Friday, March 30, 2012

Knit One Purl Two and the Slice of Life Challenge

With the challenge ending after tomorrow, I find myself reflecting back on this month and what I've learned about myself as a writer.  Today, when I walked by my bag of knitting, I had a slight aha moment as I thought about the connection between my knitting learning and my writing learning.

A few years ago, I took up knitting again after a long absence.  When I was young, my mother was a knitter and she taught me the two basic stitches -- knit and purl, but it had been a long time since my muscle memory had performed those stitches. 

And then an opportunity presented itself -- our local yarn shop offered classes of different skill levels, and I decided to take a year-long class called Block of the Month.  Each month, this small group of knitters gathered with our instructor (a dear friend), and learned new stitches to create a 12 x 12 inch knitted block.  After twelve months of knitting, we would be able to stitch these twelve unique blocks together to make a small blanket.

Each month Michelle, our instructor, taught us the new skills for the month, and each month I felt like a klutz with ten thumbs.  None of the new stitches came easily for me.  And when those around me seemed to master the new skill so easily, I was both envious and humbled.  But no matter how frustrated I was, I persevered, I practiced, and I got better with each knitted stitch.

*  *  *  *  *

Fast forward to the Slice of Life Challenge this March.  I accepted this challenge, knowing that I had some basic writing skills, but not sure if my writing muscles would remember how to put it all together.  There were days when I felt like I was all thumbs when typing: nothing came naturally, there was no flow.  There have been many times I've read other slicers' pieces, and I was both envious and humbled.  So much talent has been on display each and every day.  And writers were tackling all types of new genres, and doing so incredibly well.  But no matter how inadequate I felt on any given day, I persevered, I posted each day, and I felt like I got a little better with each slice I wrote.

Please check back for my final reflections on the Challenge tomorrow.

As always, thanks to Stacey and Ruth at Two Writing Teachers for hosting the Slice of Life Challenge! 


  1. Well done! It has been quite a month. My knitting has been ignored in favor putting words on the page but I am looking forward to picking up my needles next week - there must be room for both, don't you think?

  2. I love this comparison. And writing truly is like knitting, or probably anything else-- the more you do it, the better you get. You make me want to take up knitting… can't wait to read your final post.

  3. I'm trying to think up some kind of reflecting post for the challenge but none have come to me yet. Will have to think some more.

  4. This is such a great analogy, Karen. I have been amazed by the writing in this challenge. I have looked forward to reading slices. Your posts have been an enjoyable stop each day. I love the variety of posts you have written, the clarity of your pieces, the way your words seem to flow naturally on the page, and the reflective nature of your thinking. I am so glad to have been able to walk this journey with you.

    Now about that knitting, I wish I could do that. I love the idea of learning a stitch each month. Little steps.

  5. I am a 'knit' 'purl' girl. I have the basics and nothing more. I've made a few horrific sweaters that take up space in my bottom drawer, and I applaud you for accepting so many challenges - learning to knit, writing for this challenge. You have often been one slicers that I've envied. Your writing always feels so complete, so polished and, at the same time, so genuine. I've enjoyed getting to know you through your slices.

  6. Great analogy, Karen. It's just practice, & then thinking &/or taking risks--I believe always a journey. I love that we have been blogging together & I've enjoyed getting to know you a bit. Hope to see you on Tuesdays!

  7. Lovely Karen. It is funny, I would never have guessed you struggled on any given day. I think we all did! I agree with Cathy, you have created a variety of posts. Good for you and great for us readers!

  8. Karen,
    I love your knitting analogy. I have never attempted knitting but it's always fascinated me that one string of yard can be twisted and pulled to create something beautiful. Writing is a lot like that random words strung together to create a coherent thought. I love it!

    Your writing has been an inspiration to me all month. Ive often wondered when I will be able to put together ideas so eloquently and make it seem so effortless. I would have never guess your struggled with any pieces. I can hear you speaking in each one.

  9. A great analogy. I really connected to your last paragraph regarding the feelings you had throughout the slice. CONGRATULATIONS! WE DID IT.

  10. I too have been so incredibly humbled and like you said envious as I've read the posts! I know in my head that it's a process, but it can get soooo emotional - Uggh! I like how you used the phrase "writing learning." It's a good reminder that we are learning and maybe it's good to feel that way because then we push ourselves???

    Thanks again for another thoughtful post! I feel you have been a mentor to me with all this social network/media stuff and am forever grateful!!!