Thursday, October 11, 2007

Philosophies of knitting & Elizabeth Bennet

Now that FiFi is done and Urchin has croaked, I have a small pile of WIPs I could revisit. Clapotis is moving along nicely (she's about 2 foot long now) but I think she's one for filler knitting. You know, a bit here, a bit there. Swallowtail is a beautiful pattern but I still don't feel quite up to the high concentration task that she will be. Those trekking socks... well I've really only swatched and knit about 5 rows on those so far so that's not very compelling.

The weather is getting cooler... maybe it really is time to get the wool back out. As I mentioned before, I did buy yarn for a couple of Fitted Knits patterns back in the spring. I thought that cooler weather was needed before starting those. Has it gotten cool enough?

A couple of posts back I kidded myself about casting on for Urchin in that at least she wasn't a long sleeve wool sweater. I think this really has to do with some issues I have, which were highlighted in several comments on my SnBLosAngeles listserv yesterday.

Jody posted
"Seriously, the point of knitting is being happy (at least for me), and the pursuit of happiness is not a sign of moral degeneration. If casting things on makes you happy, why not? and half finished projects don't really take up any more room than unstarted ones do."

Dana then responded:
"That was very profound and sorta made my morning. .... I think sometimes I get very goal oriented and set deadlines for my knitting, basically the way I treat everything else in my life (job, errands, etc) and sometimes it can take the fun out of it a little bit. Knitting is the one thing I do that is for me and only me, whether I am making gifts or not, the process is still for me. I love the idea of casting on however many and working on however many projects because it is the work that is the point, not the finished product."

Can I ever relate!

With large projects I frequently finding myself kniting to finish rather than knitting to knit. I also place pressures on myself to finish things fast. Why? Who says anything needs to be done quickly? Leisure is good! Stopping to smell the roses is fantastic! Why do I feel that I'm going to be judged negatively if I'm slowly working away on the same project for some time. Sure, you guys are going to see the same old, same old on the blog, post after post, but isn't that OK? Isn't it alright that sometimes there will not be new knitting blog fodder?

But... yep here's the big but... I like to read blogs where there are new things, projects being done, new knitting fodder. Hmmm.... perfectionism raises its head again. I wonder how many bloggers really have a new project every week. I know I was suprised a couple of weeks ago when Cara documented that she's only knit 21 pairs of socks, ever. I somehow had this perception that she had done soooo many -- was oh so proficient. I have a terrible tendency to see the glass half empty when it come to anything I'm doing and half full (or completely full) for others. But then isn't that a human tendency*? [Of course the fact that I expected more is probably evidence that I overestimate everyone dramatically; I could have thought "oh my... 21 pairs that's alot!].

So maybe it is OK for me to work on several different things at once, making even slower progress on each one. More variety for me ... maybe less possibility for project boredom?

So in this spirit, I'm proud to admit that two nights ago I swatched.

Last night, yep, I cast on ... the Elizabeth Bennet cardigan from Fitted Knits.

I make a vow to myself not to feel pressured to knit continuously until it's done, not to feel pressure to knit faster and more just to get it done, not to feel uncomfortable about blogging about small progress. I vow to enjoy the knit, not just to look forward to the finished project (although I know up front this will be the hardest vow to keep).

I am looking forward to working on this sweater. I purchased the called for yarn (got it on sale in a color discontinuation deal) and find it very soothing. I'm a little wary going into the sweater... not too many people seem to have completed this project thus far. Is it because it looks intimidating? It did to me when I first bought the yarn. Is it because it's hard to get gauge (I seem not to get the same gauge as Stephanie with any of her patterns even using the recommended yarn)? Do people not like the look of the sweater? I do so I guess that part doesn't matter.

Concerns aside, I've made my best guess about the size to knit and have started the journey. I'm hoping the pattern is accurate (without the security of previous completed projects I do think about this). I'm going to enjoy the travels no matter when I get to my destination.

Bon voyage!

*Fundamental attribution erroris the tendency for people to over-emphasize personality-based explanations for behaviors observed in others while under-emphasizing the role and power of situational influences on the same behavior. In this context I would assume that others are great and miraculous knitters, getting tremendous amounts done even while balancing a million other life tasks. I, on the other hand, must just be a dud because I have more things on my to-do list than my done list.

Or maybe it's reverse optimism bias. You know research shows that depressed people more accurately assess their circumstances and situations. Non-depressed people just overestimate how great their lives are.

= }-

1 comment:

Veronika said...

I love the Elizabeth Bennet cardigan. You still have the magazine with the pattern?