Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Patience, grasshopper

A few weeks ago I started a toddler hooded cardigan sweater for a friend who is planning to adopt an older child. I had this Lion Brand Wool-ease Thick & Quick in Teal that I bought on sale for something like $3/skein, and the pattern took four skeins. So a nice, cheap, washable and quick-to-knit gift.

Of course, I forgot to factor in that those patterns off the Lion Brand website can be awful. First I knit the back. That was straightforward. Then I knit the pocket linings. Again, simple. Then I got to the right front, and I could see this was more than I could understand. So I went on to knit a sleeve and a half, and then the right front up to the part where you attach the pocket linings.

And then I waited for my mother.

Luckily, we had plans to see each other last weekend and she helped me with this. It was awful. Took almost an hour for the two of us together to try to figure out what they meant. Why do pattern writers do that? It would have been easy to just add a few words to make this clear! As a writer, and more importantly, as an editor, I find this inexcusible.

But I did have spiritual lessons galore from this little detour. (It helps that I'm reading The Knitting Way right now, too, to make those connections.) Here are just a few:

1. You don't have to go it alone. I knew from my first read of this pattern that there was no way I could figure out that complicated part by myself. But I didn't let it stop me from going for it. Which leads me to ...

2. Don't be afraid to ask for help. I could have agonized over trying to figure this out myself, but I knew that that's what mothers are for! Or other knitters. Or even fellow knitting bloggers. But you won't get help if you don't ask.

3. When you run into trouble, it's OK to step back for a moment. I put this project on hold while I waited for my mom's visit. It wasn't avoidance, just some patient waiting for the time to be right to move on to the hard part. In the meantime, I did started a baby blanket, and did some reading.

4. When you're not sure, sometimes you have to just make a leap of faith. Which is exactly what my mom and I eventually had to do. The pattern was so unclear, we finally had to just make our best guess and give it a try.

5. Patience pays off. I finished the right front and it looks pretty good. Now I'm going to see if I can remember how to do it again for the left front. If not, see #1-4 above!

1 comment:

Rae said...

I have to admit I have entered the land of yarn and knitting snobbery. I gave up the Lion Brand yarns and patterns months ago when I switched to knitting things other than dishcloths. LOL. I actually have fewer projects as a result (we can't afford all the projects my brain can conjure up).

How wonderful that your mom can help you out! My mom's a non-knitter, and my lovely grandmother who taught me to knit isn't able to help any longer.

So did you finish it??