I did some knitting this week.
To give you a little background, my mom has been encouraging me to knit for years now. I haven’t been resistant, exactly, just lazy and unmotivated. I remember knitting a little bit in childhood and liking it, but with all of the day-to-day stressors and things that need doing, it feels difficult to carve out time and space for a hobby.
I’m so glad that I picked up those knitting needles, though. I haven’t knit much except a few experimental patches, but I can already see why my mother was so sure that this would be good medicine for me. It’s soothing and calming, and it gives my busy brain and busy hands something to focus on that’s a lot more productive than compulsively checking my phone.
A friend of mine once told me, “you make things, Gena.” It was a compliment, but I remember feeling a little baffled by it at the time. I had (very) early education in the Waldorf school system, a culture in which people of ages really make things: candles, clothing, carvings, crafts of all kinds. I’ve never thought of myself as being particularly crafty or creative in that way.
I’ve gotten better at questioning my own limiting self-identifications, and this may be one that deserves a closer look. I cook, and I bake, and I publish recipes, and I guess that all of that qualifies of making things. I bake bread. And now, I’m knitting. Whether I stick with it for a decades or only through this strange time, I’m enjoying it, and it does indeed feel special to hold in my two hands something that I’ve made.
Knitting is a lot like bread baking in that it begins with confusion and hesitancy. I remember my first few nervous loaves of bread, how hesitantly and gingerly I kneaded, how afraid I was to deflate or overwork the dough. And I was equally frightened when I started to knit this week, moving my needles as if the yarn would snap if I applied too much pressure.
My first few swatches were full of mistakes and inconsistencies, just as my first few loaves of bread were dense and dull and badly shaped. But the thing about making things is that you become more confident as you go, realizing that your fear was the thing that caused the most mistakes in the first place.
During that fearful phase, it really seems as though your bread will never rise, your scoring will never be anything other than a series of messy scratches, your messy knitting will never turn into a bag or scarf or sweater. The desire to keep creating doesn’t spring from an easy start. It comes from having faith, from believing that if you continue to keep going, stitch by stitch or fold by fold, things will come together, sooner or later.
That reminds me a lot of healing. And that’s what I’m thinking about on this Sunday. Here are some recipes and reads.
Hello, summer! Gina’s vegan ricotta and roasted strawberry toast looks lovely.
A brothy, earthy, nourishing pot of carrot white bean soup and herbs from Erin.
Sophie is right: this rainbow salad is definitely the hippie salad of my dreams.
I love Israeli couscous, and I’m excited to give this sweet and savory salad a try.
Mmmm, oatmeal pie crust. Thanks, Marly!
1. A lot of people who had never really celebrated Juneteenth before, myself included, spent some time learning about its history this week. I was also interested to read about different personal perspectives on the day, and this essay struck me with its complexity.
2. It’s been a while since I’ve read directly about the cost of climate change, as the Covid-19 crisis has been so much on the forefront of my mind. But this article is worth looking at, no matter how sobering. I hadn’t known about a rise in heat-related deaths.
3. Speaking of Covid-19, An interesting interview with a disease modeler about contact tracing and quarantine.
4. In cool news, handheld ultrasound devices seem to have potential to speed Covid-19 diagnoses.
5. Finally, a great interview with paleobiologist Melissa Kemp, who offers perspective on biodiversity, being an outdoorswoman, and being a black scientist.
Stitch by stitch, day by day, another week begins. I’ll be back tomorrow with a fruity staple food these days, and some 4th of July friendly recipes soon!
Happy Sunday, friends! I hope you’ve been enjoying the weekend so far, and if you have tomorrow off, I hope you’re resting and enjoying a little extra free time. I’ll be working with clients on Monday, but with exams behind me, I’m taking some time this weekend to catch up with a few friends and to have a much needed date night with Steven (between work and school, he and I have been ships crossing this week!). Here are some reads and food…
In class this past week, one of my yoga teachers shared an excerpt from Nischala Joy Devi’s The Secret Power of Yoga, which is a woman-centric reading and elucidation of the yoga sutras (I picked up the book a couple days later, and I’m enjoying it so far—much less dense and relatable than the more scholarly commentaries on the text). The section he pointed to is entitled “sweets make us sweet.” Devi describes being in India and sharing food with Yoga Master Sri…
It’s interesting, what gets unearthed during stressful times. It was a long week, in spite of the July 4th holiday, thanks to my internship wrapping up and my mom’s knee replacement surgery. She’s doing really well, but these moments are fraught and trying for everyone. I haven’t exactly been a picture of equanimity or grace over the last seven days. What I have been, though—and it’s been interesting to notice this—is honest. I’ve honestly expressed my needs (which included asking for help last…
Happy Sunday, all! I’m back from Melissa‘s wedding, where I had an absolute blast. I’ll have a recap tomorrow, as well as a new recipe for you, but for tonight, a late edition of “weekend reading” 1. Miso Sesame Squash Salad from Love and Lemons 2. Tofu Amaranth Salad from 101 Cookbooks (yay! another use for amaranth) 3. Coco Mint Shake from Young and Raw 4. Pumpkin Pistachio Kale Fried Rice Bowl with Maple Tofu Cubes from Healthy Happy Life 5. Apple Cinnamon Bars from Sweetly Raw (genius,…