Thursday, February 14, 2008

Fighting Tofu

I have been in an ambivalent frame of mind when it comes to knitting. As Natalie Goldberg writes in Writing Down the Bones, I was fighting the tofu. Fighting the tofu gets you nowhere.

The conversation in my head goes something like this:
"I want to spin."
"You need to finish knitting Caitlin's sweater."
"I'll knit later; after I've spun for a little while."
"You'll knit right now!"

So while my head talks to itself, nothing gets done. I don't spin nor do I knit. Goldberg goes on to say "If those characters in you want to fight, let them fight. Meanwhile, the sane part of you should quietly get up, go over to your notebook, and begin to write from a deeper, more peaceful place." So for the past couple of evenings, I've let my head fight it out while I picked up my needles and knit. I don't have pictures yet. The knitting is easy; I can do it without looking. And, after awhile my head stops fighting and begins to enjoy the creative process.

This sweater which has taunted me since the end of January is practically knitting itself because I've stopped resisting the process. I've got my knitting mojo back. It's not come back in a blaze of fire. It's just back and I've stopped looking for reasons not to knit. I didn't really do anything special to get my mojo back. For the first time in a very long time, I let my life take its course and did what felt right.

If spinning felt right, that was fine. I spun. I even thought about the sweater, but I always brought myself back to what I was doing at that moment. I just took note of the command to get knitting and filed it away. I kept spinning.

A few days ago, I picked up the sweater thinking I would knit a few rounds. And those few rounds became a few more. Tuesday night while knitting at a friend's house, I enjoyed the conversation and let my fingers feel the knitting. When I got home I was surprised to see that I had knit about 3 more inches of the body.

Yesterday, I was reading Goldberg and came across the phrase "fighting the tofu." It seemed to perfectly describe what I've been going through with knitting. Now, mind you, I've read this book a few times and this never jumped out at me before. I really like it.

And, I'm going to stop fighting the tofu.

Oh, and this is what I've spun when I haven't been knitting.

Natural dyed handspun

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