Skip to content

On knitting, being honest with yourself, and demanding nothing short of absolute excellence from The Universe (and your life and everything you do).

Here’s the thing about knitting: I don’t like it.

I don’t actively dislike it, it’s just not something that brings me joy, not something that I have any tiny bit of patience for, and not something that I particularly even care to ever be good at.

I thought I did. I wanted to like it. I wanted to wear adorable scarves that I could say I made myself. I pictured my niece holding onto mittens and scarves that her Aunt Doni made, and maybe one day she’d pass them onto her own children.

I never get ahead of myself. Nope, never.

I took classes, tried to decipher tutorials, and had friends show me how. I bought soft, beautiful yarn and needles in different sizes.

Once, I made a skinny scarf that was better suited to a cabbage patch doll than an actual human, but hey, I did manage to finish one project.

I moved from Colorado to Oregon in December 2010, and I brought what few knitting supplies I had with me. In Portland, I acquired new tools, tried knitting a few more times, and then shoved everything in a bag in my closet. For two and a half years, there they sat, reminding me that years after deciding I might like to try knitting sometime, I still wasn’t, well, knitting.

In May of 2013, I finally got honest about that and threw that shit out.

Why? Because a few years is plenty long to try to be something you’re not, to try to like something you don’t because you think doing so says something about the kind of person you are. It was just way too long to spend time doing anything I didn’t actively enjoy, and it was starting to take up space in my life that was better suited for other things.

Something happened when I turned 30. My bullshit-meter cranked up, my tolerance for Doing Things I Don’t Like cranked down, and I started owning the idea that life is way too damn short to waste on the mediocre.

Today, I spend my time eating (no, seriously, it’s a hobby — just look at my Instagram), cooking, running, doing yoga, drinking wine, traveling, spending quality time with my friends, trying to develop my own sense of style, wine-tasting, whiskey-tasting like a crazy person, sorting through the parts of my work that I love and the parts I don’t, and focusing on those things that support this life I am creating for myself.

I’ve been running the people in my life through a similar filter. I have amazing and inspiring close friends, incredibly deep relationships, and am constantly surrounded by the absolute best people on the planet. Thanks to these fine human beings, my standards for What Makes an Excellent Friend are set pretty high, and at this point in my life, I am zero sorry about that and have zero time for settling for anything that comes up short of that bar.

Maybe you like knitting, in which case, you should own that, do it, and get crazy about it. Whatever your thing is, do it. But the second you realize it’s not (and kudos to you for at least trying!), run like hell in the other direction and start doing more of the things you love. In other words, if you’re obsessed, be obsessed. But if you’re not super into that thing you’re doing? Stop doing that thing.

I’m learning more and more these days some very simple truths about what matters, how I want to spend my time. Friends who love you for you and who you can trust with your everything — that matters. Family, homemade cocktails, heart-to-hearts, and deck time — that matters. Being deliberate about relationships, decisions, and listening — that matters.

I’m learning that being honest about everything you want and expect out of life (your relationships, your career, your friendships, your health) means you actually start getting everything you ever wanted. When you start living in a way that demands excellence, that you won’t settle for less… as it turns out, that’s exactly when you start getting it.

So, no. I don’t like knitting. And I’m ok with that.

photo credit: Stéfan via photopin cc

19 Comments

  1. Amen. I hate making shit.

    • doniree doniree

      I think, in general, I could have summed it up the same way. Crafty things give me hives. <3

  2. Amy Amy

    THIS SO MUCH. I donated all my knitting stuff to Goodwill this summer and sold my sewing machine because ACTUAL NO. I hate that. It’s similar to how I feel about running, going out late and doing prettyyyy much anything else I don’t want to do. It changes everything when you stop doing the things you don’t wanna do. I took an amazing yoga class today and the instructor asked us if our “practices live up to our aspirations” — or, do the things you do live up to the best version of yourself or the person you hope to be? For me, knitting doesn’t do that.

    Love this.

    • doniree doniree

      Oh, I LOVE that! Great question to ponder there.

  3. I nodded along the whole time to this. I feel this way about cooking. For a long time, I associated my love of eating with a need to love cooking. I’ve learned they are not the same thing. Praise Jesus because the idea of standing around in my kitchen is not going to ever appeal to me.

    As for being obsessed, last year I gave myself permission to let go of the idea of being ‘balanced’ as the only way to be successful in life. I will never be someone who strives for balance. I’m someone who gets obsessed over ideas and people and tv shows and websites and new ways to stretch in the morning and I feel so much happier this way. For me, being balanced or living in moderation makes me feel like I haven’t found something to be over the top, passionately excited about yet. And if being a bit crazy and obsessive over a new food or book or hairstyle, makes me look crazy- I’m good with it. I feel so much happier letting myself obsess over all the tiny joys I discover that make life better.

    • doniree doniree

      I’m obsessed with this/you. And when you get obsessed about things, the entire world benefits from it, because you get obsessed about some really cool things and then I get to email you about political books and you’re the actual best resource. So, please never stop getting obsessed about things and sharing it with us? Great, thanks.

  4. Also? I tried knitting once.

    I bought $84 in supplies, 3 bottles of wine and tried it one night with a friend (that sentence sounds so weird, I’m keeping it in). We thought after watching a youtube tutorial we would have it made.

