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Balancing on a Treadmill

January 8, 2012

It’s that time of the year, the time when people make those pesky resolutions. They vow to be better people, or spend less, or save more, or the BIG one, lose weight. I can’t think of how many times I have made that particular resolution. It was that general, “I am going to lose weight!” vow on January 1st. By January 7th, I was back into these:

And I was back to drinking this:

Two years ago, for my birthday, I vowed to change those habits. Instead of a general resolution, I made a specific one. I was going to lose 30 lbs. I had a goal now. I had a plan. I got myself a diet and off I went. I wasn’t an expert at fitness and weight loss, but I knew experts and I milked them for any and all help I could get. You know what? I did it. And then some. I lost almost 40 lbs, started running, joined a gym, got a trainer, started swimming again, walked the dog for miles and miles. Last summer I was in the best shape I had been in since before I had babies. I could run 5 miles if I wanted to. I could go to the gym with a spring in my step, head to “Man Zone”, the free weight area of the gym, and be almost confident in my ability to use the equipment there with ease. Assisted squats with 175 lbs on the bar, no problem! I quit the diet sodas, cut out most of the sweets, I ate smaller, healthier portions of all my meals. I was there!

As with all good things, it started to fade away. Now, it’s January and I have been to the gym only sporadically. I am still generally the same weight I was then, but things have alarmingly shifted south again. The good news is, I don’t like it and I have learned that I have the power to change it. Starting today. I am getting back on that pesky treadmill and running until I can’t run anymore. OK, running for 30 minutes at least.

While this seems off topic for a blog on crafting, it is actually quite relevant to it. Knitting is a fairly sedentary activity. I have seen some people able to walk and knit, but I am not one of them. I have to sit to do it. I have been sitting A LOT lately, finishing Christmas gifts, starting mittens, looking for patterns. I am all ready to start my next project. I have printed out the pattern, dug the yarn out of the stash, and located the correct needles. I might even swatch for it. It is a sweater. This one. Or maybe the other one.

This is where the knitting and the resolutions suddenly come together. A sweater is an investment. It is a commitment of time (immense amounts of time, no matter how fast you knit) and money (yarn ain’t cheap.) You invest yourself into making that sweater, knowing that it won’t be an instant gratification item like those mittens and hat were. You have to really WANT that sweater to hang on through over 1000 yards of yarn. But before you can even start that sweater, before you even cast on that first stitch, do you know what you have to do? You have to decide what SIZE to make it.


If you want a sweater to fit, you have to get out that tape measure and you have to measure your inches. You have to be honest with the numbers and come to terms with what those measurements are. The beauty of knitting yourself a sweater is that you can make it fit your measurements, not some general measurements decided on by a fashion company. Do you have long arms? No problem, just add a couple more inches to the arms. Short torso? Take out a pattern repeat. This is where you find out what kind of person you are. Are you honest? Do you find the correct size, factor in the recommended ease and cast on the correct amount of stitches for that size? Or do you pick that size that you think you should be? Are you that person who says, “I know that the pattern sizing for the bust go from 34 inches to 38 inches to 42 inches, but since I am only measuring 36 inches I should cast on for 34, because when I get this done, I know I will be back to that?” Do you pick the size that you USED to be, the size that you ARE or the size that you WANT to be?

Beauty is another reason for knitting that sweater. When we craft, aren’t we trying to make something beautiful? Whether designing a scrapbook page layout, knitting a mitten, sewing a quilt or creating a stained glass panel, we are trying to create a beautiful object. We spend our precious time creating something that we find beautiful, something that gives us pleasure when we make it and after it is finished. If this is the case, and I am making a sweater, if I don’t feel beautiful, am I going to be able to create something beautiful? Or am I going to spend hours on something that has to be a bigger size than I want it because I am a bigger size than I want to be? Is the beauty we create in us, or do we create beauty to make ourselves better?

Me? I pick the size I want to be. Every single time. Something in my head tells me that I can do that because when I get this thing done, I am sure I will be that size. I have managed to get myself there before, so surely I can do it again. I know myself well enough to know that I am not going to be happy if I cast on those extra stitches to go up a size. I don’t want to be there and I think I can control it if I make that sweater the size I think it should be. This time, I am going to try and be honest with myself, what I want, and what I know I can be. I am going to pick the size that is closest to the ACTUAL inches that I measured. I am going to knit the sweater to fit me. I will have faith that it will be perfect because I made it for myself, with MY measurements.

Just to be on the safe side though, I think I will wait to cast on those first few stitches until after I get back from the gym.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. Sheila permalink
    January 11, 2012 10:59 am

    I like the sweater with the hood…in case you aren’t half way done yet. I know how fast you knit!

  2. January 11, 2012 11:09 am

    I like that one too, and it has less new stitches for me to figure out. I do, however, need to learn how to read charts better, which is what is holding me back from casting it on. I went back to mittens, and socks, and baby valentine hats. 😉 Maybe tonight I will get up the guts to try it.

  3. January 19, 2012 11:07 am

    I appreciate the article, it was interesting and compelling. I found my way here through Google, I shall get back one more time 🙂

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