Creative Desperation

I’ve been thinking about blogging again for a while now and this post isn’t going to be what I’ve dreamed about, but it will be significant for me. Firstly, because I’m blogging. Period. It’s been a long while but I couldn’t let this day go by without blogging and secondly and most importantly because I have something to say. It might not be very important what I’d like to say but I feel the need to say it and that’s pretty significant in my life these days. To feel something pushing me – something that doesn’t have snot running out of its nose, or poop in its diaper or a hungry belly or a stubborn streak as long as the earth is wide – is really really nice and I’m not going to let the opportunity slip.

About a month ago I was feeling like I had lost all my talents, and on twitter I lamented that fact then questioned whether or not I actually had talents when they could be lost so easily. Yes, I was feeling sorry for myself. I had barely done any photography work for the holiday season, but the work I did do came with problems and frustrations. I wasn’t knitting at all and I was missing it desperately. Basically I was being a mommy day and night and complaining about the fact that I didn’t have any other kind of life.

I was also feeling a little jealous. Vicki posted about her magnificent Parcheesi blanket and topped the gorgeous knitting off with a fantastic photoshoot and even though I love her desperately, I was hating on her a little too. I used to knit gorgeous blankets and photograph them in fantastic ways. I called Vicki to let her know just how much I loved her work and how she was inspiring me to get gorgeous and fantastic back into my own life. She reminded me of my little girls and her big girls and yes, yes, I know I don’t have time to breathe let alone knit big huge blankets, but still I want that in my life. I need that in my life.

Then I sent my pity party tweet out into the universe and something quite inspiring came back. Sara aka ChickenBetty read my tweet and suggested back to me that losing my talents wasn’t something to mourn, per say, but an opportunity. To quote her, “But doesn’t that turn it into a treasure hunt to find them again?”


I didn’t tell her this and I’m sorry for that and right now I’m telling her – Sara – you kicked my ass with that one! I couldn’t stop thinking about the idea of finding my lost talents. At first it bugged me a little bit – I wasn’t looking for someone to tell me to work at my talents – they’re either there or they’re not – but maybe Sara was right. They didn’t go anywhere they just need prodding. I took her advice to heart and started searching.

It wasn’t that day but soon after I went into the basement and found the box marked Miter Project and took that sucker out and pulled it up into the light of day. Since that admonition to get off my ass and GRAB BACK MY TALENTS I have successfully woven in 484 ends on 120 miters. (That’s four per square – with two squares having two extra ends each.) I have also started the arduous journey of blocking the miters and I have one ready to seam as we speak. AND, in all this frenzy, I’ve been looking at all the leftover yarn (figured I’d use it to seam) and a new blanket idea has jumped out at me and won’t let my brain go. If it is what I hope it is, it might take me another three years. But that’s okay.

In this past month, I also knit a small sweater ornament out of leftover sock yarn, a gorgeous cowl (also inspired by Vicki) and a headband to match the cowl. I’m sort of consciously choosing projects that are small – or at least you can feel like you’re accomplishing much in a short period of time. For instance, a small sweater ornament takes no time. A cowl using bulky wool can feel like a mighty accomplishment when you don’t have much time to knit and miters, well, it turns out miters are addictive no matter what you do with them – even weaving in ends.

More inspiration in my life: I found a fantastic babysitter. Not only is she great with my kids, but I taught her how to knit! She’s a natural and even went and signed up for a ravelry account all on her own, thank you very much. She’s been inspiring my with her enthusiasm and having her here a few hours a day a couple days a week frees me up to spend some time on my own. FREEDOM = TIME = CREATIVITY.

It’s all been really really good. Finding these talents is like finding myself all over again. It’s also an exercise in patience because obviously sometimes I can spend a lot of time and sometimes I get no time but I have it in my head and I don’t have to let it go or push it aside. I can nurture it a little bit each day so it can grow and grow and grow. Just like knitting.

I want to end on a note about blogging. I’m planning on being her much more often – hopefully on a regular-ish schedule of a couple of times a week. I’ve been spending a lot of time here lately looking over my Miter Madness archives and not only do I miss writing, but it feels disingenuous of me to continue the miter project WITHOUT blogging about it. I blogged that whole damn thing – every single square – and I’m not about to stop now. So I hope you’ll look out for me and my projects if you have the time. And I hope I can inspire someone just a little bit like Vicki and Sara have inspired me. Thank you so much!

Happy New Year! Happy JANUARY ONE!
L, C


  1. My kids are a few months younger than yours. Amen to all of it! And happy birthday too!

  2. So much love to you today, January One. I hope you’re having a fantastic birthday. I am looking forward to your more frequent blogging!! Truly. Thank you.

