Tuesday, December 02, 2008

The power of a hard head against soft wool

I am known for my stubborness, even among my family, which has it as a dominant genetic trait.
It has caused me no end of grief through the years. Occasionally it has been a boon, but mostly not.
Many times it would have been best to cut my losses and try something else but my hard head kept me trying past all sense and reason. Occasionally I made it to the top of a mountain, or managed a small victory not worth the cost, but mostly it just made me tired and wasted time on impossible goals.

Except for knitting.
I tell you knitting is a wonderful thing for a stubborn hard-headed person.

If you keep trying, keep frogging (rip-it, rip-it) or tinking (k-n-i-t, backwards) and starting over, eventually, you will succeed. You may wind up using a different yarn, or trying a different size needle, or only keep one row of 7 per day, but you can and will finish the project if you don't give up. It's a heady thing, I tell you, to have my stubborness finally come in handy every single time.

One of my current projects is a prime example. I saw the pattern and immediately knew someone (actually a few people) who will adore the finished objects. I bought the pattern.

I read through and discovered that the largest size wasn't quite large enough for one of my intended recipients, so I found a different yarn of a thicker gauge, and ordered it.

The yarn was on back order but eventually, the day it arrived, I cast on with needles two sizes larger than the pattern specified. The yarn was the most perfect shade for the project and person, but it was a bit splitty, (the needles too-easily split the strand of yarn rather than moving a loop as one entitity) so knitting took care and patience.

I ran into some trouble somewhere. I wound up with more stitches than I ought about 40 rounds in, 2/3rds of the way through the pattern. I measured the circumference of what I had and found it way too large for the person who would receive it. I sent the designer more notes than I ought to, telling her where my problems occurred, but finally clued in that 7 people had happily finished thier projects, without the problems I encountered; thus the problems were mine, not the pattern's. (Bless Ravelry. It's a fantastic resource in times like these.)

I ripped out all those stitches, and printed out a copy of the pattern. I meticulously cut out the directions for the individual rounds and glued then taped them, spaced clearly apart, on 5 x 8 inch index cards. I wrote notes to myself beside the tricky bits, and color coded some sections.

It took hours. When I finished, and sat down to number the cards (1 of 14, 2 of 14, etc.) I discovered that somehow, one of the cats had stolen card number 9 of 14.
I decided to rest for the remainder of the evening.

The next day (yesterday), yards and yards away from my work space, I found card 9 of 14. I also received a kind, informative and encouraging note from the designer. I was in business again.

I cast on for the pattern, using a needle size one step larger than the pattern specified, even though I knew it would be difficult on my hands to knit the thick yarn with it, and started in, round by round. I finished the first section, with no problems at all, and cast on to knit the first section for the smaller person's gift from the same pattern. (different yarn and needles)
I managed yesterday to finish the first sections for both of the people who will recieve them, and am excited about working the second sections today, or if my hands hurt, tomorrow.

My stubborness this time will have beeen worth it. The pattern is spectacular, beautiful, and useful. It will make me appear a knitting Goddess in the eyes of the recipients.
When I finish them and the gifts have been given, I will happily post photos here, bragging about my hard work and thier happiness.
In the meantime, I'll just post a picture of our cat Basil. Also a stubborn creature, but more graceful about it than I am.


AlisonH said...

Very cool. Can't wait to see. And you had me chuckling--I so much relate! I came home from Thanksgiving at the aunt's, after knitting on a project, with fewer rows done than when I'd arrived--but I'm so glad I ripped. It looks glorious now.

Lynx said...

DARLING, don't you realize that you are ALREADY a Knitting Goddess to those of us who know you?!