Life in knitting
Over the past couple years I have knit a lot of toques.
And arm/wrist warmers.
And even one sock.
However, I did not develop a theory about knitting until yesterday.
The inspiration hit as I was sitting in an armchair untangling and attempting to reuse the yarn from a toque I created when I lived in Smithers, BC and never really liked.
The problem was the toque didn’t really work. This is because one of my chosen colours ran out part way through. So I tied a similar colour on the end and kept going. But then that colour ran out as well. So I tried another colour and another…
So the failure toque was tossed aside in the hopes some good could come from it and finally I felt it was time to take it apart.
Seeing as the hat has been in a knitted position for, oh, five years now, it didn’t really want to be taken out. But I persisted. It took ages.
As I struggled with the knots I started thinking. Thinking about wool, about knitting, about life. The works.
I learned how to knit because I wanted to make my sister a scarf for Christmas. It was Christmas 2003, right when all that eyelash yarn started coming out and people were selling said scarfs for $30 apiece. They were so cool. However, I figured I, with no prior interest in knitting nor any real desire to work with my hands or be crafty, could make a fluffy scarf for much cheaper.
Plus I was pretty bored.
So, I bought a book teaching knitting to left-handers and had the shop keeper help me pick out the right needles for the fluffy wool I had chosen for my sister.
The shop keeper even told me how many stitches I’d need for the scarf.
What she should have told me was how much more difficult knitting with fluffy wool is than regular wool. The learning curve was HIGH.
Honestly I think I took apart that dang thing 80 times before I finally had something resembling a scarf, even if it did expand and thin out in random places. But I finished it for Christmas and I was proud of my work.
Turns out knitting was more than a one-time project for me.
Something about it appealed to me and so, over Christmas, my mom helped me develop an easy toque pattern (following patterns when you knit left handed is…always good for a laugh. Even now I struggle and just generally make up my own patterns as it’s less frustrating) to take back up north with me and I started practicing.
My new slouchy toque, in its element at the ski hill
The toque I was taking out was destined to become a new toque, using a newer, better pattern I developed while I was a ski bum up at the hill this winter.
They’re slouchy but stay on your head so you can do sports (did someone say skiing?) and still look cool. Plus there’s a pom pom. I’ve resigned to using pom pom’s in this pattern because even though I don’t like them, I guess the rest of the world has no issue.
Anyway, as I was working at untangling the mess this old hat was becoming I realized how far I have come knitting-wise.
Just looking at the two toques that much is apparent. The old one looks good but simple. The new one doesn’t even look handmade in comparison.
And then it dawned on me how looking at my life in knitting isn’t necessarily a bad thing.
Once I made these simple things, because that was all I knew. But the more I made these simple things, the more advanced they were actually becoming. Without me even noticing.
I just kept knitting.
Of course I still have a giant pile of mistake patterns I need to take out. But I’m OK with it. I’d rather try and fail then avoid because I might not get it right.
It’s kind of like my life, I think.
I start out in a direction and things work out pretty well for a while. But then I try the same thing in a different colour and it doesn’t quite stick. So I have to go backwards a bit, take out my work and try again.
Up until now I’ve been really frustrated when I try something in life and it doesn’t work out, because I feel like a failure and a bit silly for hoping for something that didn’t happen.
But looking at life in knitting, I’m a little more comfortable taking a couple steps back and waiting for a new pattern to work its way into my life.
Because it will be even better than the one I already know.
Oh yeah, and while I was searching for other people’s theories about knitting I found this: Mathematical Knitting.
Now I’ve seen everything.
Math and knitting together at last. Ugh.