Saturday, June 13, 2015

The Pain of the Process

This has been the week--or should I say--the weeks of the knitted fingerless mitt.  Two weeks, one mitt.
You may remember me beginning this waaaaaay back in February.  Well, something was going wrong with it, and I couldn't figure out what, and I was in the midst of school, so knitting went to the very end of my list and I went back to crochet and happily made a sweater--a little step up in my skills, but not overly complicated.

So, now that school is out, and I have decompressed for awhile knitting a simple garter stitch saw toothed scarf and reading a Maeve Binchy novel (always soothing), I decided I had the brain for getting back to the mitts--which became a project I was certain was not meant for me to make.

I made every beginner's mistake possible many, many times--dropping stitches and not knowing exactly how to get them back and unraveling so much in the process that I lost my way and had to rip out altogether, loosing stitches off the needle, making inadvertent yarn overs and adding stitches, etc., etc.   One morning I'd have all but four rows left to go, and in two hours, I'd be back with a big ball of yarn.  I watched video after video.  I tried DPNs and magic loop.  I read disheartening and unhelpful comments on Ravelry ("quick and easy," "so easy,"  "I made these over the weekend").  I dreamed the pattern.  I was just determined not to let this thing get the better of me.  If other people could figure out how to do this--well!  so could I.

Meantime, during my frustration at the hours and hours spent casting on and going again, and again, and again, I kept reminding myself that learning is about the process not the product--or that's what I always preach as a teacher anyway--"Don't focus so much on the grade," I have told my students, "Think of what you learned in the process."  Oi!  I was not enjoying my knitting process very much.  No wonder my students look at me like they'd like to throw a pie in my face--or worse.  Yeah, lady, right, I can hear them say.  Which is how I felt--still feel--about this make.  It was hard and frustrating, yet I was choosing to do it.  Why??  After all, I could just go out and buy some fingerless mitts if I really wanted to--and I won't even need any for another half a year or so anyway--if then.  It's Atlanta for pete's sake--you never really need gloves of any kind here.

But there was something that made me want to be able to do this, and now that I have and am starting on the next mitt (and actually I will have to make a third too because after all that, this one is a tad too small, which is why I didn't finish up the thumb part) I really do feel a kind of victory and satisfaction that giving up would not have satisfied.  I know that I am a little unusual in this--that I have a tremendous tenacity.  So, I think I am going to use this mitt as an example--a visual aid for my students in the fall--when we talk about grit and success and towing the hard line.

I am sure my next two mitts will come a little easier, but I am also sure that I will not make them all in one go without stopping a lot to breathe and rest and clear my head and probably ripping out.  I'm going to have to figure out the thumb part and re-examine that bind off.  The process is ongoing.

Meanwhile, here is a picture of a salad we ate yesterday with vegetables from our fabulous garden!  We grew the sugar snap peas, the eggplant, the cucumber, and the tomatoes!  Yea!

And--here's my crochet sweater. (It gave me a bit of a chainmail vibe before the detail work.  My sister thinks it could be part of a Joan of Arc outfit!)


  1. I've found, in learning knitting, lifelines are necessary evils. We don't need them in crochet, because tinking back doesn't have the potential for great loss. In knitting, it does. Might I suggest that you use a lifeline..? I knit a baby blanket and put in a lifeline every 10 rows. After ripping back 10 rows of lace, several times, I came up with that magic number and used it throughout the rest of the entire project. And it saved me from having to completely start over, several times. It also kept me from having to cry - this is always a good thing! :)

    1. I love the name "lifeline"--I think I will have to write a story with that. But yeah, the lifeline is something I learned about too!