Friday, 25 April 2014

fisherman's rib

I knitted a scarf. It sounds simple enough. You just cast a certain number of stitches on a needle then keep on knitting. But I chose fisherman's rib, which has its complications. 

The complication comes if you make a mistake. It is a difficult stitch to unpick satisfactorily to rectify the problem and carry on as normal. If something goes wrong, you really have to take a deep breath, pull it all out and start again. 

This is because, and bear with me here on the technicalities, with fisherman's rib, you knit right down into the heart of the stitch. You actually end up knitting into a stitch from the last row. So you're in the now but you're bringing in what has gone before. And you just have to hope you're getting it right in the present row so the next row, and in fact the overall outcome, works. This is always going to be fraught with peril.

I'm not really sure what happened because I really wanted to knit the scarf. But three times I made a mistake and I had to pull it all out and start again. 

I grew a little despondent because I wondered whether I would actually get to the end of it. But I had a vision of how the scarf would look once I got there, and once I committed to it, I stopped worrying about making a mistake and having to start again and just embraced the journey. It was satisfying watching it grow. And I liked the feel of the wool and the weight of the scarf as it grew. I looked forward to sitting with it, adding to it. 

It had been a long time since I had done any knitting. I had felt busy and worried about embarking on something I'd either make a mistake with or couldn't complete or wouldn't work out the way I had imagined. But along the way I discovered that I loved knitting again. It felt good to create and to do something for someone else. 

Because it was started as a gift. A reflex to a throwaway comment by someone who asked for a scarf. But by the time I had had three false starts and then made it happen, I was too late and they already had a scarf. 

I felt disappointed. But then I hadn't said I was knitting it. And people aren't mind-readers. They can only wait so long when the weather grows cool. 

I'm not sorry I knitted the scarf. It reminded me of how satisfying it is to create something from scratch. It made me sit still for a while now and then and focus on the task at hand. And I realised that mistakes can happen. But instead of expecting to make them and worrying about their eventuality, and thereby often creating them as a result of that, knitting the scarf reminded me that it's best to enjoy the moment and also keep moving forward. When the project is worth it, mistakes can be fixed and you can carry on anyway. The end product may not be perfect but you got there in the end. 

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