why I knit

A little while ago, the question "Why do you knit?" was asked by the Pair of Ducks. I think I left a comment there, but now I have a better answer. At least, this is why I knit today. Tomorrow I might have something else to say about it.

I think motherhood has turned me into an obsessive knitter. It might be because having kids has cut down so much on my available piano practice/rehearsal/performance time, I need - desperately - something to do that is productive and tangible. After all, there is only so much satisfaction one can gain from cleaning up poop and making snacks all day long. It's not like they ever say "Thanks, Mom, for changing that diaper. It was a real doozy. You're awesome!" or "That grilled cheese sandwich was the BEST! You totally rock!" (though the occasional "I love YOU, Mom" from Daniel pretty much makes up for it...)

I've had people ask me what I do all day. Before you get all het up on my behalf, know that this question comes mostly from single men who truly don't have a clue. How would they know? They probably don't remember the time when they needed their moms to wipe their butts for them. And it can be hard to explain how keeping wee ones fed, dry and reasonably happy whilst fixing dinner and keeping the house from turning into a total pigsty takes up all of one's time. But I don't see many adults on a regular basis who aren't also caretakers for their children, so I don't get the witless "What do you DO all day?" question a whole lot.

Truthfully, I don't feel like a productive human being most of the time. As a grad student in music, my self-esteem was constantly challenged, so that's nothing new. But at least then I had more to show for my work. I wrote lots of papers and had tons of performances (my degree is in collaborative piano; I have played certain arias so many times I could do it with my eyes closed). Then I had a baby, so I slowed down a lot but still managed to finish the degree. Less than 24 hours after my doctorate was finished (literally) (ask me about it sometime) I had another baby and everything in my life that wasn't milk production, food preparation or diaper changing/washing came to a halt.

Except for knitting. Knitting for babies is fun, providing you finish their sweaters and socks in the right season before they grow out of them. So that's one reason I turned to knitting as an outlet after Daniel was born. But the main reason, I believe, that I have become more and more consumed by knitting is that I have something to show for it. My list of finished objects of the last year is much longer than my list of public performances.

That's not all, though. I don't like to think of knitting as just a way to fill a void because that's not fair to knitting itself. If I simply needed more to do I'd probably be in a book club. Knitting is special because you can make such wonderful things, such useful things, such beautiful things all while you're dong something else. Like watching the kids play in the mud or reading bedtime stories or watching Lost (anyone else think Jack needs to just get over himself already?) or waiting for the bread to bake. What else can you do with that kind of efficiency?


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