sock porn for knitting voyeurs.

Monday, February 27, 2006

Veni, vidi, not so vici. Or, how I earned no medals from the knitting olympics, and am elated about it.

Let me start, I failed in my goal of knitting my sweater for my spawn. Failed in the sense, I will not have a shiny gold button on my blog, failed in the sense I wanted to have it completed by a certain date, and in the sense the world is watching and I picked my nose on television.

Kinda :)

I finished all of the pieces, and tripped in not seaming them by the time the flame went out. I'll do a full "finished" entry when I've got tha frankenstein's monster stitched up.

So, why am I so giddy about this?

Well, guess it depends on your definition of what "this" is. (Insert Uncle Bill joke here.) If "this" was my attempt at solidarity with thousands of knitters and finish up my project, then no-- I'm not giddy. I'm bummed I can't brag about finishing, I'm bummed I still have no completed sweater for my oompaloompa, I'm bummed I let "team knittyboard" have a failing member on its bobsled team. If "this" was my attempt to snag a snazzy gold button for the blog, then eh-- I know there will be some snarky "I went to the Knitting Olympics and all I got was this UFO" button popping its way thru the knitting blogosphere soon enuf that I'll snag.

But if this is ...

1) Something I never thought I could accomplish... I *will* finish this sweater, and it will look freaking awesome. I will brag to complete strangers about my handiwork when they compliment baby bear's swanky sweater. I will announce it on my blog with more words and more description (and maybe even more pictures) than should be allowed, because I do tend to drone on and on. I've wanted to knit this sweater ever since I learned to knit (back then I thought I'd never be able to, and here I am almost done in a span of 2 weeks!), and I have accomplished something great in doing so.

2) Something that has broken my irrational fear of seaming, sweaters... I may not have finished in time, but never again will I dismiss a pattern simply cos its not written in the round or covers more than 10% of a body's skin at one time. I can knit things in pieces, I can knit things that aren't meant to be stuffed in shoes or stuffed full of my head.

3) Something that has broken me from my self-imposed view that I can *only* knit small things, that I am incapable of concentrating on one item for only one week before I drop it like last week's milkman... I love knitting socks and small things. But watching myself knit this sweater has shown me that I don't have to cram a project into a week for it to be satisfying (let alone eventually completed.) This bigger project has made me feel even more proud as its a "big thing," as if my pride in my own craftsmanship is exponentially linked to the size of the project. (I have big feet, so I'm usually sporting big pride anyways!)

4) Something that has taught me about goals in knitting... Knitting wasn't always a "leisure art," as Ms. Bush enunciates in "Knitting Vintage Socks." It was a craft, something done for work and something utilitarian. I have approached knitting a my leisurely pasttime (muah victorian, eh!), with no sort of *rhyme or reason.* I think now, having collected all of these skills, it is time for me to look at knitting in a different light. I still will knit for pleasure, but I can and should place goals before me in doing so. I felt a jolt, a thrill in having a "finish line" to sprint towards, a reason to just push one more row. I've felt sparks of this before, when knitting for someone else-- the anticipation of finishing and passing off a gift to someone. But this was different, this desire of a goal. I *wanted* to finish my sweater for the knitting olympics, I really did (even though I was overconfident and lazy in the beginning.) I learned that setting a goal for myself in knitting doesn't diminish the pleasure I derive from knitting, but enhances my drive to finish. And goals don't even necessarily have to be a complete-by date, but a ... I'm going to try this new thing goal, I'm going out of my comfort zone and I will finish to make myself even better than I was when I started goal, I'm going to make knitterly-promises to myself that I will keep and I will be proud of keeping types of goals.

5) Something that has taught me I am far more capable than I think I am... I may not have finished, but wow was I up to the challenge. I am so proud of myself for rising to the challenge, for taking on a mantle that was heavy that became lighter with wear.

So if it was all of those things, then I'm giddy. Cos I took *all* of that away from the knitting olympics, and more.


