Friday, May 05, 2006

Comfort Knitting

With the Shedir cap ready for another go 'round, I retreated to some comfort knitting, which would be socks for me. This is the Jay walker pattern using Knitpicks Sockgarden Stargazer Lily colorway. Sadly, that seems to have disappeared from their offerings.

This is actually the second sock of a pair but will soon be the first; I'm about to unravel its mate. When I tried the first on, I found that its length wasn't right for my leg, too long. And the foot was also too long because I kept knitting instead of looking for a measuring tape. I also discovered that I had "unvented" a non-standard double decrease by slipping the two stitches individually instead of together. I could have lived with that, simply repeating the mistake on the second sock, but for the problems with length.

For all of those knitters out there who can and do turn out pairs of socks in a weekend, if not overnight, I salute you. I've been knitting away at this pair of socks for slightly over two months, sometimes knitting other things at the same time, sometimes not. My lack of speed doesn't trouble me and I know enough about myself to not try to knit anything to meet a deadline. And I marvel at the speed of other knitters.

I've also been thinking about perfection. I came to terms with imperfection as soon as I had children, not that my children were anything less than perfection itself. Before children it seemed that I could get from point a to point b pretty much in a straight line; after kids it was a zigzag touching on a good many points from a to z and including fractional bits, too. At first this bothered me, but I learned to go with the flow and to enjoy that. Things got done, some immediately, some later.

So why did I unravel Shedir? I was thinking about how I might feel if suddenly I were faced with my own mortality, when every day I might feel as if I were living on the edge of an abyss. I would crave love and support. And as giver of the cap as a symbol of that love and support, I couldn't make it any less perfect than possible. If a mistake slipped past me, really slipped past, and I didn't know about it, I could except that. But there were those two uncrossed cables (and while they were a perfect metaphor for Moll Flanders as she constantly strayed) , and I saw them. I had to start over.

Will all of my knitting be stitch perfect? Not a chance. That sock in the picture? I was short a stitch in one of the pattern repeats and knew when it was time to kitchener the toes, that stitch would count. I increased one stitch in the middle of the pattern repeat. No qualms about that at all.


jennhx said...

It's nice to read about another slow knitter!! I tried to do a sock knitalong (Cirque du socks)and only finished one sock in the alloted time (and that was pushing it). Someone else finished four pair of socks! Ah, well...

For me, it has to do with being a perfectionist too. I often have to put a project down for a few days to decide if I'm going to rip or continue. That causes a lot of delays. I never want to rip but then again I usually don't want to continue with less than optimal knitting.

Anyways, bravo on the socks! I'm going to have to try that pattern sometime.

Carrie K said...

There's nothing wrong with giving it your absolute best. Perfection's an elusive goal but well worth attempting.

And now I must go watch Dr. Who before I break into singing The Impossible Dream and embarrass myself. (But I love that song.)