"Anyone that doesn't agree with leggings as pants can physically fight me.
And I'm going to win because I have a full range of motion due to the fact that I am wearing leggings as pants."

Thursday, January 27, 2011

A Quandary

Note- At one point, I read the following, "Don't have anything in your portfolio that you need to make excuses for." It was from Patti Digh's book Life is a Verb. And I think it's great advice.


Lately, though, I've felt that sentence hanging over me every time I work on something to post about here. And I have to say, it's caused a fair amount of creative drain, causing me to hold everything I want to post against my highest standards. I am still creating a bit, just not taking pictures and not sharing the story. And every day that passes that I don't post, the bar gets higher and higher and my creative urges get fewer and fewer.

Which is sad because my underlying goal here is to encourage people to try things. To start badly and then improve. To do it for the thrill of making. Of trying. Luckily I found this post by Paul Overton reminding us of the importance of not being too attached to the wonderfulness of what we produce. Noah Scalin referred to it as "letting go of preciousness."

Wendy Profile

So what follows will not be that wonderful. It isn't a helpful tutorial or a rousing tale of success and it only has a couple of pictures, way down at the bottom. It *is* a little story about me trying something new. Which might be just as worthwhile.

I recently figured it was time to knit a sweater. I realize that not everyone comes to this decision at some point in their lives, but well, I have.

Up until now I mostly knit just for the sake of knitting. I actually enjoy the feel of making the stitches. I just rarely make anything practical (other than the odd giant headband). Just knitting and frogging, over and over.

Weird. I know.

So after hours searching on Ravelry, I finally found a pattern and yarn. Yarn, it turns out, that no one carries in an actual store in my neck of the woods. So I chose something else because the idea of buying yarn that I hadn't been able to rub against my face just seemed crazy. Yes, I am that weirdo next to you at the store who cuddles with the merchandise.

The process of buying yarn was so involved (should I get this one? yes. no, wait. how bout that one? ya know, I think I like that first one after all) that by the time I'd left the store and walked to my car I felt like punching my fist into the air like Judd Nelson as if to say "Take that, yarn store! Your plethora of choices and lack of what I'd actually wanted to buy did not defeat me!"

I didn't do it, but I wanted to. As I drove away, I wasn't even dismayed at the immense distance between the thousand or so yards of fiber in my bag and the sweater I would be attempting to twiddle it into with a couple of bamboo sticks. Clearly I was delusional. But I'd at least managed to procure the raw materials for the project.

Surprisingly, the knitting gods were smiling on me (well, other than the wreck I created while trying to wind my first center pull ball, but I'll get to that). I cast on the right number of stitches on the *first try*. And my stockinette stitches were nice and even and also (get this) the correct gauge right off the bat, even though I forgot to knit a test swatch.

Now normally I knit like a child, handing it over to a more experienced knitter (my little sister, actually) whenever I mess something up. I'd recently joined a knitting club in which other grown women do this same thing with no embarrassment whatsoever.

But this project would be different. *I* was going to do it all by myself. And I knew that if I dropped a stitch, I would pick it up myself.

Unfortunately when I dropped that stitch, I'd been drinking a bit. And the alcohol made it difficult to understand the video I found here about how to remedy the situation. I would watch it a couple of times, hold my work up to the monitor and completely fail to see how the two were related. (Turns out I was looking at the purl side and merely needed to turn it backwards.)

I also realize that this is quite possibly the lamest drinking story ever told.

Eventually, I simply put my work on a shelf in the closet, next to my first attempt at winding a center pull ball, which was currently a knotted up pile of sad.

(right side= nicely wound center pull ball, left side= complete rudding mess that I can't even bear to look at. I will work on it when I have run out of the rest of the yarn.)

But boy howdy, the next day? The next day I pulled that sucker out and fixed it! Yes, I realize that using a crochet hook to pull a couple loops of yarn through other loops of yarn probably doesn't necessitate the exclamation mark. But this image from this post came to mind and I cracked up because I felt the same sense of purpose and accomplishment.


This is what I have so far. About a hundred yards of yarn fooled into thinking it's a 1 x 2 foot piece of cloth.

Now if I can just convince that cloth that it's a sweater.

So, what do you think? Do you prefer finished projects with lots of pictures or did you enjoy this glimpse into the crazy?