Tension

KnittingHands

A continuation of thoughts on dreams & reality

Between dreams and reality lies a tension that is not easily eased. When your reality feels very far from your dreams, the tension can be so great you feel you might snap at any  moment. Your life, even though it may appear to others as a good life, feels pinched, stiff, almost strangling.

When you begin to make steps toward those dreams, even in very small ways, that tension is eased, and perhaps even, when the dream is getting nearer to reality, may seem to go away. But it returns often when the dream you’ve worked hard to make a reality brings with it difficult realities of its own:

*Dream of having a family: Tension lies in the not-so-romantic life of diapers, dishes, laundry, sickness, and relational discord.

*Dream of having your own business: Tension lies in juggling finances, finding a niche and clientele for it, getting others on  board with your dream.

*Dream of being an artist full-time: Tension comes in trying to put food on the table, roof over your head, marketing and advertising without “selling out” as a creative being.

On and on we could go, describing the hard realities of living out our dreams. And if you have many dreams, that seem so different and varied from one another, tension lies in which one to pursue, or whether to go after several at once, or perhaps none at all until time and resources open up to allow for the pursuit of them.

Tension is of utmost importance in knitting. Hold your yarn too tightly, and your knitted fabric ends up pinched, stiff, and might strangle you when you try it on. However, if your tension is too loose, the resulting fabric is uneven and hole-y, so loose it doesn’t hold its shape.  What you’re aiming for when you knit is a tension that allows a knitted fabric (life) you desire for that particular project (dream). If you’re knitting or crocheting amigurumi toys, stuffed animals or dolls, you want a tighter fabric. When knitting a shawl and certain sweaters, you aim for a looser tension so the fabric will breathe and flow. And when working in fair isle, you want a tension “just right” for the color work to lay flat without bunching up or without holes in between the multi-colored designs.

There are two ways (in my humble opinion) to go about adjusting the tension in your knitting (life). One is to change the way you knit (live) altogether. Disciplining oneself to loosen up one’s grip on the yarn and needles, or to hold them more firmly as you knit can go a long way to easing the tension and allowing for a more consistently stable fabric.

The other way to adjust the tension is to change the size needles you knit with. If your knitting is too tight and stiff, increase the needle size for a gentler fabric. Conversely, if your knitting is too loose, go down a needle size or two to cinch up the stitches. You’re not having to change the way you knit (live), so much as changing what you knit with. I leave it to you, to consider which one best suits your needs to ease the tension in your knitting (or in your life ;).

The important thing to remember, and this has been helping me lately, is that tension is a necessary aspect of knitting living! To live in such a way as to even remotely pursue one’s dreams (and to also actively see the dreams that are unfolding under our feet), means that there will always be tension of some sort or other.  The key is recognizing when the tension has become too tight (or too loose) for you, and then  making the necessary adjustments for the tension to be nearly imperceptible in your everyday living. Ha! That last statement has me laughing! Who am I kidding? Let me rephrase that:

…and then making the necessary adjustments for the tension to be more comfortable in your everyday living. That’s better. Maybe not quite it. Well, anyway, I hope you see what I’m attempting to communicate here. There will always be tension in our lives, between our dreams (creative or otherwise) and reality. There will always be a need for adjustments to be able to live in the tension gracefully. Or not so gracefully, as is the case sometimes. 🙂

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5 thoughts on “Tension

  1. And drat, I never get the tension right! My solution is to quit knitting to someone else’s pattern and knit my own! That works for some things like sweaters or socks but there are times I just want to make a particular pattern. Sometimes I can work a way past the tension problem as with an afghan or shawl but other times it simply won’t work and then I have to relearn how to let go. Letting go is hard. Forcing a tension that isn’t natural for me is very difficult. Knitting is so much easier when we can enjoy the things that flow, work hard at the pieces that are special but difficult and learn which pieces are just beyond us for one reason or another!

    • Timaree…this is just beautiful! I love all the implications your words have for living out our lives and dreams! I hope everyone who reads this post also reads your words here! Thank you!

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