Confessions of A Reform[ing] Selfish Knitter

The other day I was sitting in my chair, knitting, as one does, and my daughter said to me – and I quote – “All you do is knit knit knit and then you don’t even wear your knits you just pile them up on the chair. That is rude and selfish!”  (She loves to throw around the word rude. Whatever you do that bothers her – tell her no, make her clean her room, tell her if she doesn’t brush her teeth they will fall out – she calls you rude.) I went on knitting, ignoring her outburst, until she took a breath and came out with this: “Will you knit me a sweater?”

I have gone on record, right here on this blog, many times about what a selfish knitter I am. And I’ve never apologized for it. Rarely have I ever spared a square for someone. I just don’t do it. The more I knit the more it’s about the process, to be sure, but it’s MY process. I knit what I want, when I want and no bossy five year is going to pressure me into changing.

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA! You know where this is going, right?

To be fair, I have knit for others. Why, as recently as the Summer of 2012, I knit not one, not two but FOUR freaking ponchos. None of which were for me. Here’s some proof:


One for Meli, one for Cali. Not pictured is the one for my niece and the one for Meli’s friend. Yes. I even knit for a NON BLOOD RELATIVE.

The truth is that Meli didn’t have to go far to guilt me into knitting for her. Her tirade was accurate on all counts. See, here’s the chair with all the knits.



The most recent knit hangs on the model and the rest get added to the chair. Kind of pathetic, no? I do wear the sweaters – well some of them – and the cowls and the hat but it’s SUMMER.

So she told me she wanted a sweater and I told her okay. Then she drew me a picture of what she wanted. I wish I still had it but her little sister took a scissors to it (I was too busy knitting to notice.) Let’s just say it had everything! Polka dots, stripes, ruffles all going this way and that. Frankly, I told her, this is beyond my abilities. She said I was the best knitter in the world and I said no. I’m not. (Okay even if I am a pretty good knitter I wasn’t going to agree to a project I didn’t at least have a SHOT at enjoying. Am I right?)

I told her about the wonders of Ravelry – that we could sit together and look at lots and lots of sweaters and figure out which one she liked best. This exercise was trying at best. For whatever reason it took her awhile to understand that she didn’t have to have the EXACT sweater in the picture and just because a baby was wearing it didn’t mean that we couldn’t make it in her size and no it doesn’t have to be that color. After much swearing and crying (on my part) she finally decided on a sweater: Granny’s Favourite.

Okay. Super cute sweater. We can do that. She told me it had to be blue green and have hot pink buttons. ONLY THREE buttons. Great! We can do that too. It just so happened that I had a beautiful green blue skein of Madelinetosh Pashmina in the my stash. I showed it to her and she said it was PERFECT! So I went looking for Madelinetosh in Nassau Blue – not Pashmina mind you – something a little more suited to a five year old. Maybe some DK but really what child needs a Pashmina sweater. Again, you can see it coming from a mile away right? Turns out I couldn’t find the colorway anywhere but a call to my bestie who just happens to own a yarn store? Yeah. She had three skeins of Nassau Blue in Pashmina just waiting for me. I know what you’re all thinking. Man she is SO LUCKY to have a best friend that owns a yarn store! That would be the GREATEST THING EVER! But it’s not because when your best friend owns a yarn store you end up making your five year old daughter a sweater in PASHMINA. (And of course one to come for your three year old because you can’t ever play favorites.)

I’d be better off if my best friend was a drug dealer.

The yarn is gorgeous.


The knitting is okay. (The pattern is really tedious in that it’s a million pages long when it doesn’t need to be so there’s a lot of flipping around to figure out where you are and where you need to be.)

And the most important part is that so far she loves it (and it fits! YAY for top down sweaters!)


