Friday, July 14, 2006

Knitting Learning Curve

I realize some people have different reasons that they knit and most folks have different projects for different moods or circumstances. Some people knit to relax and do mindless projects. A few people will literally knit potholders or dishrags all their life, using the same pattern. (Not that there's anything wrong with that . . . different strokes ya know). On the other hand, some people (like me) are easily bored and never like to knit the same thing twice. We also have way too many projects going at once, as mentioned before. I think that's part of my driven personality. If I can't learn something new from a project, I'm less inclined to do it.

Don't get me wrong, I always have those mindless/easy/fast projects on the needles for those times when I'm wanting to watch tv, talk, etc. But as a rule, I also need a more mentally meaty project to keep it interesting. In fact, I feel DRAWN to learning new skills and challenging myself. Then when I challenge myself a wee bit too much, I whine and make myself annoying to others.

Last night's knitting class was a prime example. I've been just sailing along quite nicely (though slowly) on this Interweave lace socks pattern when all of a sudden last night, when I had to switch my stitches to the profile mode, I hit a brick wall. For about a year now, I've been knitting socks on 2 circs, but I never do that profile knitting thing some people do. When I get to the gusset, I usually just use DP needles until I can get back to the "normal" part again and get past the gusset.

To me, the gusset is always the challenging and least favorite part of the sock. It's represents the transition, the difficulty, it feels awkward to me etc. You have to readjust the stitches and you feel like you have way too many, etc. But I decided to challenge myself by doing the profile knitting thing. For some reason, it totally threw me for a loop. I was downright frustrated as I often am when I push myself to learn something new. I began to hate these socks, this class, and wished I'd just stuck to the old "tried and true" method I usually use. But I didn't. And this morning, as I wake up and face the socks with a fresh mind, the whole thing seems clearer to me now. That feeling of learning something gives me a feeling of mastery that is hard to find in any other area of my life.

Granted, figuring out this gusset doesn't solve global warming (Have you seen Inconvenient Truth? It's disturbing but amazingly impressive). Figuring out this sock won't solve the frighteningly tense Middle East situation, which is only escalating. But somehow, if I can push myself enough to get over the hurdle of figuring out this sock, something in me has a "cha-ching" feeling that eases my worries over everything else.


Carol said...

I left sock class last night also frustrated. I have not picked them up yet again but will this weekend and all will be fine with them I am sure. I think I was just hot (after no air in the office yesterday), and not able to concentrate. I did run down to The Studio to get another Apple Green Fixation to do the second sock. Unfortunatly, I did not get out quick enough and ended up spending $40. Guess I am going to have to move faster next time.

Maenwyn said...

I just want to learn to knit socks. I'm ok with easy, mindless items. No angst.

Jeanie said...

When I was a little girl, my mom used to always say to me, "things will seem better in the morning" and now that I'm older, I see that she was right. Don't give up on trying new techniques, even the ones that challenge you -- it's what keeps our minds fresh!