Three things: Linen, short stories, and knitting

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On Monday I waited outside a charity shop until it opened so that I could have the first choice of the cones of yarn displayed in the window. A nearby mill donated a few dozen and I was stoked to find these three cones of linen among boucle and mohair.  I have wanted to try knitting with linen after listening to this podcast a few years ago but it has always been a little beyond my budget. Now, for just a few pounds, I have enough yarn to make at least a couple of garments. The only catch is that it is 3ply (fingering) which means any project I take on will be one for the long-term. Wish me luck! And patience. (By the way, that grey wall is my kitchen-painting in progress… I hope the next photo you see, I will have finally painted over that horrible wainscoting with a different calming grey).

For Christmas I received Black Marks On The White Page, edited by Witi Ihimaera and Tina Makereti, and a few months before that, a friend left behind a collection of Alice Munro’s short stories. Both are amazing collections (thank you Mum+Dad, and Andre!). I used to be able to devour short story after short story without feeling the slightest hangover, but now I can only read one a week. It’s those twists! After reading a story, I might remember or realise the foreshadowing of the traumatic ending, but it always comes as a surprise for me in the initial reading.

Back onto the topic of knitting, I loved this post about why we should engage in creative endeavors. I recently had a(nother) conversation with someone who admired the socks I was knitting, and then went on to say, ‘but I think life is too short to make your own socks’. To that I say, ‘in that case, life is too short for creating anything!’ Indeed, ‘It takes hubris and hope to create’ as Sarah Bessey writes, and I think creating brings about hubris and hope… so knit socks I will! What are you creating at the moment?

I think a lot of people forget about creativity, about making things, because it seems easier to leave it for the professionals. Much like we’ve professionalized being a Christian, we’ve professionalized being creatives. Unless we are getting paid to do it, we’re happy to outsource it or accept a big-box version to fill the spaces – we’ve got bills to pay and laundry to fold and a world to save. Who has time to knit a baby sweater when a store-bought one will suffice? Who bothers writing a book when everything has been written already? Who bothers painting a mountain when thrift stores are stuffed with mountain landscapes? Who dares to write a play while Lin-Manuel Miranda exists? Who sings around the campfire when you could watch The Voice? It takes hubris and hope to create; the good news is that we all have it. It also makes us more human. We are conditioned now to be consumers: it feels good to be a creator in some small capacity.

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