You don't have to make the things you don't want to

Repeat this affirmation to yourself: I knit because I enjoy it, and I don't have to knit things I don't enjoy.

I've never liked knitting scarves. I bind them off too short, I leave them half-finished, they sit crumpled in a drawer unappreciated.

The prospect of six feet of the same stitches over, and over, and over, without change, just leaves me snoring. Sure, I'll put in a good effort for the first few feet, but I'm bound to lose interest.

Knitted scarves are not for me. I've amassed a collection of beautiful natural fibre woven scarves - thin, warm, and versatile - and the funny thing is, sometimes I've felt guilty about that. I'm a crafter, a little voice in my head says. Shouldn't I be wearing a scarf I made?

The answer is, nah.

I knit for my own pleasure, and just because I can make something, doesn't mean I'm obliged to do so. Why guilt myself into a project I won't enjoy?

So I gave myself permission to not knit scarves anymore.

Over the years I have a lot of stash that has been "earmarked" toward certain projects. And, over the 10+ years I've been knitting, my style and tastes have changed, and I also have a better idea of what I can knit that I will actually wear.

There are yarns and patterns that have sat like an albatross around my neck. I've been feeling like I have to make them because I decided, 5 years ago, that I would. Forget that noise! Why am I letting me pile guilt on myself for my own hobby?

At the beginning of the year, my Ravelry queue was 12 pages long. That's 350 patterns, give or take. Slowly, I whittled it down to 10 pages... and now, it's stabilised at 6. That's still 160 patterns that I want to knit, but it's a much more accurate picture of what I want to make now - not what I wanted to make 10 years ago and never got around to.

Am I ever really going to make a ruffled, beaded knitted evening bag? Amigurumi is cute, but do I enjoy those small fiddly projects? I already have a pair of everyday mittens, what would I do with 5 more? How many lace shawls do I really need in my life?

Karie Westermann's blog has a great series of articles about incorporating your handmade pieces into your wardrobe that covers this in further detail. I took a long hard look at what I enjoy knitting, and the handknits that I enjoy using. Now, it's much more heavily weighted towards sweaters and socks. Less lace, more texture. I haven't totally cut out everything frilly and feminine, but being realistic about my wardrobe, there's a good deal less.
It's all too easy for leisure activities to turn into an obligation - how many times has someone sighed to you about the length of their Netflix list, or the size of their to-read pile? Sometimes it's best to let it go - otherwise it weighs you down.


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