Farewell, Knitting Life

My one completed project.

It’s been great getting to know you, singular strand of the fiber arts, but six months into knitting, I’m going to cut my losses and stop now. Like most early-30s people, I’m still seeking the crafting skillset that I care enough about to hone to perfection. But my knitting equipment and supplies will now join my calligraphy pens, charcoal sticks, felting pads, embroidery hoop circles, sewing machine, and grow-your-own-herbs-in-a-can kits in the “maybe later, probably never” storage box.

Knitting wasn’t all bad. My first month of learning was pure pleasure: warm yarn on my lap, rich wooden needles in my hands, Christmas-movie-style January snow falling outside while my computer screen showed me what to do. Every subsequent row looked more and more like it should. In fact, for a full four-and-a-half months, the windows frosted up as I sipped on a thick cup of hygge-perfect honeyed tea and knitted my first scarf into existence. I knitted when I couldn’t sleep, when I was on the subway, when I went on a group trip to Scandinavia and needed some quiet time to myself but still wanted to be close to people. I imagined how wonderful it would be when my grandma wrapped this around herself, that satisfyingly heavy, last toss of the scarf onto the back of her shoulder.

The wintry weather in New York turned into a miraculously beautiful April and sitting at home suddenly seemed… unappealing. When I look back at my spending on Mint, I see that April was when I re-started my gym habit and started meeting friends for dinners and shows after work. My indoor-wintry self retreated. Eventually, during a spring cleaning session, I artfully posed my needles and Grandma’s almost-finished-scarf onto the shelf, next to four books chronicling Robert Caro’s obsession with LBJ — that is to say, the dustiest corner in my apartment.

Early May was the last time I touched my knitting with anything other than a duster. When it’s hot outside, I don’t want warm yarn draped on my lap.

It’s time to call it. The knitting days of 2017 are over.

I still have fourteen unopened skeins, six different kinds of needles, and two 20-percent-progress projects. I now accept that I am not interested enough in knitting to eventually make items of a quality that I would actually wear or expect someone I love to wear. The picture above is my one finished scarf, the one I planned to knit for my grandma. I gave it to her, and she loved it, but I doubt she’ll wear it when actually going out in the winter — it’s too loose and too short. It’s the kindergarten hand-turkey, turned 30.

I’ll hang onto this yarn collection in the hopes that my little sister will one day want to sit down and free-trial-run through the slew of crafts that I’ve dipped a toe into. Maybe she’ll discover, as I didn’t, that something just clicks. Maybe her innate crafting gift will be revealed. I will run the business end of her empire if that happens.

And who knows — when 2017’s sidewalks are suddenly plied with cold rain and sleet, I may snuggle back into my knitting routine.

Approximate sunk costs: $225 ($65 for needles, $160 for yarn).

Approximate craft store coupons used, all “in app:” 16

  • 10 “40 percent off one full-price item” coupons from Michaels
  • 1 “25 percent off one full-price item” coupon from Bed, Bath & Beyond
  • 3 BOGO coupons from HomeGoods
  • 2 small gift cards to Purl Soho from lady friends who are serious knitters

Results: one completed scarf, two “blanket” beginnings.

JMP is forever seeking that next crafting high.

This story is part of The Billfold’s Halfway Series.

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