You may not have noticed but there have been some behind the scene changes on the blog thanks to Carrie (formerly of the Carrieoke knitting blog!) We are fully hooked up to Facebook, Twitter, Instagram – all the places the cool kids hang out. I wanted to update the blog (I was rocking some OLD SCHOOL Movable Type) so that I can blog from my phone, upload pictures from my phone – you know – be a part of the real world. Hopefully this will help me blog so much more. I miss writing and I miss connecting with you all so we’ll see. And if you’re looking to update your own blog, Carrie is beyond fantastic! Every tweak I asked for happened almost immediately, she was patient when it took me forever to get my shit together and all around wonderful in getting me to where I wanted to be. THANK YOU CARRIE! (Visit her here!)

I have so much knitting to talk about. And life. But really a lot of knitting. I hope you’ll be back!

L, C

The 21st Century

This marks the 999th entry on this blog.

And to celebrate that and the upcoming demise of Bloglines, I’ve decided to join the 21st Century.

I have started a Facebook page and a Twitter account for January One. They will be fairly redundant, so if you hate Facebook and love Twitter, or vice versa, you will be covered.

Follow january_one on Twitter


I’m not taking down the blog, but my time here will be severely limited. If you’re still reading you already know that. Both Facebook and Twitter are platforms I can easily access with my phone, so the easier the better. I’m eager to regain a connection to a community I can call my own. I hope you’ll join me on this next adventure.

Oh and dear God I pray there’s knitting.

Thank you!


Fellow blogger, knitter and photographer extraordinaire Gale Zucker has a dream:

In her words:

I’m proposing going to Heifer Project sites around the world, to photograph and tell the stories of how the work they do changes lives directly by giving people the ability to support themselves. You know my commitment to animals, farms, youth and trying to do some good in this world. Being funded for this Dream Assignment project would enable me to multiply my efforts beyond any way I could imagine or have been able to do until now.

You know how I love Heifer – anything that can bring attention to their great works is a good thing and Gale is a wonderful photographer – have you seen her book, Shear Spirit? It’s magnificent! Please follow this link and go help Gale. (You will need to register to vote, but it takes two seconds and means so much!)

Voting ends tonight! Please help!!! VOTE!

Follow Up

I should so be sleeping – firstly I’m a new mom and I should always be sleeping when my baby is sleeping. Secondly, we spent the day at the beach and we’re all exhausted. But I feel like I need to get this post out and late at night might be my only time to do it.

To start, I want to thank everyone that left such thought provoking and generous comments. I promise I wasn’t trying to be provocative, I was just elaborating on an off hand comment I wrote the other day. I’ve read all your comments and have taken them to heart. Here’s what I’m thinking:

EVOLUTION: I think you’re absolutely right – blogs evolve. They have never and probably will never be any kind of static platform. Just as we evolve as humans (we hope), how we communicate will most likely evolve. I used words like suffer and death and I think they are appropriate in all kinds of evolution. Things change – something gives, something dies. I’m beginning to think that my lamentations on knitblogs, per se, has a lot more to do with me and my life than the actual state of knitblogging. My life has changed so much over the past year – immeasurably so – that it’s only natural that I’d want some things to stay the same. My blog changed, and it seems everyone else’s changed too and I miss how things were. I guess I’m still grieving for the blogger I once was; I was always very proud to be carry the label knitblogger, then someone called me a mommy blog the other day and honestly I cringed. I’m not ready to change my moniker. I’ve got almost 300 feeds on my bloglines list and maybe 50 are something other than knitting blogs. I suffered from infertility, yet I have maybe one or two infertility blogs on my list – and that’s because they were both knitters. I have a couple mommy-ish blogs – but really they’re about products – not people. When I found knitting blogs I found my home. Now I sort of feel adrift at sea. Melodramatic, perhaps, but it’s how I feel. And I fully believe you should feel what you feel.

