Tuesday, February 7, 2017

That Cold, Heartless, Knitter Critic

Sometimes, knitting is a barfight between your fingers, your needles, your mind, body, and spirit. And sometimes it’s your spirit that loses. Last night was one of those nights.

It was another beautiful day of working on my senior, Estonion lace inspired knitwear collection, when bam!πŸ’₯ πŸ’₯πŸ’₯

The inner-critic hit again.

This nameless, faceless ghost lives inside me and does this from time to time. Taunting me. Cursing me. It likes to creep up slowly and whisper insults at me without me noticing, but by the time I’m aware of its presence, it’s too late; my shoulder is aching, my callused fingers are burning; my mind and body have both taken sides with the critic; I can go on knitting no longer.

For this collection of mine (title still pending) I’ll need to be knitting 8 hours a day and pattern drafting the rest. Next month, I’ll need to step it up to knitting 12-16 hours a day. With thousands of hours still ahead of me, and my stitches slipping, yesterday was a battle I admittedly lost. Critic, one. Esther, zero.

But it had to happen, you guys. I’m so glad it did. It was a strategic loss and I’ll tell you why. Hand knitting has and always will be a slow process. There’s no better example of this than Estonion culture.

For them, knitting wasn’t a hobby. It was tradition. It was about creativity and innovation. At a very young age, little Estonion girls would break out their needles and experiment with new techniques. They’d knit piece after piece, all this so that one day, when they were married, they could give these knits away to guests at their ceremony. And let me tell you, it was a ceremony, shawties. The whole town showed up to that Shindawg and the Brides’ knits represented who she was as a homeslice. It was a way of life, yo.

It was not something they churned out as fast as they could to meet a deadline. Knitting was a slow, organic, creative process. It defined them.

I realize today that I was holding my needles too closely and twisting my stitches incorrectly. (If any of you know a trick to increase the brioche stitch, lemme know, dawg).  I was rushing. I was working too tense, too fast, too long and too critically.

When I got home, I had a headache and a rowdy knot in my shoulder that wouldn’t stop yelling,

Don’t ignore me, you stupid, little, yellow piece of cake—you know your gauge is sloppy—oh, and that lentel soup you made? You don’t even like it. It sucks. Everyone at Friendsgiving was just pretending to enjoy it because they felt bad for you, but they shouldn’t, you know why? Because you SUCK.

I was done for the day and I was away from the needles, but the inner critic—that cold, heartless, Knitter Critic—wouldn’t shut up. It grew louder and louder and I cried a little.

But when I woke up this morning everything was different. My mind, body and spirit were working together again as always and I realized: last night may have been a loss, but the score is not Critique: one, Esther: zero.

I’m gonna’ slow it down, lock it in. Block it, draft it, and get it done, one stitch at a time.


  1. All I can say it it looks like it's made of moonbeams to me. Just gorgeous.

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  2. Such lovely, intricate work! I enjoyed learning about the Estonian Knitters also. They so valued their "gifts" to give at their wedding, they worked for years! How unlike our American culture who puts more value on "money spent" than the true personal value of the gift.

  3. gosh. such patience....and such reward!!

  4. oh! i absolutely love your work :) no use for the innercritic but still. I'm not in designs school so a little less pressure but i also use knitting as a creative procces.. so slow, and often not even satisfactory. I basicly formulated it on my once as My hate/love relationship with crafting and designing is based on the fact that I find it hard to wait until an idea is fully formed, I want to make it, and I learn a lot of my impatience: I learn techniques, what works, and what doesn’t, what I love and what not. Haha and then what? What do I do with an object that is the result of haste and a vague starting point and has an unsatisfactory ending? I wear it. I wear things that are ‘there’. . now and not yet. a lot of times things are not satisfactory.. but you GROW. and that's simply beautiful

  5. As a fellow knitter, there are many ways to increase a brioche st! I find this knitting blog helpful (not my blog) and easier to link you than just typing it all out myself http://www.briochestitch.com/archives/onecolorbrioche/basic-increases