December 07, 2020 2 min read 0 Comments

I saw this story the other day and thought it was surprisingly apt.  I am paraphrasing.

A woman suffering from depression told her therapist that things were bad and she was just barely getting by.  The therapist asked her what specifically she was struggling with.  Describing the piles of dishes in the sink she complained that her dishwasher didn't do a good job so she had to scrub the dishes before she even put them in the dishwasher. The prospect of scrubbing was just overwhelming.

The therapist nodded, as therapists usually do, and said, "Run the dishwasher twice." The woman was like, "What? No, you're not supposed--" But the therapist cut her off.  "Who says you're not supposed to run the dishwasher twice? Hell, run it three times if you need to.  Who cares? Rules do not exist, so stop giving yourself rules."  Mic drop.

I think we knitters do this to ourselves too.  I can't start a new project until I finish the <insert work in progress here>.  It could be a sweater from 25 years ago.  It might be a too-hard bit of lace knitting.  Or a too-big and too boring afghan.  The point is that we allow some arbitrary rule imprison us.  I am a professional, and I can tell you with absolute authority, that there are no knitting rules. No where does it say anything about starting new projects, or finishing old ones. Nothing addresses quantities of yarn to be bought, or the manner in which we divest ourselves of yarn and projects that no longer bring us joy.  I'm not a Marie Kondo devotee, but heck yeah, if that project doesn't bring you joy, acknowledge what it has taught you about yarn and knitting and style, and yourself--whatever, and move on.  

Some rules are good, important even.  Traffic rules are a matter of safety.  Monopoly and basketball have rules ensure that everyone knows the game and can play fairly.  But knitting isn't a matter of safety, and it sure isn't a competitive sport. 

The woman in the story went home, loaded up her dishwasher, and ran it twice. When she didn't have to stand and scrub, that bit of the kitchen was under control, and she felt better.  She folded her laundry and put it in whichever drawer it fit.  No more arbitrary rules meant that she was free to accomplish again. She got to a place where she could manage, and she rinsed her dishes and put them in the dishwasher and only had to run it once.

We often struggle with a project, or a place in our life, or in the world that is just overwhelming.  That big or complicated piece is just too much and we need something small and manageable.  A little win to get past that rough spot.  Or maybe just something new and pretty that makes you smile. Knit what you want.  There are no rules, and you don't need anyone's permission. I like to remind myself that no matter how expensive the yarn, it's still waaay cheaper than therapy!

Until we are gathered around the table again, keep knitting, and create something beautiful.

Warmly,

~Ellen

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