February 06, 2006
The price we pay
I started to write a blog entry which would show a graph of your guesses to the contest, and the next thing I know, all this stuff I've been meaning to say just started to flow out. These thoughts, these feelings, these explanations.
The graph will wait. For now, I decided that I would risk receiving only a few comments in favor of letting it all out. As always, I thank you for your audience.
I really want to address the question, why did I continue knitting this shawl even after it was clear that the pattern is a disaster?
Well, the shawl is beautiful in a way that my grandma will surely love, that's an obvious answer. But there are many other shawls out there which are equally beautiful and grandma-appropriate.
The real reason why I didn't give up is because I love a challenge - if I don't have to scratch my head over a pattern at least once, it becomes very boring to me, blah-bidy blah blah. Just follow the instructions, join balls carefully, and make sure to slant your decreases into the seam. Blah. BLAH! If I were cut from a different material, I would abandon these projects each and every time as soon as I their boring status became apparent; then I would cast-on some new, exciting thing that promised to be more challenging. But I'm not like that, and instead I plow on ahead and finish these boring knits in, like, 4 days. Out of sight, out of mind, the next thing will surely be more complicated!
So, although it really sucked that my introduction to shawl construction was akin to being unexpectedly pushed into a cold swimming pool, at least it kept my brain buzzing! I love that!
This aspect of my personality is evident in other areas, too. Yarn Harlot's Olympics? Yeah, what do you call what I do every single day, on every single project? Okay, maybe not every project, but I strive for each to test the limits of my knitting abilities (just wait till you see one of the projects I have planned for the near future). The only difference is the additional time constraint, and since I typically don't have completion issues, it seems a bit artificial.
My reluctance to knit very popular patterns? Some erroneously think that the reason I have yet to jump on (let's say) the Clapotis bandwagon is because so many knitters have knit one, and therefore I'm bound to run into another knitter wearing one sooner or later, resulting in total embarrassment. That's a bunch of bullshit! If I had a Clapotis, and while wearing it ran into someone else wearing a Clapotis, I would tell her, "You have great taste."
The reason I will not knit a Clapotis or other overly-popular patterns is because I've seen it all - I've seen the cast-on, I've seen the stage when the second corner is defined, I've seen the dropped stitches, I've seen the bind-off, I've seen the blocked and unblocked versions, I've read the good, the bad, the lukewarm... To me, knitting something that promises zero challenge and discovery is... not going to happen.
But there's a price to pay for this attitude: if you insist on knitting esoteric projects that no one has knit before in order to satisfy some demonic thirst for knitting adventure, you risk crashing and burning. Adrienne Vittadini sweater - check. Curlicue - check. Misty Morning Shawl - conditional check (at least I'll finish).
I'm learning that there's a balance, that there are challenging, unique knits out there which can provide a sense of discovery without making me insane. I know I'll deviate from this rule (I'm BAD), but I will try to only knit things that have already been knit by others from now on. Maybe not a gazillion times like the Clapotis, but at least once ;).