RAVELRY, et al: I’m (one of) the biggest Ravelry hypocrites out there. I have no problem browsing for patterns or checking out what yarns people have used for a particular pattern for WAY too long, but I haven’t updated my projects on there after the my first initial posts. So I’m using the database, but not contributing too it. Honestly, the minute I heard about Ravelry I took the position of Chicken Little. And when I heard there would be forums? Ugh. I’ve spent my share of Internet time on forums and honestly I’ve seen nothing good come of it. In fact, I’ve seen a lot of ugliness. But there’s no denying that change is good and welcome and inevitable. I’ve benefited from Ravelry just like the next knitter or crocheter or spinner. I just can’t be a contributer – it’s not for me. Same goes with Flickr. I never had a Flickr account until I started my Ravelry account and that’s not for me either. Photography is a HUGE part of my life, but it’s also a job for me and something just doesn’t feel right about my pictures on Flickr. I’m sure this is an ignorant bias on my part that someone will surely point out, but again. It’s not for me. Same thing with a lot of these other internet tools. The fact is I’m a blogger. It suits me very well. I love to write and I love to take the pictures I need to take and I like having the control to do what I want with my words and photographs. The fact that I have an audience makes it all that much better, but I’ve realized these last few months that I’d be here regardless.

The bottom line is I’ve allowed myself tremendous growth in so many areas of my life, that now I’m going to feel free to let my blog grow. From now on I’m going to disavow any and all labels – I’m no longer a knit blogger or a mommy blogger or a photo blog or an infertility blog. This blog is me. All the parts of me. For better or worse.

Thank you all, again, as always, for coming along for the ride.


Okay – so maybe I exaggerate. And maybe the discussion of knitblogs being dead only occurs between Ann and I on a semi regular basis. And sure, things do slow down in the summer.

BUT, and this is MY OPINION (although one that is probably shared by many others) things have DEFINITELY changed in the knitblog community. The other day I received an email that the knitblog web ring was changing its ring software and you have to re-sign to be a part of the ring. When I first signed up there were very specific rules for joining the ring – for example, you had to post on a fairly regular basis and the posts had to mostly be about knitting. According to the knitblog web ring website, there were about 1300 blogs on the old ring and so far 44 people have signed up for the new ring. AND the rules have been relaxed. You only have to post once a month now. I’d be willing to bet that a significant majority of the blogs on the old ring wouldn’t even be allowed to join now.

To me, that signals a dramatic shift in the knitblogging community.

Why? Of course, blogging is a fluid enterprise. People come and go all the time. Priorities shift, life events get in the way, but this seems to much larger than just the usual comings and goings in the community. For better or worse, IN MY OPINION Ravelry has had A LOT to do with it. There are many many blogs on my bloglines list that post very sporadically and when they do, they blatantly say they’ve been on Ravelry. It’s MY OPINION that the interesting discussions about knitting and projects that used to be on the blogs have moved over there – instead of many in-depth posts about a project we generally get one wrap up post that says the details are over on Ravelry. No doubt, Ravelry is an extraordinary tool in this community, but the social aspects of it have had a huge impact on what I loved about knitblogs.

I’m not innocent by any stretch of the imagination. The knit part of my blog has suffered greatly since I got pregnant and the blog part of my blog has suffered as well. I still knit, for sure – I’ve started 87 projects in the last month – none of which are very satisfying. And most of my posts are about my baby. Yes. It’s true. I’d like to think I was prescient in that I named my blog the very narcissistic January One – no knitting in that title. It’s all about ME.

Maybe I’m just bored and knitblogs are still as vibrant as they ever were. Maybe it’s true that the blogs I’m subscribed to have changed, but there are still knitbloggers out there ready to inspire. Leave me some blogs in the comments if you’ve got some you really love. My computer time is limited, but I’d love to laugh and be inspired. Who wouldn’t?

Again – MY BLOG HAS SUFFERED. I am not holding myself out as some kind of paradigm perfect blogger. I’m as guilty as the next person. But I do think there’s been a cosmic shift in the community – and maybe it’s my own fault – but I can’t help but feel out of the loop. The community I knew and loved has changed. (Although you could say it’s been coming for awhile. I’ve felt a similar shift at the last few fiber events I attended as well.)

