After months of playing around with stitch patterns and getting feedback from friends, I am happy to announce that the Estela cowl pattern is now available for purchase!
You can check it out on Ravelry at https://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/estela-cowl
This project in some ways is a representation of my experiences as a knitter up to this point. I love smaller cowls like this since they fit well with the hoodies I always like to wear. I became really attached to the textures and movement in the design, they just really spoke to me and I knew I wanted something that would incorporate scroll lace and a slipped stitch pattern. The addition of cables came later after learning how to do them with a knitting group online.
It is my hope that this pattern becomes a favorite for holiday presents. It makes a fun and quick one-skein pattern. I plan to make many more and I hope you do too!
I always have this voice at the back of my head that is constantly saying “don’t move that way, don’t wear that color, don’t do that.” It’s like this shred of toxic masculinity within me that tells me I can’t be what I feel. As I try to understand and define my own queer identity, I have found some refuge from that voice in knitting and the community surrounding it. Knitting is something that has helped me to discover more about what I like and what makes me, me.
Growing up, I was taught that things like sewing, embroidery, and knitting were “women’s work.” Something that only the women in the household did and regarded only for its practical uses. It always seemed like something that wasn’t as respected as trades typically associated with men. I feel that to a certain extent I held onto those same assumptions, until I learned more about myself. In recent years I found myself drawn to fiber arts. I began to remember the embroidery, sewing, and weaving that my aunts and mother would do. It always fascinated me, but it was something that I told myself wasn’t really for me, something I shouldn’t do.
About a year or two ago, I began thinking more about my own gender identity and how I express that. I feel more aware of the fact that I don’t feel or want to conform to typical standards of masculinity, but am still discovering exactly what that means. Knitting in many ways has been a step in this discovery. I wanted to break past those prior assumptions and finally learn something I’ve wanted to do since childhood. Now I find comfort in the craft and in knowing how much women and fem folks are represented in the knitting community. I’m finding I feel more comfortable in these spaces as I embrace my own femininity.
Through knitting, I have found a passion that I didn’t think I would have before. I get excited about gorgeous colors and cozy textures. Hushing that voice that says “those things are too feminine” is liberating. Because of this I feel creative and like I can bring beauty in the world. Most importantly I feel a bit less confused and a little more like me.
I’ve been knitting A LOT since January when I started. It has quickly become something that I feel deeply passionate about. As I continue to learn more and grow through my experiences so far with knitting I wanted to reflect back a little bit.
I picked up knitting in a way to fill a void I felt in myself. A lot of this stemmed from feelings of boredom, loneliness, and depression. I felt at the time that most things were meaningless and that there just wasn’t much to look forward to. I’ve always lacked confidence, but felt especially down on myself and simply not interesting to others. I’ve always heard about how knitting helps with focus, how it can be a relaxing and therapeutic activity, but never looked into it before. During a manic upswing I began researching online and looking up videos, then ran to the store to pick up my first supplies.
I felt like giving up almost immediately. When I was not able to get the motion or began making mistakes I thought that it was a bad idea. I eventually let myself make those mistakes and kept plowing ahead. I eventually got the hang of it. One of the biggest things that I still continue to learn that it is ok to fuck up, things aren’t broken because I didn’t do a few things correctly. Over the months I could see and feel the process becoming easier, or at least more familiar. I understood more what I was doing, how looping and stitching together thread in different ways can create unique fabrics.
While I still suffer from depression and have some pretty down days, I find myself knitting and wanting to accomplish that next finished object. To me there is something really empowering about creating a new object that didn’t previously exist in the world. Being able to share these experiences also has helped me to not feel so alone or isolated in the world. I have made connections with people in Chicago and all over the world and I really enjoy seeing everyone’s creativity and perspective that they bring to the craft. I began a knitting group and made and effort to set up times to meet with people, something I’d never thought I’d do. All this has led to a bit more confidence in my abilities and in myself. I have gotten a lot of feedback from people that my work is impressive given how recently I started. I’m halfway towards believing the praise, but also proud of my effort and learning how creative I can truly be
Looking forward, I know that knitting is something I’ll always keep with me from now on and am excited about all the possibilities of where I can take it. I would like to get to the point where I can write patterns for people or put them up for sale. I’d also love to begin making unique knit items to put up on a store somewhere. Right now my favorite objects to make have been cowls. My goal for myself is to make 10 unique cowls and maybe develop a pattern or two based on these designs. Hopefully, by the time winter comes around, there will be a few items in my store for sale. Right now the dream is to make this into a career and create beautiful objects for a living. For the time being, I will continue to share updates and I continue to learn and grow personally and creatively through knitting.