The first knitting project I attempted was back in 2009.
A bright magenta super bulky scarf that somehow got wider as I unintentionally added stitches, dropped stitches thereby creating sizable gaps/holes and impressive gauge discrepancies throughout the garment.
But it was such a pretty colour and the action – once I figured it out – was addictive. So addictive.
I kept knitting until the yarn supply started running low then tried to figure out how to cast off. It intimidated me. Maybe I didn’t want the project to finish? For such an incredibly mangled accessory-to-be, I to this day can’t figure out why I made such a precious big deal about trying to cast off perfectly.
Well, perfect wasn’t in the cards. After picking up and putting down the project for a few weeks I finally did what any sane, rational grown up woman would do.
Oh you were thinking I might YouTube a video tutorial? Drop into a yarn store and ask for help?
No of course not, I sabotaged it. Yanked out the oversize needle and quickly tied it up at the end so it wouldn’t unravel.
Yes, I’m with you – I have no idea what was running through my head or why I would do that instead of about fifteen alternative scenarios that don’t end with a mistake-riddled would-be scarf roughly tied off instead of cast off appropriately.
I know how to cast off just fine now, which only adds to my confusion around this decision of mine. Perhaps I just wanted to be done. Mostly I think I was just too paralyzed about making yet another mistake after finally seeing 15 or so rows go perfectly…I couldn’t figure it out so I gave up and put it away, telling myself that maybe it cold be a cat bed or something. Quite a demotion for the poor scarf.
Four years later and I would be in Portland Oregon inspired to pick up needles again. But this would require walking into a yarn store. And perhaps asking questions. Admitting I don’t know. A hah. Now we seem to be getting to the root here…I’m not used to not knowing. Oh sure, there’s plenty I don’t know – much more that I don’t know than actually know. But I can Google it. Quietly. At home.
Instead of saying “Hi, I’m looking to learn how to knit and I know nothing – where do I begin?” I played up my scarf skills and sought out a more challenging project.
Proudly carrying my new yarn, needles and pattern for socks, I vowed to first re-teach myself to knit and purl on our way back to Cortes.
Oh the profanity…I swore. A lot. I’d have a fit about how difficult it was, throw the needles in the backseat and pout for a bit. Then the urge would strike once more and I’d try again. This happened…more than I’m proud to admit. I didn’t figure out knitting on that trip. I didn’t even really figure it out that winter. It would take almost a full year before I would complete a project to be proud of – a byproduct of pregnancy for me was an intense, unrelenting urge to knit everything.
Socks. Baby sack. Hats. Blankets. Wool soakers.
I knitted. And knitted. And knitted some more. Until I got it. I became much more open and ready to loudly tackle the things I don’t know and have the resilience to simply start again if a project goes off track. YouTube tutorials are my best knitting teachers and those around me who knit are powerful resources for skills like continental knitting – something I just plain have never been able to figure out. I usually do gauge swatches now. Try to only buy yarn for specific projects instead of splurging without purpose.
I’m impatient. And perhaps too proud. I wanted to believe when I walked out of that knitting store that I would be able to just ‘figure it out’. I didn’t have the same appreciation for the people around me that can help. I didn’t know how to ask for help just yet.
Impatience can be a good thing; it means I will likely complete 3-4 other projects while finishing this blanket so that I don’t get bored. It also means I started this project a full five months before the new bundle is due. I know myself better now and feel confident about embracing my impatience instead of fighting it or cloaking it in pride…which didn’t serve me well in knitting and isn’t much better for farming, or life for that matter.
Impatience might spark greatness. Or perhaps just a bit better skill.
But pride? Let it go. Get over it. Otherwise you might be surprised at what you’re missing out on.
I never made those socks. Still have the pattern, so maybe I will some day. But the yarn originally intended for that project was put to better use as my new favorite winter hat. So I suppose, even though I probably could have saved myself quite a few temper tantrums on that long trip home…it worked out, once I finally gave in to knowing (and embracing) all that I don’t know.