Go ahead. I’m ready for the shit storm. Remember, though, my computer time is limited. As evidenced by how my own blog has changed, the baby is my #1 priority.

Third Annual Bloggers (Silent) Poetry Reading

The first year I posted a poem about infertility. This year things are different.

First Birth

I had thought so little, really, of her,
inside me, all the time, not breathing–
intelligent, maybe curious,
her eyes closed. When the vagina opened,
slowly, from within, from the top, my eyes
rounded in shock and awe, it was like being
entered for the first time, but entered
from the inside, the child coming in
from the other world. Enormous, stately,
she was pressed through the channel, she turned, and rose,
they held her up by a very small ankle,
she dangled indigo and scarlet, and spread
her arms out in this world. Each thing
I did, then, I did for the first
time, touched the flesh of our flesh,
brought the tiny mouth to my breast,
she drew the avalanche of milk
down off the mountain, I felt as if
I was nothing, no one, I was everything to her, I was hers.

Sharon Olds. The Wellspring, 1996

For more information about the Bloggers (Silent) Poetry Reading, celebrated each year on February 2, go here.

The Rainbow Connection

On my way home from Lawn Guyland yesterday, exasperated by perceived slights, real slights, sleights of hand I said to myself, Chica (I call myself Chica – just trying to keep it real) this blog thing is very very important in your life, but is it worth all this stress? Honesty. It’s such a lonely word. It is worth the agita?

I said, yeah, I think it is. But how to know for sure?

Chica, I said, let’s take the decision out of our hands. Let’s let GOD decide. If we should see a rainbow today, that ultimate sign of peace and harmony and unicorns, then we’ll keep blogging! Chica wholeheartedly agreed.

It was a kind of tense train trip. What was the likelihood of a rainbow? Sure it was kind of overcast and looked like it could rain at any minute. The conditions COULD be right for a rainbow. Maybe. Did we, Chica and me, even really BELIEVE in signs?

As I walked to the shuttle after taking two regional train lines, lugging my big bag and my wheel bag, permanent indentations carving their way into my shoulders, I tried to avoid a puddle and almost falling on my ass, I caught a glimpse of something sparkly in the sky.

Chica! I gasped. God has answered our prayers. Look, out yonder, it’s a RAINBOW!

The blog stays.

Thank you all so much for your emails and comments and notes of support. I’m hoping to get back to each of you that wrote, but it might take me a bit. I appreciate it for me, but really I appreciate it that you all care so much about truth in advertising. I am what I am and I’d hate to feel like I have to change that or censor it or anything. One note though – it’s been mentioned a few times that maybe my yarn store review was what prompted the Yarn Harlot’s impassioned post of the other day. I can pretty much tell you unequivocally that the two situations have absolutely NOTHING to do with each other. Unfortunately, I’m guessing that Stephanie’s talking about something that happened TO her, not passing judgment on what I wrote.

I’ve got to apologize again. When I wrote about the reveal, I meant my new project. Not my new PROJECT. That project, with a capital P, is gonna be a little while longer.

Clue #3
Click for big. (Do IT!)

Thank you again for your readership. I’m fully aware that a lot of these problems wouldn’t exist if no one was reading my blog, so it’s kind of a good with the bad situation. I do appreciate your being here – ridiculous opinions and everything. 😉 (I KID, It’s a JOKE!)

Hopefully, Monday, we can get back to the knitting. No promises though. Life is kind of crazy at the moment. Duh.
Have a great weekend!
L, C

PS – It’s true – I did thinking about closing up shop, but rainbow or no rainbow, I’m not giving up anytime soon. I actually like my blog. A lot. And I would really really miss it (and by extension all of you) if it was gone. It does take a lot of energy and time though and I often think about stopping. For now, though, the good certainly outweighs the bad.

