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The in-process mess

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The in-process mess

I spent much of last week getting the house ready for the holidays.  I’m not an over-the-top type when it comes to Christmas decorating, but a friend asked if we would be on the Health Share Holiday House Tour this year, and it’s such a worthy cause that I couldn’t say no. But when people pay actual money to see them, your decorations have to be extra.  

So, I enlisted several trusted friends to help me hose down the mantles with greenery and hang a power of garland and ribbons and wreaths - oh my.  Amazing women. Even my guys were great, hauling boxes to the dump, sweeping, and shoving stuff into drawers and closets. Heaven forbid there be evidence that anyone actually live in the house let alone consume food or brush her teeth. 

By Sunday, everything was fine, but there in the thick of it, I was not so sure. It was hard to see past the ladders in every room, the spools of ribbon and bits of greenery. It's the in-process mess.  Because as we all know, no matter how hard you try to stay on top of it, creativity is messy business. 

Even with a tidy creative art like knitting, we know that sometimes our yarn gets tangled in our bag. Those in-process pieces, with their loose ends and curled edges are very messy -- makes us wonder how all that will ever be a sweater.  It’s especially overwhelming for newer knitters who wonder, “Is this really going to turn into something? Will it fit me? The pieces look so small.” I get it. Even if you’re working in the round, there are sleeves to be picked up, collars to be worked, and plenty of loose ends to be woven in.   

When you’re in the thick of things, it can look like a hopeless mess, but you stay on it.  Step by step you put things in order, and it all comes together beautifully.  I know it’s easier said than done, but don’t let the in-process mess cloud your judgement or kill your confidence. Whatever creative process you’ve undertaken - from knitting, to raising a child -- remember that those messy pieces will all come together, and it will be amazing.  

I look forward to seeing you in the shop and around the table.  You, and any messy bits you are working on, are always welcome here.



Comments on this post (7)

  • Dec 10, 2019

    I really love all your newsletters —always so meaningful, brilliantly written and a joy to experience!

    — Gilda Ongkeko

  • Dec 10, 2019

    Thank you for this. It’s what I needed to hear at this current moment. 😊

    — Amanda

  • Dec 10, 2019

    Thank you, Jill, for your sweet words. What beautiful creative things are you doing these days?

    — Ellen

  • Dec 10, 2019

    Reading along, enjoying the ride, agreeing with your words of wisdom, when “ZING”, you threw in the raising of a child and my mind went immediately to my daughter who is struggling with a strong-willed 3 year old! So, I’m sending your wisdom and encouragement to her. Thank you, once again, for your ability to connect knitting to life. When are you going to publish your “Ellenisms”?? Merry Christmas, you are a wonderful 🎁

    — Cynthia Rose

  • Dec 10, 2019

    the in-process mess is REAL, you are so correct

    on a related note, you might find this funny, if you haven’t seen it yet – – it’s some deeply relatable content

    (“get rid of the couches, we can’t let people know we SIT!! there can be NO SIGN OF LIVING IN THIS HOUSE.”)

    — kelly mcgowan

  • Dec 10, 2019

    Ellen your message is beautiful and couldn’t have come at a better time for me. I am planning on coming back to the shop after the holidays. I know I have been MIA and have been tentative in coming back but you always seem to open a door. Happy Holidays to you and yours.

    — Chris

  • Dec 10, 2019

    Beautiful words Ellen that gift our hearts and hands creative Joy. I see your home in my mind’s eye and imagine it is stunningly gorgeous decked and decorated for a wonderful cause! Happy holidays!

    — Jill

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