Monday, July 16, 2012

Process and Progress

A couple of months ago I told the tale of how I have been knitting hats for a pair of young sisters I know ever since before each was born. The picture above is of the finished products, the latest in a series of hats I hope to be knitting for them well into their future. This time around, Annabelle, the older sister, came up with the design-- "a lemon with legs." I was so pleased with the silly results, that I went again and copied it in orange for her sister Clementine (get it -- orange for Clementine?).

Then I knocked out a pair of my famously mis-matched socks using some obscenely lush yarn from Alchemy. And then, sort of to my own surprise, I actually did set out to knit a Pi Shawl as designed by Elizabeth Zimmermann. At first I told myself not to get too crazy, to go with the simplest version she describes. But then I decided what the heck, I would go for the trickiest version. I knew, going into it, that mistakes were inevitable. This left me feeling challenged and not without some dread. I hate frogging and have been known to plow through when really I should go back and fix things.

With the shawl, I got many thousands of stitches on before I really hit an error, and the error didn't become apparent to me for another several hundred stitches. So then I had to make a judgement call. I knew I might regret it down the line, but I chose to plow through and rationalized that my mistake would be consistent throughout the pattern (since I started x stitches too far over) so I would rely on that handy old excuse, "It's a design element!"

I've made other errors along the way, but the truth is, I know my process-- and I've come to know my process really well. I know some knitters can knock out flawless work the first time around. But I find that for my head to really understand how something works, I just have to rough my way through a prototype. Then the next one I make will be much better because I will have a clear idea of how the pattern works.

Right now, I just bumped up to the next ring on my Pi Shawl, which has lots of lace in it. As you can see below, my partner, Ori, enjoys pretending that the the shawl is actually a hat that might net him a role in a Shakespeare play. Stay tuned for more updates. Despite the sundry errors I am super pumped that I have pushed myself to the next level.

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