Finding the Joy

Tuesday, May 31, 2011 By Rick Levine

(Aug 23 – Sep 22)

This can be a day of solid progress as long as you don’t bite off more than you can handle.

Obviously, rushing through any job just to get it done invites sloppiness. Working faster encourages you to make mistakes that can haunt you later on.

Take your time and do it right, even if everyone else seems to be in a hurry. It’s more important to lay a lasting foundation now than to meet someone else’s arbitrary deadline.

Message received.

This is pretty much what I always preach in my classes – if you don’t love what you’re doing, YOU have the power to make a change so that love is possible.

This past Saturday Max was to meet a friend at temple to attend a Bat Mitzvah.  Unfortunately, his friend was ill at the last minute so I dropped by to tell him (and to sit with him during the service)

Max was disappointed and very sad.  And he was especially frustrated that I insisted he remain for the Bat Mitzvah.  “But I don’t even KNOW this girl…”

I told him, “You’re here, you’re dressed up, it would be disrespectful to leave.”

After a few more minutes of pouting I hissed at him, “Listen, you’re not going anywhere.  You can either find a way to enjoy the next 2 hours, or you can stew and pout and only hurt yourself.  I, myself, fully intend to enjoy it.”

After another 20 minutes or so, Max began putting more than a cursory effort into the prayers and blessings, and slowly he seemed to begin to enjoy himself.

I like to think this was yet another step in learning to readjust his attitude and expectations so that he can find joy where he may not have expected it.

That’s been my own job for this month; finding the joy inside of all the work.

I love work, I love what I do, but the stress involved in getting so MUCH work done can be daunting.  Aside from cutting back on the amount of work (hard to do and still pay the mortgage) I need to find a way to readjust my OWN attitude and enjoy the ride.

After all, every bike ride can’t be all downhill.  But a nice cider every now and then helps…

I’ve been in a heightened state of work the past month, so much so that there are times when I dread picking up the knitting needles.  Almost.

No matter how much work I have, there is always a small corner of joy when I’m knitting.  The rhythm, the fiber, the repetition calm me, and if I’m able to divorce my nervous mind from the looming deadline, I can enjoy it thoroughly.

Today I sent in 3 projects, and I just got a bit of an extension on another (hallelujah!) because it’s a fair isle-esque/stranded Man’s sweater on size 4 needles.  That will be my tomorrow knitting.


Today is devoted to working up swatches of some of my favorite techniques.

I want to put together a series of the little knitting things that I teach in class as pithy asides, but seldom teach all in one sitting. I’m planning on videotaping these and putting them together in a tutorial for Zealana, (which is providing all of my yarn for this little adventure.)

I have to say that this yarn is some of the most luscious I’ve worked with.  It’s soft, yes, but a lot of yarns are soft. This yarn has a certain firmness about it that allows the stitches to shine through, and creates a lovely directional sheen which really shows off bias movement in knit patterns.  THIS is the kind of yarn that makes knitting make sense!

I love just about all yarns I work with – I’m a lucky, lucky woman– but for this project I’ve been putting balls of Zealana yarn aside to enjoy as my end-of-the-day sitting in bed knitting.  Working up a swatch in Rimu or Willow pretty much guarantees a lovely night of sleep and good dreams!


I’ll be blogging, tweeting and emailing about this over the next few weeks a LOT, but after months of back and forth discussion and planning I can announce my first teaching trip to Iceland in August!

August is a perfect time in Iceland (I’ve been told…) and it’s just about when so many of us are getting NUTTY with the heat.  This could be the escape you’ll be needing!  For more information check the Knitting Iceland webpage!

I hope you can join me – together we can explore the joy that is Iceland!

2 thoughts on “Finding the Joy

  1. Your words to Max rang so true. I have a grandson (10 in August) who really prefers to be at “home” in his own surroundings and playing/reading with his own stuff. Therefore when family dinners are held or we are all together for any reason he tends to be insolent and rather pouty in social situations. With your permission I will use your words to try and instill some “deportment” in the young man and have him realize exactly as you say….”finding joy where you might not have expected it”!

    • You have my full permission! Today’s 10-year-olds are tomorrow’s trendsetters, parents and role models. The sooner he learns that all he needs is within himself, the better for all! My mother used to say, “Boring people are bored!” when I’d complain about being bored at a relative’s house.

      Is he into board games like Sorry? That’s what has gotten my own kids through some long extended family evenings, the promise of a game after dinner while the rest of the adults have a nice visit!

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