So, you wanna know what happened, eh? (If you've still stuck around for joy this long!)

I could put in lots of outside reasons why I failed. (And I will! :) ... sick household, rain keeping me outside and away from knitting, general housework and personal obligations that had to be met, etc.) But they're not really the reason.

Up til Sunday, I was absolutely confident I'd be sporting gold. I had finished all of the knitting (hehe, now I need to learn that seaming is knitting!) and I "just" had the finishing to do. No problem. I even took the kiddo out in the rain to the farmer's market, the grocery, the bakery etc because I was so confident I could whip the seaming up in no time, or at least by the start of the closing ceremonies at 7pm pacstandard time.

Teaching myself how to "truly" seam took much longer and took many more trials and errors than I thought it would. I shudder to think how poorly I had seamed earlier attempts at sweaters for billygoat... because I learned finally how to seam and my god they were right! The seam disappears into the knitting! It was probably around 5pm when the heavens opened and the choir burst out... and about 5:30pm when rosemary's baby decided that that was enough knitting for one day. Usually, kiddo's right-- set it down and its mommy/baby time. But doesn't a 2 year old grasp the enormity of the situation, the KNITTING OLYMPICS??! Doesn't a baby brain pick up on all of those clacking needles round the globe, and how much mommy wanted to be a part of that?

All of the parents know what that answer is.

So, without attention baby hellraiser decides to take everything from its place and throw it to the floor. I think I should have hosted the finishing in a hotel room, at least everything would have been bolted down there. After everything under 3 ft has been ceremoniously crashed to the floor, it was time to run pellmell down the hallway, hands waiving frantically and body swishing to the lack of parental attention being doled out... barely avoiding all of the land hazards and booby traps.

It was the toilet that did baby and the kolympics in...

Running, running...
(insert, feeling bad at this point that baby has decided to act out like this for attention... starting to make major mistakes in seaming... a few grunts and exasperated groans directed at the inanimate sweater...)


That hollow sound. The pause before crying. Then all of my world zeroed.

Readers digest: Baby did a penguin slide in the bathroom (whose door shouldn't have been open in the first place), bit the inside lip and was just... so sad. Still amped from trying to get *my* attention, cut lip, and those heartbreaker baby tears. And I forgot about the olympics.

Not forgot as in, "forget it!" but forgot in, "knitting is supposed to be fun, and its not been in trying to get this finished for me or baby bear (the recipient!)... so its time to retire gracefully from the competition, lay back, make sure baby's not too broken, and relax." I had this thought, went with it, and felt my entire body relax all in a moment's breath... I didn't realize how amped *I* was in trying to finish, and how good it felt to let go.

Aftermath... baby's FINE. Dozed off in my arms, happy as a clam whose mommy clam dropped out of the kolympics at the last moment to snuggle and watch Madagascar. (again.)

I put the seaming away for the moment, knowing I want to devote blocks of time to it but don't want to have to do it all in one sitting... I have only the underarms to finish, but I do want them to be perfect so I'm waiting for the block of time to do so. (Uh, yeah... the time it took me to go on and on about this would have been perfect!)

I also needed a little "comfort knitting" to wind down... something on the needles, in my hands-- so I started Odessa again in Brooks Farm Four Play.

We're still having overcast weather, so the pic isn't great. There's a wonderful shine to the yarn (the silk) that doesn't show up, and I think it'll end up looking great and hopefully fitting. I mentioned earlier that I was going to unknit Odessa since it seemed to have "extra" fabric making me look like a pinhead (cos I added length that wasn't in the pattern), but I realize its not that. And not just that I am a pinhead. I am a Brobdingnagian pinhead, and the extra fabric is a result of the hat trying to escape up off of it. Its true!

I also have been thinking more and more about "goals in knitting" as inspired by the knitting olympics, and made a few promises to myself, cleaned up the stash, found some new projects to knit... Next post, I promise. This is almost too long even for me! :)

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