Trouble. Right here in River City.

So. I go on vacation 3000 miles away and in some spare moments away from my beloved, I visit some yarn stores. I buy lots of yarn and I generally have a good time. I come home and share my impressions with you all. I was honest – I think fair and honest – but apparently I screwed up. It was intimated in the comments that I intended harm against one of the yarn stores I visited by giving it a less than stellar review. Nothing and I mean NOTHING could be further from the truth. I’m honestly astounded that anyone could think that. I wrote that I visited a yarn store – I’ve been in LOTS of yarn stores all across the United States – and then I wrote MY experience of this yarn store. It wasn’t the best yarn store I’ve ever been in, and it wasn’t the worst. In fact, I spent a decent amount of money in that yarn store. I stated that it could’ve been me that day that caused the bad vibe – but for whatever reason – I wasn’t as comfortable in that particular store as I’ve been in others.

That’s not really the part that troubles me. What troubles me is that I talked about my impressions and feelings in what I felt was a humorous, yet respectful fashion. To be accused of ill intent and downright meanness in tone worries me to no end. Does this mean I can’t be honest on my blog? Does this mean that unless I love something to distraction I’m not allowed to talk about it? Because I really feel that that’s not honest. Believe it or not, I don’t love EVERYTHING. In fact, most things I DON’T like. You might not know it from reading here – but I’m incredibly picky about stuff.

I guess I have more influence than I ever imagined if a sort of ho hum review from little old me can be construed as taking business away from someone. That’s NOT a power I want to have. Not for the first time, I questioned whether or not to blog at all.

I don’t think somehow I’ve transcended above opinion and critique. I stand by what I wrote about this store and I would not be afraid to say it to the owner’s face. I thought they had a beautiful store with an abundance of yarn, but after repeated attempts on my part, I just didn’t feel very welcome. Where’s the mean spirited criticism in that?

I’m not opening the comments on this post because I think a rehash is counterproductive in the end. If you’d like to engage me on this topic, I welcome you to email me: cara at januaryone dot com.

Thank you for reading my blog.


So I’ve got a problem. In the scheme of stuff, it’s pretty minor but it’s on my mind nonetheless. And this isn’t one of those please tell me I’m right kind of posts – I’ve made up my mind about what I’m going to do and nothing you say is going to change it, but I feel like I’d like to talk about it.

I was checking my stats (because a little narcissism never hurt anybody) and I came across a discussion about my blog happening on a popular knitting chat board. The thread was started by someone who had stumbled across my blog and liked what they saw and wanted to share it. (Thank you so much by the way!) A few people posted that they read the blog pretty frequently, but lately it had gotten kind of boring because all I talk about are these dang mitered squares. There was even some discussion as to whether I’d ever sew the blasted things together. The discussion was very civilized and everyone’s entitled to their own opinion and that’s not my problem.

My problem is that I might kind of agree. My blog is boring now.

I’ve been thinking about it a lot actually – every time I blog a new square. Then I got this comment from Elizabeth: “Cara, for weeks you’ve only knit one thing. You have only blogged about one thing. We’ve only seen pictures of ONE THING.” I was so upset. I KNOW I’m like a broken record. Here’s another square. Here’s another square. Here’s another square. This weekend – guess what I did? I knit four more squares and started a fifth. Thankfully, Elizabeth saved my life because she followed up with: “And yet, you have made these mitered squares interesting for every single entry. “

Honestly, I’m driving myself insane. All I can do is knit these miters. I’m making myself sick with the miters. The only person who is still excited about the miters is G and that’s because he sees the blanket that will be on his bed. (That’s not completely true. I love the miters. Sometimes I hate them, but truly I love them.)

What’s the solution? I’ve thought about it. I could blog about the squares once a week. I could have this super photo filled post and list all the squares. But you know what? If I do that? I won’t be blogging but once a week. This is where my head is at. I’m not going to knit anything else until I feel like I’ve exhausted this project. It’s taken hold of me and it won’t freaking let go.

