reading) enjoyed your writing so much; It feels like you're having a conversation, and it's comforting. And beautiful.

    This was full of great ideas for me to ponder. Like the ebb and flow of our work, creative or otherwise. My own mother has always described me as inconsistent. I start a project very enthusiastic, then after a time the enthusiasm usually wanes. I always thought this of myself as well but now I'm looking at it differently. I do go through cycles. In housekeeping, knitting, crochet, reading, reading to the kids, writing, cooking, learning. As I get along in years though I see my decrease in desire to do one type of work swing back up eventually and resurge full of the original enthusiasm.

    Your last line really got me today too. It has been one of those kinds of months for us. Thanks for giving me a new way to think about all the painful stretching.

    P.S. Can't wait for the ebook to be available! Take care of yourself.


  • Tonya

    Tonya on March 8, 2012, 12:45 a.m.

    I always enjoy your posts Renee. Not sure if the knitting together of you and your husband has anything to do with working/being together so much more with your new life. I know that it has been a work in progress with my husband and I but I know that it is all good as we work together parenting/working/homesteading/loving on a nearly 24 hour a day basis now to make an even stronger bond. Warm wishes to you.


  • Katherine

    Katherine on March 8, 2012, 2:11 a.m.

    I haaaaate the downswing of the cycle of creativity and productivity. Every time it comes around, it sneaks up on me and I'm floored by it. Like- "Just last week I was making all of our snacks and dinners from scratch! And painting the trim in our house! And finishing those 17 other projects!... And now all I can manage is frozen pizza...". It feels so defeating. But I just have to remind myself that these bursts are enjoyable and rewarding while they last, but not sustainable and the downswings are just my "self" needing to rest.

    I like how you put words to this. Very comforting, always, to read that others experience the same thing.


  • Auntie Ruth

    Auntie Ruth on March 8, 2012, 3:46 a.m.

    I enjoyed your pictures, Renee, and your thoughts - looks like you'll have your own local supply of dishcloths very soon!! Did manage to send 3 home with your Mom, now I'm working on a big ball of spring colors..... plus a sweater that is a bit challenging, so needs to be interspersed with other projects.... it's such a great hobby with creative results! keep up the good work...... BTW, your Mom's shawl is lovely! I can see why she enjoys the time spent on it.


  • Naomi

    Naomi on March 10, 2012, 12:22 a.m.

    Totally love the photo of the kids knitting while Damien reads to the family! SO precious. My kids are a bit young for knitting, although they pretend, but we enjoy other "knitting together" activities, like playdoh, lego, drawing, and other creative efforts that we can express ourselves through together.


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