I've been making a lot of soap lately

This is all the soap I’ve made in the past week or so. There’s probably 30 or so bars in there.

Everytime I take up a hobby or interest, I get obsessive about it. I want to learn everything I can about how to do it well. I buy lots of supplies and books. I create like crazy. I make lists of other supplies I want so I can create more stuff.

A few years ago, I got into the knitting craze, and bought all sorts of books, and patterns, but since I was still learning, I didn’t buy a lot of yarn. I even went to a knitting workshop held by the Downtown Knit Collective (a Toronto knitting guild) where I participated in several classes and talked about knitting with like-minded souls.

I never really got past cotton dishcloths and a still-unfinished scarf, so it’s a good thing I didn’t buy much yarn. I wasn’t an awful knitter (see the dishcloth to your left), but knitting just took too long to get results. Since I am a perfectionist, I spent a lot of time ripping rows out and starting over again, which I found frustrating (although not frustrating enough to just let the mistake lie). I also never felt ready for anything more advanced than those dishcloths and scarves, and the idea of anything fancier than stockinette stitch (yarnovers? k2tog? yikes!) was alien to me. Never mind the whole increasing and decreasing bit for sweaters.

Now my knitting supplies sit unused in my deacon’s bench by the front door. I’ve passed some stuff over to my mother-in-law, and should probably pass the rest on to her and my mother and sister. But I keep passing this beautiful yarn that’s on sale right now, and I think “two balls, 13 stitches, and it makes a scarf. I could do that.” Then I remember those unfinished projects and think that I shouldn’t start new projects until I finish old ones. Also the beautifiul yarn is a little overwhelming since it’s usually that eyelash yarn or something fuzzy and hard to work with if you don’t know what you’re doing.

And that’s why I like making melt and pour soap. I can have four bars of beautiful, scented coloured soap ready for shower use in less than two hours. That’s from cutting the base into small pieces to melt to colouring and fragrancing, to pouring in the molds, to drying and popping them out, to wrapping the finished bars. Most of that time is wating for the soap to dry, so I can do other things (like catch up on Vox) while I’m making soap. (I’m so glad that I setup my soapmaking station in my office next to the computer – makes multitasking so much easier.)

Soap is easier than knitting to me. I find it more rewarding because I’ve actually seen myself improve and grow my skills in this hobby. The only advantage knitting has over soap is that knitting is portable, and soap isn’t. But since knitting is next to impossible on the subway (I’ve tried), I’m quite happy to continue making soap at home.

Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.5 Canada
This work by Melissa Price-Mitchell is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.5 Canada.
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