  3. Sooo happy with your return

  4. I’ve been patiently awaiting your return to blogging! You write from your heart and your knitting always inspires me. Reading your blog post is a wonderful way to start 2011

  5. Awesome for you and Happy Birthday!! I was so happy to see your post in my reader today! I’m feeling a bit like you lately, so this is inspiring! I’m expecting my second baby in May, and trying to work from home and play with a 3 year old and knit and sew and make great dinners and…and….oh yeah, keep a clean house! I hope to see some more knitting from you soon too! You always had such beautiful projects!

  6. Cara, happy happy birthday! I’m so glad for you, on the road to mojo recovery 🙂 I have a 6 year old and a 2 year old, and I find that my batteries definitely need recharging — having some time to myself, even if I’m NOT knitting, helps me get rejuiced. Excited for your projects. And, you’ve been inspiring to me over the years, hopefully all of your fans like me can return the favor 🙂
    Also, if you can, you might go yarn shopping or browsing. Very fun and helps get the wheels turning.

  7. Am glad you are back, I missed your blogs and I loved your mitered blanket. Followed you all through the making of those squares.

  8. First glad to see a post from you. I’ve always enjoyed your stuff.
    Here is some advice from an older mama, who has been where you are: you can have it all, but not at the same time. Right now its poop and vomit, and the oy/joy seesaw of spending all day with little kids and the adult people who tend to them. It sharpens your skills in seeing things in a new perspective, and patience which would allow you to weave in all those horrid ends. Later on things are much more outward focused (school, friends) and you can get a little more time to yourself. Be patient, and keep knitting.

  9. Wow, I didn’t realize how much I missed your posts until you blogged this. I’m glad to hear how at peace you sound. You are really an inspiration to me. I hope you had a wonderful birthday and I’m looking forward to reading your site on a regularish basis again.

  10. Happy Birthday and I am so glad to see you posting! You just sometimes have to work on you and the rest falls into place. We all get into slumps, and sometimes we find our way out of those pits, but sometimes they present themselves as other opportunities that might not have been a figment in the back of our mind before. Happy New Year and I look forward to seeing more of you again.

  11. Nice to read your words again! Your miter madness was so inspiring and fun to read about. Your passion made me more excited to knit, I would love to see how the next part of the story unfolds.

  12. happy birthday!

  13. Oh, good, you are back! I read your tweets and silently rejoiced about your reinvigorating the Mighty Miter project. I remember you pledging solemnly — pre-babies — that you would seam them. There is nothing more time-consuming or joyous or soul-sucking than having a couple toddlers /pre-schoolers around the house. As many have told you or will tell you, it will pass and life will get easier. Mine are now 26 and 21, thank FSM.
    Anyway. Blankets and cowls and hats and small and/or mindless projects are perfect for these years. Don’t attempt an adult-sized stranded colorwork sweater or a complicated Aran until the babes are in school all day.
    Welcome back, and welcome back to your [new] creativity!

  14. I think most creative people go through phases like that, especially when other obligations (babies!) draw on their emotions and energies. I want to add my voice to the others who are cheering you on to rediscover your talents…hurrah! Bravo!
    Happy birthday and best wishes for a fantastic new year.

  15. Welcome back, Cara – things are just different. (formerly

  16. Well, well, well. Can it really be? JANUARY ONE on Jan. 1? Awesome!
    At least you want to knit. Finding the interest again is my stumbling block.

  17. Missed you…

  18. 1.1.11 – a fitting day to see you re-appear!
    All the best wishes for your and your family, I’m glad you’re returning to yourself!
    We’ve missed you, but knew you were occupied with more important things. Welcome back, we’re still here!

  19. Your blog has always been an inspiration to me and when I saw your tweets about weaving in ends on the miters I got excited that you would be blogging that blanket again soon. That was the first project I favorited on Ravelry and I cannot wait to follow along with you as you finish it!
    Happy Birthday, Cara!

  20. Happy Birthday, Cara! So glad you’re back, even if it’s only occasionally. I don’t manage to blog twice a week, and all I’ve got is a cat! 😉

  21. Your mitred squares are what attracted to me your blog, many other things have kept me subscribed but…can’t wait until they are assembled (no pressure ;-). Welcome back!

  22. Awww, Happy Birthday and congrats on the hunt! Isn’t it amazing how much even the smallest little thing can do for you? I find on the days when I really don’t have time to take any time for me (and with 4 boys, 12, 8, 7, and 10 months, and another on the way, it’s really hard to find time for me) those are the days I need it most! I keep yarn pretty much everywhere; in my purse, in my car, in almost every room of the house, and they’re mostly easy projects. I save my harder ones for my knitting night, but even while I’m giving the little one a bath, I can sneak in a row or 2 of something little, and it immediately helps.

