Hello. It’s been awhile, and there’s no point pretending otherwise.

Blogging is a terribly indulgent activity, and apologizing for what was probably an unrecognized hiatus seems equally narcissistic. Still, if you missed me, I am sorry I went splitsville.

The last few months of my life have been pretty awful, to be honest, due to a few key personal problems and a lot of trouble with my University course. Because I haven’t been myself lately, and pleasant moods have been sparse, there was nothing nice to write about, and no energy to do so anyway. Life felt like knitting a jumper in strict stockinette stitch: although past experience told me that the finished product would erase that feeling of struggle, and I would be left with a sense of pride in my accomplishment, I couldn’t shake the drudgery of slowly building a garment; nor could I tell how all that hard work might shape itself into something bigger, and useful. I haven’t finished this particular ‘project,’ but somehow I found a way to keep adding stitches despite every part of me wanting to throw in the towel and hide everything away.

My knitting has not been very pleasing of late, anyway. After a string of simple scarves and mittens around the New Year, I started several ‘big’ projects in fine yarn, and I haven’t finished anything in awhile. Briefly, I paused to make a shawlette for my mother’s birthday, but otherwise I have been diligently working away at a jumper in 3-ply, a shawl that I eventually decided needed to be in a larger size, and a pair of socks that have been ripped back and re-worked several times. My own (over)ambitions and occasional bouts of perfectionism mean I have successfully taken the fun away from the one area of my life that I pursue simply for the sake of pleasure.

Everything will be completed eventually, if I am just patient and persistent, so I have decided to not start anything new, regardless of any promise of the thrill of a quick finish. Currently, I am trying to focus entirely on my Ishbel, which – and I am committing knitting sacrilege now – I have not enjoyed making. The pattern, although pleasing when done correctly, makes no sense in my head, and as a result, my 400+ stitch rows have been fraught with difficulty, as I spend as much of my time ripping back as I do knitting forward. Being so far into the project, I would be much happier to carry on and finish the damn thing, versus frogging it and accepting defeat.

Besides, finishing this shawl will be cathartic for me. With every large project I’ve made, the era of my life which corresponded with its genesis ends up knitted into the item, like a coded history that I read each time I see it. I share secrets with my hand-knitted cardigans and jumpers. Sometimes the story recorded is a sad one, but most chapters are filled with happy pages. The fable of my shawl starts rather darkly, but I’m looking toward a happy conclusion.

As I write this, my shawl is sitting next to me, failing to knit itself. Sometimes, after another unsuccessful row that needs to be re-done, I feel as if I have somehow forgotten how to knit. I think I need to remind myself that I do know how to knit, and I’m not too shabby at it. Also, perhaps I owe myself a little holiday soon. Rather than break into my stash of lovely, smooshy, colorful sock yarn for the series of shawls I’ve been planning, my next item to go on the needles should be a nice, chunky hat, or the like. I’ve had enough challenges for a while.