So. Last week in Yarn, Spring, and All Good Things I talked about how excited I was about the two knitting classes I was attending. There was the class at my local library in which we would be working on the Linus Shawl. The next day there was the sock knitting class on our weekly Knit Night at Knit Witts, in which I would be learning how to do the Fish Lips Kiss Heel for the first time. I was excited, I was thrilled, I had managed to hold off on casting on any more projects knowing these two projects were coming.
I’m sure there is no one who cannot relate to the following statement: Well, that didn’t go as planned!
I was able to attend both classes and cast on both projects and make a start on them. Things kind of went downhill from there. I can’t really explain what it was. As I mentioned in my previous post the Linus Shawl wasn’t really going to be a challenge. I was attending the class more to enjoy the society of other knitters than for any other reason. I had bought some new gradient yarn for it that is really pretty and got to start on a lovely new set of needles that had just arrived. Win, win. However, in spite of the fact that this is a very simple pattern I kept finding bobbles and mistakes that were not easily fixed and I had to frog the shawl and begin again (I won’t tell you how many times). Perhaps, in this case, it was the result of using the very fine fingering weight yarn and US size 4 needles. This is to give it a light, airy texture rather than a more densely knit fabric. This seemed to make any gaps or issues far more obvious and I’m already a bit OCD when it comes to wanting my projects to turn out perfectly.
If this had been a somewhat complicated pattern I might have felt some irritation, but it would have seemed understandable. But when the vast majority of stitches were simple garter?! Let’s just say patience is not my virtue. This is not new.
This seemed to hold true with my sock project. We were told we could choose any basic sock pattern and begin it. The real instruction will begin when we are ready to start the heel. So I selected the Vanilla Latte sock pattern. This is a fairly simple pattern I had been planning to use anyway, so here was my perfect opportunity. Not only would I get a new pair of socks with this pattern, but I would get to try my 9 inch Hiya Hiya Sharps circulars. Now to be fair, I think I was already in a frustrated place because of the grief my shawl was giving me. I cast on this sock and began a very simple K2P2 ribbing pattern for the cuff. I was finding working with such small circulars a bit difficult, but I also knew it would simply be a matter of adjusting my technique to make it work.
I spent a good bit of my evenings on the shawl trying to get to a good place with it and not a lot of time on my socks. Finally, one evening I ripped out the shawl yet again. The next morning I picked up the sock to add to the cuff. It was a sad, skinny little cuff since it had not gotten much love from me. Not long into this I realized I was knitting with the tail rather than my working yarn. GRRRRRR!
On another day, in a calmer frame of mind, I would have simply tinked it back (Tink is Knit spelled backwards and simply means to knit back to a point where an error has occurred) and started again with my working yarn. But I was NOT in the mood! So this was frogged as well.
The thing that was bugging me most was that I have done similar and sometimes almost identical projects in the past with little to no problem. But if professional, published writers can have writer’s block, I guess it is reasonable to assume that I can get knitter’s block. Sometimes there’s just a wall there. You hit it, fall down, get up, brush off, and you start again.
This past week I was quoting Thoreau in an online conversation. “Go confidently in the direction of your dreams”. As I said then, “I’m not always great at doing it with confidence, but I am pretty good at doing it with determination”. (My Mom can tell you at length how “determined” I can be). My belief is that if I want it and I am determined to gain the skill the confidence will develop. Doing something I really want to do, even when I’m not feeling confident is my version of “Do it scared”.
I know this was just a short-lived schlump. I have begun the shawl again and this time we are doing just fine. Just before I sat down to write I re-cast on the sock and that is moving as well. But these hitches, stumbles and walls are a good check for me. They cause me to stop and ask. “Is this really what you want to do?” Since it really is and I know that it is, the simple answer is, “Well, let’s go then”.