Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Lessons from the Linen Tank

Lessons from the Linen Tank

I’m working on moving from a project knitter to a process knitter. I’m not sure how to do this, but the more I think about it the more I realize it’s a challenge I have in other areas of my life.

Process knitters enjoy the work. It doesn’t matter if it’s a sweater or an afghan, they are just happy knitting. Product knitters are working toward the end goal, the finished product.

A friend put it best: when I see something that I want to make, it’s because I want that thing. I recently put everything aside to make a bag because I wanted that thing. (I get compliments on it everyday, so maybe it was worth it! More on this bag later.)

I started this linen tank in July of 2013. We were taking a road trip to New Mexico, so I knew we’d have a lot of flat West Texas driving. It was the perfect time for knitting and audiobook listening. The husband and I listened to Helter Skelter as the kids were plugged in to their movies. As I knit away, I imagined finishing this tank by the end of summer so I could enjoy it a couple times before linen season was over.

When I got to the arm shaping, something didn’t really make sense, but I kept going. Of course, when I got to the end there was definitely something wrong. There was puckering at the armpit, but I convinced myself it might be bust shaping that would make sense later.

The dreaded puckering revealed at the stitch marker.

After I finished side two (the sweater is made in two pieces with the seam up the middle), I confirmed the two sides were very different. With a little help from my knitting coach, I accepted the fact I’d have to rip out a few inches and rework the shaping. I wasn’t going to wear this wear poochy action at the armpits. Trust me, I don’t need more saggy poochy action at my armpits. She sat there with me as I thread in a lifeline and frogged away.

And then, I messed it up again.

And then, I messed it up AGAIN!

Finally, I got it right.

Sewn up and ready to wear for summer 2014. I get complements on it every time I wear it. It doesn’t matter that I wore it in 2014 instead of 2013.

And so I write these lessons I learned to remind myself. I, too, am a WIP.

If something doesn’t make sense, stop. It’s not just knitting. Life, relationships, jobs, driving directions. Stop and ask for help.

Perseverance. This is a tough one for me. I’m not so good at sticking with things. I want to give up and say “it’s good enough,” but I just couldn’t cover up this error. If I tried, I would have never worn it.

Take a break when you’re not feeling it. I let this sit for the winter months until I was ready to take it on. But, I have to admit I hated seeing it sitting there unfinished. It nagged me every time I went through my knitting corner.

Ask for support. It honestly wasn’t major help that I couldn’t figure out myself, but having that little bit of support and nudge to do it right made me do it. Then Staci was there when I had to do it again. I just needed the time and space and someone to understand my pain the second time around.

Find a mantra. I work at a coworking space that is not only a nice place to work, but is also a place to find inspiration in the form of other professionals and motivational quotes placed here and there. “Mistakes need not be fatal” is printed on a magnet on the fridge when I go to get cream for my coffee. It is the mantra I found myself repeating as I frogged. I remind myself this when memories of other past missteps seep into my consciousness. Accept it, fix it (or don't), and move on. 

It’s worth the effort.  Why we do it. Something about knitting and making it your own is worth the effort. I find myself asking, what else is worth the effort?

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