The Mid-Project Blues
It is widely accepted that knitting is therapeutic and calming. It relaxes knitters almost to the point of meditation. It’s a quiet hobby that allows your hands to move rhythmically while the mind can go over problems.
EXCEPT WHEN IT DOESN’T!!!!!
Many complex, beautifully knit works of art are often not meditative to knit. The really complex patterns are actually really complex (surprise!) and if you can’t memorize a 141 line chart pattern with no repeating rows, then sorry, sucka, your mind aint wandering anywhere.
If you follow me on Instagram, you know I am working on a shawl for a friend's wedding. We went over her wedding colors, compared hues with the color of the dress, and hit ravelry and pinterest hard to find the perfect pattern. And I think we found a great one. BUT it is not simple. There are a couple of dozen symbols in the chart key, several mirrored repeats, many increases and decreases, and literally thousands of beads (which I am not doing, because I’m not a completely crazy person, just a mostly crazy person).
So this is not a finished product post where I get to show off a beautiful new shawl and talk about how great the drape is and how luxurious the silk yarn feels. Hopefully we’ll get to that post someday. (The wedding is in September, thank heavens.) But this post is for the people who have hit the wall. Whose project is being a jerk and the pattern is grumpy. Because it happens. I don’t know anyone who enjoys a super huge project every minute that they’re working on them.
If you’re out there slogging through a colorwork chart only to realize you made a mistake 3 rows down. Or you have one of your intricate cable twists as a C3F instead of a C3B, I am writing this post in solidarity with you.
We have all been there. And if you haven’t been there, you will be. And if you aren’t there now, just thank your lucky stars and continue on trying not to remember that this time waits for you.
It can really suck. Counting every stitch for hundreds of rows. I just watched an episode of Little House on the Prairie while knitting and realized I only completed one row during the episode. Y’all. It took me 45 minutes to finish ONE ROW! I’m working on size 3 needles! Literally I am gaining less than 5 mm every 45 minutes.
Knitting Hell and Purgatory
Perhaps you are here. In knitting hell with me. Working through a very complicated chart made by someone else. But remember. We always get through it. You will keep knitting, just like you do. And after a few thousand more stitches you will be close to finishing. And then you’ll be out of hell and into the frantic finishing stage where you’re doing the binding off and blocking and (heaven forbid) seaming as fast as possible so you can finally see the damn thing done.
Or maybe. Just maybe, your crawl out of hell won’t bring you immediately into finished project heaven, but you will have to finish with a more simple part of the project. This is called purgatory. It can be less motivating than hell. Sleeve purgatory is a common place to land for sweater-knitters. And there is a very common malady shorthanded to SSS known as second-sock-syndrome, where the second sock is unable to be completed. Purgatory isn’t the worst, but it’s not very satisfying, and so, many projects can languish there.
Working on this pattern has reminded me why I struggle to work with designer patterns. If I don’t make the pattern myself, I have more trouble memorizing it. And then I have to carry my knitting around with the pattern and that is clunky and slows me down immensely. Furthermore, I just don’t feel as satisfied completing another designer’s project as when I have the final project pictured in my head and know that it won’t be in the real world unless I make it.
Well that really wasn’t much of a pep talk. But there it is for you anyway. I feel you. May your podcasts be interesting and your gauge be correct. Carry on knitting sisters. I’ll see you on the other side of hell.