Back Home Again

I am back home again, and getting caught up on rest, unpacking and housework. Also finishing up Lush, Calliope, and the All Seasons version of Bramble Berry. Those three designs were at TNNA and had pre-orders taken on them at the show.

When I was in the Lexington area it was amazing how many yarn stores there were in and around the Boston area, and it struck me again how blessed we are in this country.  I love being an American and I love this country. I love the choices we have.  I love the freedoms we have. With that freedom comes responsibility. It is the same with our knitting.

We are each in charge of our own knitting. With that comes the responsibility to own our knitting…and by that I mean the whole thing, right down to every last thing we are willing to learn or not willing to learn.

We live in a day and age where it is so easy to blame someone, anyone, other than look at our own responsibility.  If there is something not turning out right, how often do groups of knitters either by themselves or in online communities rush to cast stones at the designer or publisher, because of perceived shoddy work?

You would be surprised how often it is something like not having an understanding of selvedge stitches and how that affects your stitch  count and where you work the pattern. I recently had an experience with a completely delightful knitter who was having problems with a pattern of mine, and it turned out that it was just not understanding selvedge stitches and how they work. That really wasn’t her fault, it isn’t something people are really taught. That’s why I include it in the General Instructions part of my patterns.

In the end does it matter the quality of classes or instruction we have received? No, because we still have eyes, and we still look at our knitting, and we still make value based decisions for ourselves on what works for us and what does not. At least, hopefully that is what happens. I am guessing that if you read my blog you probably do make those kinds of decisions for yourself. In any case, you can have poor lessons and still recognize that you need more and seek out that information. You can receive excellent classes and see that you have wonderful results and choose to continue those methods. There is a cause and effect, and observing that will give you knowledge and mastery.

What do any of us demand from our passions in life? Do we want to be observers or do we want to be participants? I want to be more than a participant, I want to master my knitting. I want it to do my bidding. I want it to follow my whims. I want it to follow where I lead it. I want it to reflect me. I want it to be a joyful experience. I want it to be peaceful. I want it to be soothing. I want it to be nurturing. I want it to be exciting. I want it to be creative. I want it to be what I want, when I want, how I want. I don’t want to be at the mercy of a hobby that delivers results that are unpredictable, unrepeatable, and frustrating, particularly when it doesn’t have to be. How liberating is that? Those are things that don’t have to be!

Love your knitting. Love it enough to slow down and not rush it. Look at what the stitches are doing. Explore what you can do to make your finishing better. Expand your skills. Don’t expect to find this in a pattern…the pattern is only going to tell you how to knit that item, not how to knit. Learning how to knit, refining those skills, that is in your realm. There are so many choices in things like how to cast on and a myriad of other choices that will affect your finished garment, and some of them are very personal  choices. There is more than one way to do different things, and you will find that certain ways appeal to you more than others. In the end you will enjoy the process more and it will feel more natural to you, because you are making informed choices rather than floating blindly along.

My sister is a Pianist, and she practices scales over and over and over. Aren’t they boring, I would ask her? She would smile at me, and patiently explain that they make her hands strong. See, that is why she is a Pianist and I am not. We both took piano lessons, only I never practiced. She plays beautifully and I could listen to her for hours. She plays some very demanding pieces of music. She played pieces as a Freshmen in college that people played for their Senior Recitals. The fundamentals are boring, but they make you stronger. They build your skills. They are what make you a Master. They are what make your finished piece exciting. They turn your garment into Haute Couture. Are you going to settle for McNuggets or are you going to have Stir Fried Breast of Chicken in Ginger Scallion Glaze?

I know, it isn’t exciting like diving into the next project. Read through ALL the pattern and see what you need to know. If there is something more you need to learn, look it up in a book or online. If it is more than you can get from that type of resource, take a class. Make a copy of your pattern that you can mark up with what notes you need. Abbreviations you might not be familiar with, or references to new tecniques and so on. Take the time before you dive in so your project goes smoothly. You are worth the effort and so is your knitting.

Peace and Knitting, JoLene Treace

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