Lions and Tigers and Bears. Oh, My!
I’m not talking about those kinds of fears today. On my Big A to small a spectrum of apocalypses, it would definitely be toward the small side of things. We all have them in one form or another. Let me illustrate.
I have a very good and dear friend. Sweet as honey and tough as nails. She gives hugs that are legendary. Along with many other things she is a homesteading buddy. Like me, she raises chickens, but also has goats, a sheep and does all those chores that are especially tough to do in the current deep freeze we continue to find ourselves locked in. (See Baby, it’s COLD outside) She’s also a nurse, no fainting violet, she. (waves at Susan)
At one time we happened to both work at a clinic together. She was attending to a patient on the other side of a large room. Suddenly, she cried out in alarm, “Jamye! Jamye!” I went dashing over. Did I need to hold pressure?! Did I need to help with CPR?! Should I call an ambulance?! WHAT?!?! When I reached her, she pointed at the floor where I saw a quite small spider scuttling away. I looked at her with a wtf expression, picked my foot up, put it down. Problem solved. Really?!
But I cannot judge. I have those fears that many others would consider ridiculous. One such knitting fear for me is when I have to rip out only a section of a knitting project I am on. A few stitches or a couple of short rows I will simply tink back to a good place and resume as normal. Totally have to start over? Frustrating, but even easier, just pull back all the way and start again. But many’s the time I have found myself in that middle ground. Too much to tink back, but if handled right not necessary to completely frog the project. In the past, I have frequently either:
a) frogged the whole thing and started over ANYway or
b) found a knowledgeable and willing friend to rescue it FOR me.
I won’t say I have never tried, I most certainly have, but a combination of inexperience and nerves usually sabotaged my efforts and back to the beginning I went.
At the risk of tooting my own horn or patting myself on the back (choose your metaphor) I won a first battle in conquering that particular demon. (Metaphors abound!)
As you may know, I have recently finished a pair of Hermione’s Everyday Socks (see 9 Inch Circulars vs. Double Pointed Needles: A Review.) As a means of building my confidence in sock knitting, I decided to do a second pair of the same pattern before moving on to another pattern. This has been going quite well. A friend reminded me to slip the first stitch when creating the heel flap so I would have an easier time of it when I reached the dreaded “picking up of stitches” section. I am hopeful.
However, when working on one of the flaps I discovered that for about 3 rows I had been doing the wrong side (WS) stitches on the right side (RS). I almost considered just living with it, but it bugged me. Yet I had come too far and was so close to completion to want to start that one over. I was briefly tempted to wait for another meeting of the Tri-State Fiber Arts Guild meeting to get some assistance, but that was at least 2 weeks away. Besides, blast it all!, I knew I NEEDED to learn to do this myself. So, in spite of the fact that I had never successfully done this before, I took a deep breath (there may have been a sip of liquid courage at that moment as well) and carefully began to pull back the rows. When I reached the right spot I began picking the stitches up again. I counted twice, looked at my fabric, and continued on. After about 3 rows I looked again and to my joy and amazement I had indeed pulled it off! The correction is almost undetectable, even to my eyes.
I felt like Shackleton reaching the South Pole.
Whether you knit or not, this may not be a particular source of anxiety for you but I’m sure somewhere in your life there is something that feels the same way. So when you take a baby step forward in conquering a fear, big or small, ignore the scoffers and the eye-rollers, give yourself full permission to cheer yourself, reward yourself, or pat yourself on the back. Well earned.
When I reflect on it, being able to successfully solve a problem is far more confidence building than never having a problem (unrealistic) or simply avoiding all problems (growth stalling).
I have been thinking about what to knit next once I complete this pair of socks. I want to continue with socks and hope that by this time next year I will have added several pairs to my sock box. Right now the top contender is the Vanilla is the New Black by Anneh Fletcher as recommended by Sara at Yarns at Yin Hoo whose podcast I listen to faithfully. The plus about this particular pattern, if I’m reading it correctly, is that there is no need to pick up stitches at the heel. Although I have every intention of gaining skill and confidence in doing that, still that is an appealing idea. I’ll see how I like it.
There are other projects I would like to begin as well. I will be doing another cowl to reclaim the yarn that the puppy found. I have no plans for shawls since I was on the shawl bandwagon last year for a bit and have a decent collection. But one of my goals for this year is to knit myself a sweater, preferably one I can actually wear in public. So I will be looking through patterns as I consider what would be appropriate for a first-time sweater knitter. I would love some recommendations if you would care to share.
I’ll keep you updated.
Go forth, be brave,