I’m very interested in time and efficiency in crafting, and on other small scales. Overall in life I’m not very efficient, but for example, I’ve come up with a focused way to get the dishes done very quickly, and I can produce a sermon or paper very quickly (it won’t necessarily be good, but it will exist). I wrote a long time ago about different kinds of time and the different kinds of knitting that suit them. (Can’t find this post for the life of me. Argh!) These days I’m less of a multi-project knitter than I am a multi-crafter, and I now find I am thinking in seasons.
It may be a trend (I am never the sort of person who will know about trends), but I’m certainly seeing lots of people on Instagram and ravelry who are identifying less as knitters in an isolated sense, but more as crafters or makers. There are LOTS of knitters, but also lots of people who do more than knit. I’m surprised to find myself one of them. I always thought of myself as a knitter who spins. Now with the addition of sewing and more intense interest in spinning, I find I have one project going in each rather than several knitting projects.
Because different crafts are so – well – different from each other, they demand different kinds of time much more than different kinds of knitting projects do. Sewing goes very quickly compared to knitting, but it fits much better into a few large chunks of time rather than many small ones. Knitting still thrives on its flexibility- the ability to pick it up and work on it immediately, put it down after even a short time and be productive, and its portability. Knitting was made for found time.
Spinning is somewhere in between. It doesn’t take much to get going, but I find I like to have at least fifteen minutes at the wheel to feel like it was worth my time. I like to get into a headspace with spinning, and three minutes is just disappointing.
I’ve seen other crafters talk about how their crafting changes with the seasons. Rachel says she spins on her spindles all summer since she’s outside watching the kids play, and spins on her wheels the rest of the time. A different Rachel said she knits and spins more in the summer and sews in the winter.
Kids, too, are a season. The entire portion of life with small children in one’s house is a season, and within that, there are seasons as each child goes in and out of transitions, needing more attention or independence.
The “fourth trimester”, the first three months of a baby’s life, is a very special and challenging season. I am at present halfway through it. It’s going well; baby is growing and thriving and has no unusual problems. I have nothing to complain about and so much to be thankful for. But it’s also very hard, and I have to be careful to take care of myself, so that this season can be as enjoyable as possible for all involved. So I ask myself questions about how I spend my time this season, and how I can fit in a little bit of the crafting and reading that feeds my soul in a way that fits a special season.
See, here’s how my fifteen minutes of spinning actually worked: I didn’t really have just 15 minutes; most days I had up to two hours of kid-free time. Most of that time was spent doing chores or cooking, but since I had such a good chunk, I felt fine about taking fifteen minutes of that time to spin, and usually another 15 to read the Bible.
Latest big spin, finally finished on Friday, primarily finished via fifteen minutes a day, until the last quarter which was finished thanks to Daddy and the Moby D. More on this spin anon.
Now I don’t have the two hours. All I have is found time, and that is how I’m doing the necessary things: squeezing cooking and dishes and cleaning into the fifteen minutes here and there that I can put the baby down and she’s not screaming. I can get longer chunks of time by wrapping the baby, but there’s only so much my body can take of that.
What has been working is knitting. I can pick up my knitting and do a few rows (do a few lines? Oh dear) without worrying that the baby will wake up; she can wake up if she wants to. I can knit with the baby wrapped for a short time. I’ve started a sock, which is easier on my arms than a sweater.
(Sewing, I don’t have to tell you, is Right Out for a while. I’m hoping to get back to my kamiik in the fall.)
Being so slowed down, I’ve been enjoying the process more than ever. I see the individual stitches. I appreciate the feel of the yarn. I’m not knitting for deadlines or speed; I’m just knitting for a deep breath, for a prayer, for a reminder that I don’t have to always be worrying about the next thing.
Spinning has been made possible in larger chunks by my husband. I do all the night parenting and he does a larger chunk of taking care of the older girls, so he doesn’t get a lot of baby time. So after the bigs are in bed, on nights that he’s home, he wraps the baby. He bounces her to sleep on our big exercise ball, we put on some Star Trek, and I get a solid hour or two to spin. It’s much more satisfying that way, and if I get even two of those nights in a week, I’m making just as much progress as I would be with fifteen minutes a day.
What I’m still working on is Bible reading. Journaling is next to impossible (aside from this which I do on my phone when I’m pinned for a nap), but getting Gods word into me needs to be a higher priority. I let go of reading a large commentary, thinking I’d read one on my kindle and have it for vacation. But I don’t always have my kindle on me, and I’m just not disciplined enough on my phone to use it for devotions. This might be one of those times when it doesn’t matter if it’s consistent, or if I’m working through a study: I’ve just got to do it, even if it’s different every day. Or maybe even do morning prayer in a short form way I can memorize. Hm. I’m going to keep thinking about this; let me know if this is interesting to you, and if it is I’ll let you know how it goes.
How do you make sure you feed your soul during intense/busy/blessed/complicated seasons? Have you found your crafting changing with the year? What are you struggling to make time for?