the craft of balance

The past two weeks here at Chez Wiseheart have been a wee bit overmuch, methinks. Deadlines and pressure and appointments, oh my.

I’m always afraid to admit when I’m overwhelmed by deadlines, because maybe someone will hesitate to offer me work if they think I am too overloaded. Maybe folks will think that I can’t schedule my time. Maybe, maybe, maybe.

The fact is: It is hard to tell the truth when I am worried about what others will think of me afterwards. (Thank you to MadManKnitting, one of my Twitter followers, for pointing this out. Check out his blog; he’s an interesting and thoughtful guy.)

It is hard to tell the truth, period; the truth that I am human and have the same human ups and downs as anyone else. I wish this blog could be some shining example of the crafty thoughts of a Great Human Being, but…phooey. There’s only me here, and so me is all you are gonna get on this channel.

Why, yes, I am playing with my iPhone, why do you ask?

Self-revelation is one of the hardest parts of being a public writing figure in our community. My writing is pretty personal, as far as blogs go; but I am a public figure, and a wide range of folks read this blog: editors, writers, designers, friends, family. I choose what to say and what not to say, and I do have some strong boundaries about what goes online and what doesn’t. Yet, even sharing feelings of being overwhelmed by my work seems risky, makes me feel vulnerable.

Yet Another Yet…I know that this is who I am as a writer; my honesty and vulnerability and Being Real are some of the qualities people like most about my writing, and also some of the things I myself find most compelling and healing about doing the writing. I am someone who is knitting my life together, stitch by stitch; I am someone who is constantly finding errors in the charting of my choices, constantly trying to figure out where the mistakes are and how to mend them (without ripping back too much hard-won work). I write about this process as a whole, because for me, craft and life are truly intertwined in ways I can’t easily explain. I make because I must, in order to be fully who I am; I create because if I don’t, I start unravelling at the seams.

And I know, from conversations with many of you, that I am not the only one knitting a life, crafting a self in the midst of modern-day distractions and pressures.

The OTHER truth is that our lives, no matter who we are, or what we do for a living, are filled with deadlines, time constraints, conflicting priorities. Can anyone out there say that they finish their daily to-do list every single day? (Be honest, now.)

So, if few of us can finish our to-do lists, is it our fault? I think not. I suspect our expectations for what we ought to be able to accomplish in one day have become inflated by the “work smarter, work faster, do the work of 1.5 employees so we can keep costs down” mindset of our culture. TV bombards us with images of spotlessly clean living rooms and kitchens, beautifully dressed women (why do men always get away with jeans and tees, no matter what? It’s the girls who have to do all the dressing up), flawless nails and hair, clean desks at the office, children whose shoes match their outfits and whose hair is always combed into place.

Wanna see my desk? Right now, no tidying up, courtesy of my iPhone? The real me?

That’s me, folks. Creative chaos, plus one of my trusty feline editors at work.

Pretty normal, I suspect, despite my wee feelings of shame over the lack of Tidy.

I know that when I have overlapping deadlines and too many appointments, my regular routine gets in a handbasket and rides off into the sulfur-smelling wastelands.

A couple of weeks of that, and it’s all too easy to feel cranky, self-critical, and desperate to Just Get Things Done.

And then…POOF! One wakes up on the sofa after four hours of sleeping with the deadline knitting in one’s lap.

SURPRISE. Stealth naps can be our bodies’ way of saying, “Hey, slow down a bit and get things in perspective.”

So here I am, three weeks between blog posts, because I pushed even blogging aside in the name of Getting Things Done.

But…blogging is part of who I AM. If I don’t write on a regular basis, I get squirrelly, and I get off-track in terms of priorities (kind of ironic, that), and in general, not blogging is Not Good for Sandi.

And because all I have been doing is deadline writing and deadline knitting, I am hungry for the creative release of spinning anything that pleases me, writing anything that comes to mind.

