Tuesday, September 6, 2011
What Imperfection Means.
This is not the first sweater I've made.
I've made some that fit better, some that fit worse.
But I have never struggled so much for something so simple.
I frogged parts of this sweater more than 7 times. There were times when I thought it was never ever ever in a million years going to work out. But I kept going. Why?
There were a few reasons.
1) I wanted to design my own sweater so that in the future I could look back and see how much I had improved.
2) I wanted to stray from the old familiar knitting from patterns, and make my own path.
3) I am stubborn
I think that last reason is why I'm so proud of this sweater. And it's not like it turned out a-freaking-mazing, by the way. It is lumpy at the yoke, and I'm really pretty sure I could have used a different stitch for the neckline and it's also really long. It has a botched seam job at the armpits, and there are is a knit stitch where there's supposed to be a purl stitch and I didn't even make a neck so it doesn't have a front or back. Also in one of the stripes at the neck, I knitted 2 rows instead of 3 and didn't catch it until two rows later when there was no way I was going back.
No. This sweater is not perfect.
But I realized as I was weaving in the ends that perfection is not the point of knitting. If I wanted a perfect (pumpkin orange) sweater dress I could go to TJ Maxx at any time and buy one for under 12 dollars. I could probably find one on the internet right now and order it with priority shipping and get it to my door in 2 days. So why, then, would I put myself through the stress and pressure of knitting my own? Why do it by hand if I wanted a sweater? Why choose a process that took three months?
I guess it wasn't for the sweater. But if it wasn't for the sweater, what was it for?
Oh. This feeling. Right here.
This feeling of pride, accomplishment, of knowing that I came through a struggle and I did not lose.
What's nice is that it's hard to lose with knitting. Even if you frog a piece you can convince yourself that was winning. "Now I know that I am the kind of person who can spot an error, and rip back hours and hours of hard work to make that error right again."
Or if your gauge was wrong, "I have learned a lesson, here, and will apply myself in the future to prevent the same thing from happening again."
Knitting is full of Good Feelings. Even when it makes you feel stupid, because you mis-crossed a cable or you forgot to check for a twist before joining into a round, it still makes you feel good because you are learning. I love that.
I really do.
I say that more often than you'd think. But I know I could never quit knitting.
I think I need that visual reminder. That physical evidence that I am okay, that I am good for something, and that even if it's not perfect, it's better than if I hadn't tried.