  23. ElizabethD says:

    I was thinking of you earlier today, for obvious reasons — nice to see you in my Reader list! Happy birthday!

  24. Welcome back to your creative/knitting life. Happy Birthday! I’m looking forward to seeing the rest of your current project and future ones.

  25. Happy birthday, Cara! So nice to see you here again. Just remember, to everything, there is a season. I never doubted you’d be back in time.

  26. Elizabeth R says:

    Welcome back! We missed you! Happy Birthday!

  27. Happy belated birthday. Enjoy rediscovering your creative expressions.

  28. Happy Birthday! It’s nice to see you blogging again. I hope the babysitter provides the needed time for you to do some things for YOU.

  29. Oh boy, can I ever related to your first paragraph! Good to have you back. Making time for yourself (and knitting) means that you’re a better version of you for everyone else around you.

  30. Welcome back! Life changes when children come along and it is sooo easy to let you identity go to the dustbin, but it is okay to allow yourself some time for you. It only makes us better mommies!!! Looking forward to keeping up with you again.

  31. welcome back!

  32. Glad to have you and your mojo back!

  33. Happy Birthday and Happy New Year! NEW YEAR! I have missed your voice in blogland more than you can know and it’s feels so right to have you here. It will be a gift to read your inspiring words and see the accompanying pictures. Love you!

  34. Happy Birthday! Happy New Year! Hang in there – kids are a tough job, and being a good parent is such a fluid enterprise – it’s hard to get a sense of accomplishment.
    I think I became a serious knitter when my two were little – simply out of a need to do something that I could finish and look at, and know I was done. You were wise to start with a few small finishable things.

  35. wowsers.
    I remember being right where you are. My girls are 9 and 8 now and its a different world, but Oh I remember!
    I’m so glad to see you back 🙂

  36. Welcome back!
    After finding you on Facebook, I am looking forward to your blogging again! Happy Birthday and
    Happy New Year!!

  37. Happy Birthday again, and HELLO January One The Blog again! XOXOXO

  38. I lost my talents when my kids were young. I started finding them again as they grew. Now. . . they’re pretty much grown up . . . and I’m still enjoying the hunt! Enjoy the process. I think it’s going to be a good year!

  39. Happy Birthday! I am so glad to see you blogging again—I have missed your posts and your view on life. This post has really struck a chord with me. I guess if I had any words of advice or encouragement to a younger mom it would be this–don’t be so hard on yourself. If you want to blog, then I say amen sister. But if you don’t, there is no need to apologize because no one is judging you. Do what works for you! I think, just like exercise, the first step is hard and the second day is harder. I’m a big believer in setting goals rather than resolutions (and I love to cross even stupid things off my to-do list). Start with one goal. After that, decide in stages what you want to tackle and accomplish. Also, so glad to see that you have found a babysitter. As a working mom, I used to feel so guilty about not being with my boys (now 18 and 15) during the week so I never felt that I “deserved” any “me” time on the weekends. Bah to that! I worked because it was what my family needed. When I was done with work, I focused on my boys and on trying to be present with them. And, I found that if I did not get at least a little time for myself, I could not give to anyone else. It’s all about the balance. No child will be deprived if you take some time to weave in ends, or start a new project or dare to daydream about the next project. Rather than “trying to have it all” I would say to enjoy what you have at the moment and move toward new goals when you are ready.
    All the best for the coming year.

  40. AMEN! Glad to see you back!

  41. So glad to see you back! Us “unknowns” have missed you. I read your blog and I am transported 30 years back when I had a baby and felt all the things you talk about. It seems to pass so quickly, but it was when my baby was about 3 that I realized I could get back to the things I enjoyed besides being a Mommy. Happy birthday and welcome back!