I do love my work. I love the fact that I have a gift for explaining knitting and spinning in ways that help others enrich their own crafty lives; I love having ideas for pretty things and being able to make those pretty things come alive with charts, yarn, and needles.

But there has to be a balance. Work-time and me-time. Obligation-Knitting and Knitting For Fun. Spinning for the heck of it. Drumcarding because I enjoy it, not because I’m researching some article for money.

OK, maybe I did sneak in a bit of carding whilst no one was looking. These are the three colours in the Shetland fleece I got for my birthday after their first trip through the carder.



Another craft to be mastered, that.

Practice, practice, practice…

Next time: Actual Knitting & Spinning! No, really. Promise.


Super-Cool Award
Category: Using Technology For Awesomeness

I love this photo. Read the caption to get the context.

I’m not sure how blue sheep contribute to our understanding of environmental issues, but there they are.

Ever heard of shadow art? I hadn’t either. Two words: GOBSMACKINGLY AMAZING.

A flower trapped in ice.

Just in case you need to get your ducks in a row…click here.

Some of you have started sending me links for the Chispas section! I love that, thank you. I am looking through them and you’ll see some of my favourites in upcoming posts.

About sandi

Knitter. Spinner. Quilter. UFO Wrangler. Sometime bead artist and weaver. Two toddler-age kittens, 1 permakitten, 2 grownup cats, 1 beloved dog angel, 1 spouse, 1 crazy life. I suppose that the 5 cats make me 1 crazy cat lady; OTOH, apparently, yes, I do need that much feline supervision.
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10 Responses to the craft of balance

  1. molly says:

    it’s ok, sandi – take a breath, carry on and know that we still love you!

  2. Julia in KW says:

    I love your posts – they often speak very clearly to me…but I don’t want you to feel badly because life is getting in the way…breathe, assess, and do what you want and what you can…

  3. Reading about you putting things in perspective always helps ME put things in perspective. Thank you.

  4. Rachel says:

    you often write what I am feeling and unable to put into words. thank you. yes, I am knitting a life and figuring it out one repeat at a time. And, like you and many others, creating a larger-than-reality to-do list (btw, your desk is CLEAN compared to mine. But I know where everything is and when someone “organizes” it for me I lose productivity)

  5. Pat says:

    I so appreciate that you take the time to post. You often say so well what I am or have felt. On another note, you obviously have no idea of what a really cluttered desk looks like! I understand that clutter is defined by the owner but…you should see my desk, and my kitchen table, and my dresser. Peace!!

  6. Arla says:

    I have a sign on my craftroom door that reads, ” A creative mess is better than tidy idleness”, do please don’t be embarassed by you lack of tidy!!! Please know that you’re not alone…Blessings to you!!!

  7. Marilyn Nance says:

    Cut yourself the same break that you would cut someone else. Work hard, but don’t be too hard on yourself.

  8. SandiR says:

    Thanks so much for this post. As someone who makes their living as a freelance knitter and editor, I completely get your reluctance to share those feelings that reflect a lack of total control. No matter how busy I am, I can’t bring myself to turn down work because I’m afraid the client will never call me again. Once they’ve found someone else (someone better?) because I wasn’t available, they will no longer want to use me and I’ll never work again and I won’t be able to pay the rent and I’ll be living in my old Toyota. Fears of becoming a bag lady are never far from the surface.

  9. Seanna Lea says:

    I think I have gotten my to do list completely done two or three times in my life. It involved being on vacation and having a to do list of “read a book” and “take a nap.” Otherwise, there is just too much drive to add more stuff to the day until the day is stretched to the breaking point.

    If I don’t craft every day I get super grumpy, so I completely agree that everyone needs me time to go with their do stuff job time.

    • mary hathaway says:

      I join the others in wondering why you consider your desk messy. In comparison to my desk it’s immaculate.
      Also, very cute picture of the unusually marked kitty

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