Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Starting over

Sometimes you just have to know when to start over.

I tend to be of the stick-with-it-no-matter-how-hard-it-gets-buckle-down-and-suck-it-up variety. I hate quitters. I hate to BE a quitter even more.

Let's revisit yesterday's photo of the diagonal lace scarf. This is a great pattern for this yarn. It showcases the color changes, it's the right amount of open space, the lines it creates are just right. It's hard to see from the picture, but when I held it up to the light, I could tell it was going to be beautiful after blocking. Simple appearance springing from something complex - deceptive, elegant.

But the pattern was hard to knit. It was too irregular and hard to see repeats and I couldn't quite memorize it. Every time I made a mistake, I had to carefully undo two or three rows one stitch at a time and redo them. It was getting very frustrating, but I KNEW this was the right pattern, and it had to get easier eventually.

Only it didn't get easier, I just got more tired and frustrated as I kept making mistakes and having to correct them. And I realized, knitting is something I love. It's not always about having a beautiful finished product or even about learning from the process (and I was learning, slowly), sometimes it is about finding comfort and happiness in the process.

Instead of happily cranking out my knitting as I watched TV, I was distracted, squinting at the written instructions, trying to keep track of where I was, trying to stay focused. It was taking all my energy and I wasn't enjoying it and I wasn't relaxing. I had to take a step back, because there is more to my life than knitting - it is supposed to be an outlet, something I do for myself because I love it.

So I ripped it out. I had at least twice the length of what you see above. It was a substantial rip, and it was hard to make myself do it, because I had put a lot of work into it.

This is the new scarf. The pattern is still pretty, and it's easy to knit because I can see the pattern as I go. There's nothing to keep track of in my head, no instructions to read, it just makes sense as I look at it. It still has open space and creates lines, and breaks up the color variegation. Best of all, I can't wait to pick it up and start knitting it again.

Maybe you'd like to make a Starting Over Scarf. So I'll share the pattern with you. I'm sure I'm not the first person to invent this pattern - I'm not claiming originality, so please don't sic your lawyers on me.

Starting Over Scarf

I used DK weight yarn, US size 8 needles. But you could use whatever you like.

Cast on 32 stitches (or any multiple of 4)
Knit 8 rows

Row1: K2, * K2tog, YO *, rep from * to last 2 sts, K2
Rows 2-4: Knit across

Repeat rows 1-4 until scarf is about 1" shorter than desired length. Knit 8 rows and bind off.


Jane said...

I think that's sort of the pattern I used on that shawl I made for you a couple of years ago. Wendy made it up. And I agree about the starting over thing - applies to more than knitting.

Amy said...

Wendy didn't make up the pattern, but she used a variation of it. K2tog, YO is a pretty standard basic lace motif.

Simple patterns can be kind of a gray area - at some point you can call it your own intellectual property, but if it's really basic, it fall into the public domain. Nerdspeak for "I'm pretty sure I didn't make this up but I'm also pretty sure no one can sue me."