It’s not so bad

For me, a knitting project always has a promising start. The yarn sits there, immaculate balls (I don’t spin yet) alive with possibility. It could be almost anything, why not this? The needles gleam, and me? I can do it. After all, whatever it is, it’s only combinations of knit/purl/yarnover, repeat until done. I plunge enthusiastically into the work but alas, as it progresses, it NEVER meets my expectations. My tension varies through each session. Stitches ignore my disciplinarian nature. Some escape into thin air, or perhaps they were virtual stitches that only ever existed in my mind, never made it to the needles. A few succeed in breeding, resulting in more stitches than should have existed. Perhaps these are someone else’s missing stitches, or those I lost in a previous project. Inevitably at some points I misread the pattern, panic a bit, frog 20 rows, realise I’d done it right the first time and re-knit the rows with a distinct sense of self-loathing: how could I be so stupid again? As the knitting grows I become disheartened, resign myself to the fact that, whatever it is, it’s probably not going to look good when finished. Nothing like the picture. sorrowful sniffle. Clearly I’m not yet good enough to have attempted insert technique here.

I think this is part of the learning experience, or at least my learning experience. WHY on this earth (or any other) do I honestly expect to be able to produce something very nearly perfect the first time I try something? It never happens. I draw well, it’s one of the things I do to earn a living. People frequently say to me “Oh, I wish I could draw like you do” and my reply is always what I regard as unvarnished truth: “You can. You just have to practice, to acquire the skill”. I’ve been drawing since before I could read, and I learned to read before I was 5.

Anyway. The Shell Tank was at this stage don’t ask me to tell you about the frogging, because I won’t. I’m too embarrassed. I finished the last piece on Saturday evening, hung it off the long safety pin (I have this turnip cunning plan to graft the shoulder seams), and then just glared at the huddled mass of cotton cowering on the footstool. I had to do the ironing Sunday morning anyway, so I included the pieces, the pattern measurements and my trusty tape in the basket. Arrayed the first bit on the ironing board and… guess what? It was very nearly the right size even before blocking. A bit narrow, but then I know I knit tight. I cannot tell you how much that raised my spirits. I’m improving, I’m not completely incompetent.

And I’m half-convinced that the unruly stitches aren’t as noticeable as I thought they’d be. Definitely worth continuing; perhaps even my body shape will be less disastrous than I feared? 🙂

And there’s more, too. Isn’t this pretty? Kiri in Ivory Sea Silk on Inox 3.75mm needles, just onto Chart 2. I have no idea whether I’m using the stitch markers properly (I’ve never used any before), but they do look decorative. I’m sure THIS time the end result will be perfect.

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2 thoughts on “It’s not so bad

  1. Alice

    See, the Shell Tank will be perfect (and you wouldn’t notice the stitches if you didn’t look for them)! Sometimes when we expect less we seem to end up with more. I can’t even tell you how much I can relate to everything you have said…the unreasonable expectations, the apparent inability to knit a garment that fits, for heaven’s sake….I find it difficult to accept, sometimes, that I’m not clever enough to excel at everything I attempt. It’s a ridiculous attitude and very self-defeating. Your lace looks lovely. It really does.Now that your knitting is going so well, I can only hope you haven’t spent all your yarn money on….. a huge turnip.

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  2. sarah

    I like that: “Sometimes when we expect less we seem to end up with more”. I will try to remember it. As for knitting garments that fit? I did say this was the year I would try HARD to do so. I’ve ordered some gorgeous Sundara yarn for a small sweater (not a turnip after all). I’m going to get me measured properly, plan the sweater properly, and just see what I can do if I try hard — while remembering not to expect perfection!

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