  42. I cannot remember how I first found your blog, but I’m one of your internet/twitter fans. Your photography and textile talents were what drew me to your writing. And you’ve kept me here with your lovely self. So again, *hugs* and *encouragement* for being really awesome, and sharing that awesome with all of us. — Cat, aka CaySwann

  43. I found motherhood an amazing balance between taking care of totally dependent babies, and nuturing myself. Really, these babes do grow up, and the right amount of giving TO them makes for the most independent children later on.
    But you will never do it perfectly. Give that up, and you will be happier. My kids know that they can not be perfect, either – it’s a lovely gift I didn’t know I was giving to them at the time.
    Also, I’ve been the babysitter that allowed a mom some time off, and it’s one of my loveliest adolescent memories. I gave her space and time, loved getting to spend time with her wonderful kids, and she gave me e.e. cummings. Intergenerational bliss.
    And I’ve been the mom that needed the sitter so I could escape to the fabric store and the yarn shop (it was that, or eat the children, I swear). I’ll never forget the sitters that helped me out. One of them organized us. Another brought us memories of really, really big hair! And I learned that my kids could take care of each other, with a sitter as a legal crutch, years before the law said I could actually leave them alone. So then I gave them a little more room even while I was at home.
    Hang in there. Knit a little. Keep your hand in. Pay the babysitter and work it out. Blog when it’s good, blog when it’s bad, and maintain your own voice!

  44. Sally Anderson says:

    Happy Birthday, Cara! It’s so nice to see you back here. I look forward to more blog posts and to seeing that mitered square blanket finished!

  45. Happy birthday, Cara! Even though I’m late to it…
    I was actually thinking about your Miter project the other day. I wondered if I ever saw a picture of it all sewn up. Now I realize I ahev something to look forward to! 🙂

  46. I totally feel your pain. I’ve decided that my new year’s resolution is to make time for fun things again in my life. Blogging will be one of my things, too, along with photography and knitting. You go, girl!

  47. glad you’re back. I understand the reason you took time off, and I’m glad it’s led you back full circle.

  48. Happy Birthday. I think choosing small projects is a great idea. That may be why I’ve only knit baby hats since Wyatt was born.

  49. So happy to see your post!!! Welcome back to blogging and knitting – we missed you. Can’t wait to see photos of the mitered blanket!

  50. WElcome back! Treasure hunts are FUN.

  51. YAY! I’ve been following your blog for a few years and have been waiting to see what your final miter square blanket looks like!
    Welcome back to creativity!!! 🙂

  52. ooh Cara, can’t wait to see what your miters look like put together. They are so addictive. The granny squares I’ve been into are fun for color combining but the mitered squares are so amazing when you start to arrange them into a piece. Damn this is tempting me into more miters. PS Happy belated bday!

  53. Hi Cara and happy birthday!! It’s so wonderful to have you back!! Let me tell you that your miter project inspired me to start my own blanket. I probably need a few more squares and then have the arduous task of weaving in the ends and seaming the 20 bajillion squares together. You were my inspiration!! Hope the girls are doing well and thriving. XXOO

  54. Glad to see you back! Happy Birthday, and have a great treasure hunt! (Maybe you’ll end up with more than you were looking for!)

  55. Welcome back! Happy Birthday! Your miter project inspired my miter project, thank you. (it isn’t nearly done.)

  56. Congrats on all the weaving in of ends that you did 🙂 Double congrats on finding an awesome babysitter AND passing on the knitting bug. That has to earn extra Knitting Karma Points.

  57. Happy Birthday and Happy New Year!

  58. totally late to the party! Happy Belated Birthday C! You find those talents girl! You have provided such inspiration to me and I am so happy to see you re-inspired!! Can’t wait to see the mitered square blanket!!

  59. 2011- officialy the come back year! Embrace it and live it! Talents never dissappear…just hide for a hot minute or two. Glad you’re back!

  60. WooHoo, so glad you are blogging again. You have a great writing talent. I’ve been having the same knitting blues as you, but different circumstances. I am gonna start making time to knit right now.

  61. Standing ovation!!!!
    I am glad to see you back to blogging. You are my hero of sorts. I like knowing that I am not the only one out there.
    Look forward to reading more and seeing the Miter Project, as well as the babies, grow.

  62. Welcome back! I look at your blog everyday and love your work. Enjoy your little ones at this stage, they grow up fast! Love the miter blanket!

  63. Oh so good to hear your voice again.
    Love your miter blanket.
    I had a question. Does the tahki cotton classic hold it’s shape? Does it actually keep one warm? Do you think that cotton is the best choice. I know the colors are wonderful. My son lives in San Francisco and he needs warmth. Just wanted to get your take on using cotton as opposed to wool.
    Thanks, love seeing you on facebook.

  64. All of the above! My back-to-talents resolution includes a night class on pastel drawing. Happy re-newed January One!
    xo, c.

  65. Happy Belated Birthday , Cara! A very fun 1000th post. 🙂 Sometimes parts (large and small) of who we are get overwhelmed by motherhood. But our talents are always still there waiting patiently for the time to be right, and then they reappear.
    It will be very fun to read your blog postd again-though I am a little worried that when I see the blanket competed I will want to make one too. 🙂

  66. Joan Hamer says:

    Welcome back. We missed you..a lot.