Every now and again I will tend to write a little on why I continue to make and create, re-invent and imagine and, ultimately, why I still maintain this site.
The reasons I have had have changed somewhat over the years, from the previous incarnation of Eskimimi Knits being a way to contact the world through what was sometimes a fog of depression with the few rays of brightness in the form of things that I had created, through the flush of creativity found with new love, new joy and a new beginning to now, where it remains such an important part of my life.
Every New Stitch
I work a pretty normal office job. For eight hours a day, five days a week I sit at my desk and do my best to achieve what I can within my role, but my role is ever-changing, and I feel, like I am sure many people do, that whilst I am moving forward and doing great things it is often towards a constantly shifting set of goalposts. Work, for many people, is frustrating. I can feel personal achievement but can also feel overlooked and invisible. I can envy those people who feel valued, but I try to remember to value myself, and this is where what happens once I get home makes it such an important part of living.
Every single day I try to do something for me. This isn’t as entirely selfish as it sounds: If my husband wants one of his favourite but too-baggy t-shirts converted to something a little more slim-fitting (a recent brand-new shiny halo’ed skill of mine!) then I feel as if I have achieved something for myself, even though the recipient of the item is someone else. This is because it is an opportunity to use my skills, try new ones and learn something for my own growth – it is an achievement for me.
Sometimes I can return home exhausted. There have been times when the effects have been physically draining, and I know that for many people that I speak to this signals a time to it and absorb the television, passively letting the creations and images of someone else wash over and into them, and I think that if this is what helps you to relax, and is this is where someone finds their time of peace then that is perfect. But I just can’t do that. And maybe this is the selfish bit: If I get up every day and spend eight hours doing all I can to further things for ‘The Man’, I want to spend some of my remaining energy furthering myself and my life: making things more beautiful.
I can come home from a day in the office with my brain aching with figures, ideas, worries and problems, but I make sure that every single day I do something for me. This might be an hour knitting, cutting sewing pattern pieces, or just a few minutes pinning a seam together in readiness to sew another day. Sometimes it could be as little as ten little hand stitches before I put the piece down too tired to concentrate, but I still make sure I have made that tiny bit of progress, because every new stitch means one tiny achievement towards having done something for this person who is still finding herself and can feel her views and outlook changing almost daily.
Making Home The Most Important Place
The things I make are not always practical. Sometimes they are, and even those that aren’t I will make because I intend to use or enjoy them in some way.
I make things to use, own and wear because I want my efforts to go into building that life in the hours outside of work. This is where my husband and I can affect our most radical changes to make things better for us, where we can do things for no other reason than that they please us, so when I make something I try to make it beautiful. By making the ordinary parts of life beautiful (and beauty can be in the form of humour, or functional form; it doesn’t always have a relation to the ornate) then these moments at the end of each day, or at weekends, can build beauty into every experience at walking into a room.
Those Seams I Can’t Adjust
I have been trying to feel a little more brave in my convictions of the things that I make. If making an item of clothing I will invariably make that thing because something about it makes me happy: so polka-dot fabric with interspersed bunny rabbits and squirrel woodland scenes have both made their way onto my clothing recently, and I have had to almost psyche myself up to wear these things that I really do enjoy, as I run the balance of being thought of as maybe someone who is a bit eccentric. It’s a difficult decision each morning: I want to feel happy, and I want to feel happy in what I wear, and the things I make are the things that make me happiest… but at the same time I also want to fit in. Not blend in so much that I disappear, but also not be the ‘Crazy Cat Lady’ of the office. Add to this that I have terrible self-confidence issues about the way I look and my appearance, and some days I can get myself into a tangle judging whether I can allow myself to be ‘me’.
My website gives me a place to feel comfortable in myself, joy unrestrained in the clothes that I wear. This doesn’t make mean that I don’t get terribly anxious having my photo taken, or squint as I upload pictures so that I don’t look at myself too closely, but I am trying to almost force myself to just live with the way I look, and if I can come to term with the basic form of the person underneath then maybe I can just let my clothes be part of my personality. I had a comment left on my blog this week, not on my clothes but on the person underneath it, telling me something that was wrong and that I should change it. I’m just a soft-bodied creature like any other, and luckily these types of comments are rare, but my body and face are not things that I can adjust the seams of, change the colours of or take in or out a few inches like I can my clothes.
This website is part of my non-work achievement, where I get to talk about some of those parts of my life of self-accomplishment – the small goals made through single stitches that enrich life to give me something to look forward to every single day: ideas to sometimes keep me awake at night and new things to build life around. If you are kind enough to enjoy these little journeys of invention, creation, beauty and achievement with me, then I very honestly and sincerely thank you.
Love Crazy Cat Lady* (who doesn’t have a cat)
(But does have a Giantmonk.)