    Six hours later, I was drunk and had developed a new knitting technique called ‘braiding fucking yarn into friendship bracelets to wear around my head’.

    No regrets.

    • doniree doniree

      I kind of want to have this night with you, except we’d spend that $84 on extra wine and take-out or delivery (so you wouldn’t have to cook). So, then basically we’d just be wine drunk and full of pizza, but whatever. I’m in if you are.

  5. Girl, knitting is over rated. I took it up when I became single and it gave me carpel tunnel or whatever makes your hand look like a claw. I got leg warmers out of it but who the hell wears leg warmers in San Diego?! You aren’t missing out on the 30 going on 80 club is what I’m saying.

    I’m so happy for you being more deliberate about your happiness. I’m proud of you :)

  6. Sue Sue

    This post, like so many you write, hits home. I’ve always had a hard time worrying if I’m pleasing everyone, if everyone is happy. It’s only as I’ve aged (I hit the magical 30 nearly two years ago) that I’ve really begun to let go of it. It’s everyone’s job to please themselves. Not mine. Sure, I want to help people and be a good friend etc but the ownership of happiness and contentment lies with ourselves. It’s been hard letting formerly good friends go but it’s been necessary. I mean, at 31, who wants to hang around with school friends that are still trying to be the means girls. I’ve less friends but better friendships.

  7. Jamie Jamie

    I love this. It’s something I’ve definitely been thinking about a lot lately and I’m making changes, closing chapters, really zeroing in on what I want because NOW is the time.

    So right now, I’m okay with being really introverted lately, a little obsessed with my work, marathoning Felicity and cooking. And I like it so I’m not going to apologize for any of it or let anyone make me feel guilty for it.

    Also, my friend/biz coach shared this piece of wisdom with me and it’s my favorite: “Every time you accept something less than what you want, you repel what you DO want.”

    Thanks for this, lady.

  8. Love this! I’ve taken a little bit of this into my dating life recently. Unfortunately it usually translates to zero dates, but I’d rather spend my time with people I already love or just doing things on my own than sitting through even five minutes of an awkward dinner with someone I’m not excited about.

  9. Amanda Amanda

    I am SO incredibly not crafty. My mom always tells me that I need a hobby and I say “THE INTERNET IS MY HOBBY” but she doesn’t buy it. I’ve tried cross-stitching, scrapbooking, knitting, quilting.. it’s all a no-go. If I was RICH I would probably like scrapbooking. Until then, the internet it is.

  10. Yuuuup. I’m glad we’ve all been down that road of spending too much money on yarn that we later just throw away. Also, yay to saying goodbye to bullshit. I welcome 30 with open arms and lots of whiskey.

  11. This makes me smile because once a year I decide I should learn to knit and it never goes very well. I’m not ready to give in …yet.

  12. Monica Monica

    This is my first time visiting your site in a long time, and I absolutely love that you wrote this.

    It applies to me with scrapbooking. I have bought scrapbooks and scrapbooking supplies on several occasions, each time thinking that by buying new items I will be more devoted to the activity. But each time I try to get myself invested in a new scrapbook, I go pretty much apeshit crazy (after, like, the second page) because my perfectionism comes out to the nth degree and I start to feel bad if there are any mistakes at all.

    So I have decided, finally, once and for all, FUCK SCRAPBOOKING. I’m not doing it anymore. Don’t get me wrong; I wish I could be one of those people who can do scrapbooks without blinking an eye. But it brings out my most unrealistic and most irrational self. And that’s not who I am. Or, that’s not who I want to be when I’m doing something that is supposed to be enjoyable.

  13. Sid Sid

    So much I want to say. Not sure if I can form coherent sentences. 1) Amen for trying new things. If if you end up hating the new activity. You new know until you try. 2) I’m pretty good at not doing the things I dislike. Not so good at avoiding the ppl I dislike. Think it’s time I started applying the filter to my relationships.

  14. I am closing in on 29 and I think my anti-bullshit filter is starting to rev up a little bit. I’m getting to the point where I’m so tired of trying to please people and I don’t feel bad if I don’t like something or don’t want to do something. I still struggle with feeling OBLIGATED to do things, but I haven’t quite figured out how to deal with that yet. I also struggle with how to handle people that aren’t quite a good fit or or are too negative, because nothing fills me with more guilt and angst than the thought of severing any relationships without really having a “good” reason. And I feel like “I just don’t have a place for you anymore” isn’t a good reason. I mean, it is, but… hurt feelings, you know? Being true to yourself is HARD, man.

  15. Gawsh… This is JUST what I needed to read today. I think for a lot of us, something shifts when we turn 30. We are no longer putting up with the same crap, into the same crap and just settling for crap-crappity-crap!! I have been on a search to find the things I am really passionate about, and it has changed dramatically since I was in my 20’s. I think focus on your inner self, those closest to you and the things that you allow to fill your day are what matters most. I have been ill off and on the past 2 weeks and have had a lot of time to reflect on what direction I want my life to go and thank you, thank you, THANK YOU for giving me this little nudge to keep doing what I love and stop doing what I truly don’t. xo

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *