Thursday, December 18, 2008

Avoiding Frustration

The past few weeks have proved challenging for many of you. Several of you are working on some pretty demanding projects.
Most of you saw "Izzy's big save" which could have been disaster. All of you have made big strides in your knitting from neatness to difficulty of projects. You are learning to "diagnose" and fix mistakes, steps towards technical knitting independence. Take a moment to look back over time, say one year ago, and look at the projects you've tackled, your successes, and the techniques you've mastered. I decided to post this "excerpt" I have saved from some old word documents to help you through some of the more frustrating issues in reference to knitting as you advance into uncharted waters :

Knitting can be frustrating at times. It helps to always keep in mind that this is a hobby, time spent on yourself. I consider my time to be extremely valuable and therefore I prefer to avoid frustration. There are several things that can lead to knitting frustration.

Choosing the wrong pattern will make knitting unenjoyable. Knitting a pattern above your skill level or getting mired down in a monotonous project is no fun. My philosophy is if you’re not having fun, put it down and do something else. You may find yourself able to work on that difficult project down the road and you can chip away at the monotonous project in between more engaging works. The key is to like what you are doing.

Unrealistic expectations are also a cause for frustration. I have never seen something hand knit that looks like a machine made it. I have seen knitting that was done poorly and looked sloppy. The realistic goal is to have something that looks handmade and polished. It is a goal and requires time and practice. Each piece you complete should look better than its predecessor.

Another unrealistic expectation is that other people will value your efforts in the same way as we (meaning we knitters) do. While there are many people who will appreciate your effort there are some who just won’t. Most people who don’t knit, don’t understand the time and effort (physical, mental and emotional) it takes to make a piece. Pick your recipients carefully and don’t take it personally if you don’t get the response you’d expected.

Also, do not expect to save money by knitting your own items. Yarn is not cheap and neither is your time. If you see something you like, buy it, chances are it will be cheaper bought than made by hand. Spend your time making something where you will enjoy the process as well as the product.

Finding a mistake in the piece and having to rip out is frustrating. Mistakes are inevitable. I try to encourage students to fix obvious mistakes. Even if no one else ever notices the mistake, it will be the first thing you see when you look at the piece. Remember, you will learn from your mistakes; everyone will have to rip out at some point.

Lack of standardization is also frustrating to knitters. Everything from yarn specifications, equipment specifications to written directions use different standards. While the craft has been in existence since early AD, patterns have only been in existence since the late nineteenth century. Patterns and their abbreviations for the most part are similar but there is no one standard way to write instructions and this can be very frustrating. Even needles are sized using at least 3 different standards!!!

No post is complete without a contribution from Mr Zip:

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