What Knitting Taught Me About Life Balance
Welcome to the Fall Equinox Tarot Blog Hop! Our topic is Life Balance. Three writers are participating, so you can use the links at the top and bottom of this post to navigate to the other blogs. I explored life balance using the metaphor of knitting. Stick around for the Tarot Spread for Life Balance at the end of this post!
From Cotton to Wool
It’s dark out when I get up. I could go out to see the morning planets, but it’s overcast. All summer I had to go out at 4:30 if I wanted to stargaze. There are as many rainy days as sunny now. The last threateningly hot day has gone and the first cat-soaking rain has come. My cotton yarn is mostly used up and I’m coming home with batches of wool. This is the equinox in Seattle.
As I contemplated what balance I wanted to bring to my life at this twice-yearly opportunity, I remembered the Tarot Blog Hop. Friends, fun, blogging, and tarot. Why had I let that slip away over the past year? Easy to remedy, though! I hopped on Facebook, put out a call for writers to do a speedy 24-hour hop, and within a few hours two others had joined me to discuss tarot and life balance (and many more excited to do our next seasonal hop at Samhain). Specifically, since it had been so long since the last hop, I asked people what they do when they’re not blogging about tarot? What brings balance to their lives?
For this creative soul, I love making things. One of my many crafty outlets is knitting. I mostly design and knit tarot bags. But about six months ago I decided to make a sweater. Just a really big tarot bag, right? With arms… Ack. I gave it a try and voila! I had a sweater! Then another. And another. A summer tank top. Who knew cabling was so easy? So hats for all my friends. A shawlette in kettle dyed yarn to set off a plain linen dress. And just yesterday a delayed order of yarn arrived for a sweater for the boyfriend. Which I am not working on right now because I’m writing this. So, balance.
When Life is Out of Balance
Last spring, a sweater knitting pattern caught my eye. I loved its simplicity and clever design. I hemmed and hawed. (It takes me much contemplation to come to a decision.) Finally, at the end of April, I bought the pattern! Then I looked it over. Short rows? What are those? So many instructions. Oh, this is too hard! And the hip dimensions are the same as the bust? That’s not going to work for this curvy girl. I faltered.
The Fresh Start
I swerved and started a search for the easiest, cutest, would-look-good-on-me pullover. Ta-da! The Everyday Comfort Raglan Sweater. It still seemed overwhelming, but I already had the yarn from a many-years-ago-rejected project.
And so I started. It was enlightening to see how the yoke (tarot bag knitting so far: a big, bag-like, ever widening cylinder) simply divided into two arms and a body! Brilliant! To make it grow from the small neck to the full width of the body, like an inverted bowl, you simply added stitches by wrapping the yarn over the needle — called yarn-overs. I had done plenty of these in my tarot bags. They create small holes called eyelets. This gave the sweater lacy details while also creating the right shape. It was so easy! I was totally hooked.
A Harder Project
I had done a lot of lace knitting in my tarot bags. I wanted a pretty pullover, lacy and feminine. Again, an epic search and I finally decided on the Summer Romance short-sleeved sweater. The construction was identical to my first sweater, and therefore familiar to me. But the sleeves and back were completely knitted in a lace pattern. I had lots of experience with lace, but not at this scale. I messed up and ripped it out. And then again. Ugh! By the third time I had learned several lessons. 1. I needed markers to let me know where I was. 2. I could not talk, watch Netflix, or put myself in a situation where I could be interrupted. I had to concentrate. 3. I had to stop when my concentration waned. It was an easy lace pattern, but this was what I needed!
Recipe for Life Balance: One Hard, One Easy
So, life balance was the topic, right? Here’s what I learned about balance. I wanted to knit every minute of the day! But this top needed my undivided attention. So I started a second project, the Top Down Trapeze Pullover (yes, I love my A-line shapes). It was very similar to the Everyday Comfort, and extremely easy to knit. I could talk, watch my shows, put it down and pick it up again without getting lost. For my life balance, I needed two projects at a time. One hard, one easy.
Some knitters will describe themselves as being monogamous to their projects. They focus on one thing at a time, knitting it from start to finish without deviating. This can help them finish things! They don’t get scattered by too many projects at once. Me, I’m polyamorous with my knitting. I mostly do two at a time, but when I can slip in an extra something quick, well, why not.
Balance Leads to Productivity
Seriously though, working steadily on both a high maintenance project and a low maintenance project lets me get more knitting done during the day, lets me work on something easy when I’m done with the hard stuff, and keeps my motivation up. In terms of discipline, I do put effort into both projects every day (well, most days).
When Life is Balanced
One sweater led to another and another. I’ve completed ten projects in the last six months — four tops and six hats. I also have the next hard sweater on the needles. The easy shawlette is giving me Five of Wands pains right now, but will soon be dealt with and checked off the list. And then I’ll start the boyfriend’s sweater as my easy project. And there’s yet another project lined up as well! My knitting life is so well balanced now, that I’m ready to start on my next life project: finding balance in my writing life. This post is my Ace of Wands first step!
Tarot Spread for Life Balance
Do you need some life balance? Pick one aspect of your life, something that is overwhelming you right now, and use this spread to find your balance! And more than that, what success can lead you to.
- 10 of Swords — What Has Defeated You. The first sweater knitting pattern I chose was too hard. Position 1 asks, What is overwhelming you at this time that needs to be brought into balance?
- Ace of Wands — First Step. I was able to start on my goal once I found an easier pattern. Position 2 of the Tarot Spread for Life Balance asks, What is the first step you can take to make this issue more balanced?
- Nine of Cups — Scale it Up. I was able to start small with techniques that were familiar, and let my project grow in size. Position 3 asks, How can you scale this beginning into the ultimate success you desire?
- Five of Wands — Solving Problems. When I hit a difficulty in my knitting, at first I ripped it out and started again. This let me discover the rules I had to practice to achieve success. Position 4 of this spread asks, How can you most productively address the problems that arise?
- The Lovers — Finding Life Balance. I realized that I had to be polyamorous with my projects, working one easy and one hard. Position 5 of the Tarot Spread for Life Balance guides you in determining, What is the balance that will lead you to success?
- Eight of Pentacles — Steady Progress. I also discovered that I needed to hit daily or weekly goals to finish my projects. Position 6 advises you how to maintain steady progress toward your goal.
- Three of Cups — Your Success. Finishing my first sweater led me on to complete three pullovers as well as many other projects. It also brought enough balance to my life to encourage me to work on other overwhelming areas in my life. Position 7 shows you all that you can accomplish if you bring balance to even one area of your life.
Hop on For a Balanced Perspective!
How have our other bloggers found their life balance? Use the links below to find out!