Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Rohrschach knitting

My analogy may not be completely spot on, but as I bound off two projects yesterday and contemplated my WIPs, UFOs, WALL OF YARN, completed works, and on-the-drawing-boards, it occurs to me that my experience with the fiber arts highlights my foibles and failings to an uncomfortable degree.
Take the squares from the Great North American Afghan book. I bound one off yesterday, pleased that I seemed to get this one right - stitch count never off, no dropped stitches that I couldn't handle, no need to ask teach for help. And then, I look at the color jogs at the spot where the work meets (it is worked in the round). Maybe it will look better after I weave in the ends. I don't know. But I am disappointed all the same, and start to think of other knitters out there: they know what to do, they know how to do it better (like what I told myself about parenting for years, and sometimes still do).
Then the other square, which is actually so simple, I had to rip out once, get help from the teacher, and now there is still another mistake that I am waiting til Saturday to get help with again. I don't want to rip it out, I don't like it enough to do it over again, I am bored. I think: "other knitters do a better job, they wouldn't make a mistake like this, they are more careful, or they would rip it out and find the mistake."
The Cardishawl pattern from Karabella that I knit with Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Superchunky - there are knots in it that I was too lazy to undo, and weave in later. The whole piece was a failure in conception.
Here is what I see when I think about these and other projects: I am hasty to cast on, love buying yarn and dreaming of projects more than actually completing them, I would rather dispatch an extra stitch with a k2tog than figure out where the culprit first appeared. Basically, a lack of attention to deatil -- ahem, detail, sloth, living with frayed edges and sloppy seams - not a perfectionist by a long shot (of course this rant uncovers the uber-perfectionist within).
The yarns that are too beautiful to knit - nothing seems just right just yet, I'd rather hold on and wait to FIGURE OUT the EXACT right thing, ask one more person for their opinion, maybe there is a GURU out there who can fix me, oops - I mean help me.

I've gone through several enthusiasms - rubber stamping, buddhism, window art (yep, those sticky things you put on the window that kids usually do) buy lots of supplies, do it for a while, it doesn't come out as nice as I had hoped or I don't exhibit the discipline I so admire, I get discouraged and enthusiasm wanes.
I feel a bit discouraged that my projects aren't as perfect or beautiful as could be. I look at them and all I see are the flaws - kind of like how I view myself in life too.
Yes, I can list the good things that my pursuit of this hobby illustrates. Enthusiasm, quest for knowledge, desire to learn new skills (no more garter scarves), seek new challenges, engage and share with friends, make new friends, etc. But that list is just not as fascinating as the judgemental one and there, my friends, is the rub.
Maybe knitting/the fiber arts can be a lesson in seeing what went right, learning from what went wrong, blessing the bliss of being able to be in the moment, living one stitch at a time, feeling the fiber pass from needle to needle, hand to hand.


The Guppy said...

It's all in the perspectives. *grin*

I look at your work and think I'll never be as talented or as fearless about jumping in as you are. You find something you like (like your Easter shawl or the Cable throw) and you just jump in. I have to google the pattern, see what all my options are, find out what yarn to use, think about it, cast on and frog about 40 times before finally FINALLY I start knitting.

Perspective is everything.

HPNY Knits said...

"...The yarns that are too beautiful to knit..." I have a bunch of those too!!!! I know how the web can be frustrating, so many projects, but we are each just one person. I used to be a one project at a time kind of knitter, I now have 3 works in progress... But all is part of our individual spiritual path, and no trail or detour on it is a waste, it all leads us to a better us!
cast on, ahmm, I mean, march on my friend!

Mary, Mary... said...

Every piece I've knitted has been a learning experience. There were quite a few 'gifts' for a 12-yr old niece(I THOUGHT I was knitting for an adult medium) in the beginning and then it got easier and I got better at it. And I still make mistakes whether it's substituting the wrong yarn, dreaming up a pattern and using the worst stitch for it or getting enthralled with a new yarn/pattern. It's not a race...this coming from someone who usually has 4-5 projects going on and at least 3 books lying around.;)