It’s been well documented (here and in the comments and even on other blogs) that I tend to go overboard with stuff. I’m not sure that’s a fair assessment. I do what I do. If I was knitting a sweater and I kept showing you pictures of the sweater in progress (which I think would be WAY more boring than my squares – but I’d do it anyway) and I knit nothing but that sweater until it was finished – would people say I was over the top? Or would they say I was knitting a sweater? What’s the difference?

I have felt a lot of guilt over this project. G will come home at the end of the day and in between knitting miters and trying to remember to eat I’ve attempted to move the dirty dishes from one side of the sink to the other. I feel like a wasteoid – but I can’t stop. I definitely have OCD tendencies – and this project has tapped right into it. I started out with 20 squares. Then I thought I’d make 25. Now I find myself dreaming about 30. I have yarn everywhere – color EVERYWHERE. It’s giving me a headache. My shoulders hurt and my calluses have calluses and still I can’t stop. You may say to yourself: who is this spoiled rotten girl who spends her whole day knitting these stupid squares when I have laundry and vacuuming and kids and responsibilities? Listen – I’m thinking the same fucking thing. And still I can’t stop.

One other thing. So I knit 100 miters, right, and I decide to NEVER sew them up. I just leave them in a beautiful pile in my bedroom or sometimes I spread them out in my living room to saturate our life with color or maybe I even hide them away in a box somewhere at the back of my closet. SO WHAT. It’s my project. I have learned – am learning – many many many things about myself and about color and about what I like and don’t like and about the way I work and it’s priceless what I’ve learned knitting these ridiculous little squares. I wouldn’t trade it for the world – the guilt and boredom and the wonder of it all.

(For the record, I have every intention of putting this blanket together. I can count the number of projects I have started and NOT finished on one hand and at least three of them are socks. I’m a crazy obsessed perfectionist – I finish what I start unless I have a fantastic reason to do otherwise.)

When I started this blog, the main purpose was to keep a record of my knitting. That’s still the main purpose. So I’m going to blog my squares. On the days that I blog the squares I’m going to talk about other stuff or not. Maybe I’ll talk about the project and maybe not but these days this mitered blanket IS my creativity. It’s the catalyst for everything I have to say here. It produces energy. It transforms me. It’s my spark.

This Blogger’s (Silent) Poetry Reading

in keeping with a theme….


They are kissing, on a park bench,
on the edge of an old bed, in a doorway
or on the floor of a church. Kissing
as the streets fill with balloons
or soldiers, locusts or confetti, water
or fire or dust. Kissing down through
the centuries under sun or stars, a dead tree,
an umbrella, amid derelicts. Kissing
as Christ carries his cross, as Gandhi
sings his speeches, as a bullet
careens through the air toward a child’s
good heart. They are kissing,
long, deep, spacious kisses, exploring
the silence of the tongue, the mute
rungs of the upper palate, hungry
for the living flesh. They are still
kissing when the cars crash and the bombs
drop, when the babies are born crying
into the white air, when Mozart bends
to his bowl of soup and Stalin
bends to his garden. They are kissing
to begin the world again. Nothing
can stop them. They kiss until their lips
swell, their thick tongues quickening
to the budded touch, licking up
the sweet juices. I want to believe
they are kissing to save the world,
but they’re not. All they know
is this press and need, these two-legged
beasts, their faces like roses crushed
together and opening, they are covering
their teeth, they are doing what they have to do
to survive the worst, they are sealing
the hard words in, they are dying
for our sins. In a broken world they are
practicing this simple and singular act
to perfection. They are holding
onto each other. They are kissing.

Dorianne Laux
from What We Carry

For more information about the Blogger (Silent) Poetry Reading, please click here. Please feel free to post a poem today that touches you in some way – be it your own, or someone else’s. Have a great weekend!