In the Immortal Words of The Knitmore Girls: “When Knitting Attacks!”

Well, here is the tale of my recent major knitting fail.  I talked a while back about signing up for my first two KALs (Knit-A-Longs).  One of them went wonderfully.  I have a beautiful color affection shawl that I enjoy.  The other . . . not so much.

The Holla Back Tank was supposed to be my first foray into garments (as opposed to accessories and the like).  It is a pretty straightforward pattern and it seemed like a good way to go to increase my knitting skills.  But sometimes things just go wrong.

Sigh.

The Knitmore Girls run a fantastic podcast that I listen to regularly.  On said podcast, they have a segment they call “When Knitting Attacks!”  Well, the Holla Back Tank is my own tale of knitting woe.

I would like to say, as a credit to the Holla Back Knits folks who were hosting this KAL, I do think the pattern is well-written and totally manageable.  But for some reason, it just wasn’t working for me.  The techniques that did me in are techniques that I have done before without trouble, so it is a bit of a mystery, really.  I think that maybe other knitters can attest to this, though, that sometimes, when you start to have a bit of trouble with a project, it can mess with your head in such a way that you just have to put the needles down and walk away.

I have done this.

The front of the tank is done – after a few mishaps, but the back was just problematic.  I made small errors, that were too visible for my liking.  Each time I frogged, my enthusiasm for the project waned a bit and my frustration level increased, which, as any knitter knows, creates a situation that is increasingly likely to result in one of the following scenarios:

a)      The WIP (work in progress) being shoved into the deep recesses of a closet or drawer somewhere to be rediscovered with less frustration at a later date;

b)      Knitting needles being thrown across the room; or

c)      Massive amounts of cursing and berating of the yarn that is betraying you.

I may be guilty of all three.

The fact of the matter is that I couldn’t invest more time and energy in this project right now, with holiday knitting time wasting away.  I do think I’ll return to this project another day – some magical day when I dig through the storage space inside of my ottoman and discover this long lost project with renewed determination and excitement.

Until then, holiday knitting has commenced!

My Workday Survival Tool

If my workday was presented to you in a pie chart, it would look something like this:

I work in social services.  I entered this field driven by a fierce need to know that my work (at least in some small way) makes a positive difference in the community and lives around me.

The moments when I am able to feel connected to that mission and see it working in action genuinely make all the other moments worthwhile.

With that said, for all the warm, fuzzy moments, for all the successes (big and small) that I get to see, there are at least 3 times as many stress-inducing, tension-filled, anxiety-producing moments.  It’s just the nature of the work that I do.

I haven’t even yet mentioned all the mind-numbing paperwork and data entry.  Seriously – when it comes to paperwork, social service workers can compete with accountants and legal aides any day of the week.

I tell you this in a lead up to sharing with you my secret weapon against the stress and dreariness that can consume large portions of my day.  If I’m not careful, every ounce of creative, energetic spirit I have can be sucked out of me by the time I get home.  But I have found a way to help temper it a bit.  A little something that helps me feel levity amongst the pain, sadness, and stress around me.

Here it is.  My secret weapon is  .  .  .  Podcasts!

Wait.

What?

Oh, you were probably expecting something a bit sexier?  More exciting?  More .  .  . prolific?

Well, I am serious about this one – however simple it may be.  Podcasts have been my lifeline on rough days. Specifically, I most often listen to creatively-focused podcasts.  Those that emphasize making, discovering, and exploring are high in my queue.  Being able to connect to this sort of creative energy amongst the gray cube walls and the two (yes – TWO) computer screens I work on throughout the day (between meetings with clients) makes all the difference in the world to my personal sustainability.

I wanted to give a shout out to and share with you some of my favorite podcasts.  Check them out if you can.  I highly recommend them to help keep you grounded amongst a stressful environment, as well as to foster your own creative spirit!

My Favorite Creatively-Minded Podcasts

What are your favorite podcasts?  And, how do you connect to your creative self during stressful times?